Obituaries for Aug. 24, 2011

Written by Baker City Herald August 24, 2011 08:26 pm
‘Don’ Sorrels
Donald W. “Don” Sorrels, part-time Baker County resident, died at his home in Kennewick, Wash., on April 27, 2011, his 91st birthday.

Don was born on April 27, 1920, to Alice Katherine Kirkman Sorrels and John Wesley Sorrels on a remote ranch on the Okanogan Indian Reservation. Tragedy struck the young family when at the age of 4 Don’s father and grandfather drowned in an accident involving logs and horses on the Columbia River.

‘With his young widowed mother, Don lived at Bellingham and Everett, Wash., Los Angeles and finally Seattle, Wash., where he graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1936. 

Don attended the University of Washington. Later he went to work on the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. When World War II started, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he became a pilot, developing his  lifelong love of flying.

He served as a lieutenant and pilot in the Air Corps and was stationed in England and France where he flew 35 missions. 

In 1943, he married Shirley Elizabeth Edgar at Yuma, Ariz. They moved to North Carolina where Don finished his training before being sent to Europe. 

Upon return from the war, the young couple lived in Berkeley, Bothell, Wash., and then moved to Kennewick in 1949. Don owned an electrical contracting business at Kennewick and then in 1954 went to work at Hanford for General Electric.

Later he worked for Washington Public Power where he designed and operated the maintenance systems at the N Reactor. He retired in 1982.

Don was a man of no nonsense. If there was a job to be done, he just did it, family members said. He always had a project going. Right after he retired, he was instrumental in the construction of Mamacita’s Restaurant at La Grande and five years later, Ten Depot Street Restaurant.

He also built and flew two airplanes. When electricity became available at his cabin near Anthony Lakes two summer ago, he put in all of the electrical work himself.

Don loved skiing, a sport that he had started pursuing at age 15 when he and his mother would climb Mount Rainier to ski down. Skiing brought him to Anthony Lakes and Baker County, where he spent most of the winters in his cabin on the Anthony Lakes Highway.

In 1967 he joined the Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol, where he developed many lifelong friendships. He was a member of the patrol for more than 30 years. He also helped with the building of the new lodge and the chair lift at Anthony Lakes.

Time spent with family and friends was always important. As a young man he was an active member of the Shriners. He also loved to hunt and fish.

Don and Shirley took many eventful trips in their various airplanes, including several cross-country flights to World War II squadron reunions. The last trip taken when Don was 84.

He was an active member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and provided young people with their first small-plane flights as part of the the Young Eagles program.

Survivors include Shirley, his wife of 67 years; daughter, Sandra Sorrels, and son, John Sorrels, of La Grande; daughter, Cindy Wardlow and her husband, Jack, of Kelso, Wash.; two grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.


‘Don’ Averett Sr.

Donald “Don” Averett, 83, died Aug. 4, 2011, at Portland.

His memorial service will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gateway Church in Portland. Burial will be Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. at the Haines Cemetery.

Don was born on May 14, 1928, to Ray and Oma Averett at Weiser, Idaho. He grew up in various places in Eastern Oregon as his Father worked on the railroad.

As a young adult he worked at Neuberger & Heilner and later went to work for the Forest Service fighting fires until he was injured. Don joined the National Guard in 1945 then transferred to the Army Reserves in April 1970. He was a unit administrator and supply technician and unit finance officer. Don retired at the rank of Sgt. Major in 1988. He then reluctantly retired from Military Civil Service in 1993, a job he really loved! Don was very proud to be a soldier and serve his country well. He also worked part-time for Portland Community College as a Registration Specialist for many years.

In 1954, Don met his wife, Norna Pritchard and they were married on Nov. 25, 1954 in Baker City. While living in Baker City they had two children. In 1958 they moved to Portland, OR and later had two more children.

During his younger years he loved bowling, camping, hunting, fishing and participating in Y Indian Guides with his son. Later in life he helped his wife with Campfire. He enjoyed taking care of his grandchildren, doing yard work, he loved to watch sports, old war movies and a good western especially if John Wayne was the main character. He was also a card shark at Progressive Rummy and Cribbage.

Don was preceded in death by his wife Norna (Pritchard). He is survived by his children, Debbie (Todd) Mix of Portland, Donald (Joan) Averett Jr. of Portland, DeLaina (William) Morris of Arlington, WA, DeLouisa (Richard) Rogers of Portland; ten grandchildren, Jeremy (Melanie) Mix, Brenda (Joshua) Mix- Britton, Dawn Averett, Patrick (Amanda) Frare, Jason Frare, Hannah Morris, Richard (Danielle) Rogers, Christian Rogers, Rachel Rogers, Mickeala Rogers; and sister-in-laws Rosalie Averett, Esther VanOrtwick, Shirley Koons; many nieces and nephews and his much loved pug Jolly.

We could not have had a better father and grandfather, he loved us dearly and we miss him terribly every day.