Donald R. Wilson, 88, passed away peacefully at Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane on Feb. 3, 2020, as a result of a head injury from a fall at home. The Wilson Family is pleased to announce a date for his celebration of life and we invite our Methow Valley area friends to join us!
Don was born in December, 1931, in Toledo, Ohio to Grace Wilson and Alvin Hawk. He was the youngest of nine children in the home of Grace and her hot-tempered husband, Paul Wilson, and he would not understand for almost 30 years that the tall and lean Algonquin American family friend Hawk was actually his biologic father. Don’s older half siblings were quite protective of their youngest brother, and his eldest sister took him out of the home to southern California in the late 1930s where he lived with her and grew into adolescence running the beaches of Santa Monica.
Don was drafted in 1951, choosing to join the U.S. Air Force. He served in Korea, surviving a plane crash and injuries from enemy small arms fire to earn a Purple Heart. His 22-year military career in intelligence took him all over the world — including Arco, Idaho, and the first nuclear energizing program, Indonesia and Turkey for the U2 mission and again during Vietnam, the Air Force Academy in Colorado and finally Alaska before he retired as a Chief Master Sergeant in 1974. Afterward, he began a second career as Deputy Director for Labor Standards for Alaska, traveling throughout the state to ensure fair labor practices.
In 1981, a copy room flirtation led to a lifelong relationship when he met and married Victoria “Vicki” (Johnson) Stokes. In 1988, they decided to move to Vicki’s childhood home, the Methow Valley. Don worked at Sun Mountain Lodge, the Virginian, and he was the DJ known as “The Silver Fox” at the old KVLR radio. He dabbled in politics with a run for mayor, and he was instrumental in spearheading the Methow Valley Health Alliance and promoting the Twisp Community Center.
He belonged to several service organizations but was most passionate about his brotherhood in the Free and Accepted Masons, serving in multiple posts. He was a familiar face every fall in Hank’s vestibule selling “Rifle Raffle” tickets, an annual Masonic fundraiser now named in his honor.
Don was preceded in death by all eight of his siblings, previous wives Mary, Mimi and Pam, and children Cynthia and Jason. He is survived by his loving wife, Vicki Wilson, sons Danny and Seann Wilson (Amy), stepdaughters Jill and Amber Stokes (Diane), as well as several grandchildren including Zach, Titus, Lauren, Lindsey and Seann Jr. Don lived a full life of unique experiences —he was quite a storyteller, a superb tomato gardener, and master of his kitchen. Even as his body would not operate in its frailness, he remained sharp as a tack — sure and insistent in his opinions on everything but at least including food, golf, the Seahawks, and politics. He is truly missed.
Please join us at 1 pm on Saturday, Aug. 7, for a potluck at the Masonic Lodge in Twisp (red building next to Les Schwab) to celebrate Don’s colorful life. Memorials will be gladly accepted in Don’s name to the Masonic Lodge No.240 of the Methow Valley in Twisp for ongoing support of the Literacy programs in Methow Valley Schools.