Donald “Don” R. Taylor, 94, passed away on Monday, July 9, 2018, in Kalispell.
Don was born on Dec. 23, 1923, in Spokane to Ralph and Frances (Flack) Taylor. He attended local schools and Washington State (College) University in Pullman, Washington, was his college of preference.
World War II called him into the U.S. Navy in February 1943. He served three and a half years in the South Pacific aboard amphibious assaults ships USS Calvert and later USS War Hawk. Upon receipt of his honorable discharge he returned to WSC to pursue a degree in animal husbandry and became a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
He and his bride of 71 years, Leoma, were married in Walla Walla, Washington, on June 22, 1947. Don managed several ranches in Idaho, Washington and Oregon before moving to the Flathead to manage Lazy N. Ranch, Inc. on the north shore of Flathead Lake. He was a member of several organizations and served as a 4-H leader with his children. The family have been active members of Bethany Lutheran Church in Bigfork where Don served as council president for several terms.
Upon the death of Rich Neils, a fraternity brother and owner of the Lazy N. Ranch Inc., Don began a new career working for Cenex, (Formerly Equity Supply). After retirement he worked with the local Christmas tree growers. Since he lived near Eagle Bend Golf Course, he decided to try a new challenge and enjoy golf. He was proud of his success of two hole-in-one credits within the age range of his 70s and 80s. When Don was asked to make a large cross for the men’s retreat, he also made pocket crosses for the attendees — hence the hobby was born, and he has since made thousands to give away — even to people in foreign countries. Don was among the first men to become active in Bigfork’s “Dirt Bags” organization — a group of Christian men who gathered every Friday morning for Bible study. Don’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his delight.
Don was preceded in death by his parents; older sister, Dorothy Taylor Campbell, and husband Keith, formerly of Spokane; and nephew, Richard Campbell.
Don is survived by his wife Leoma, daughter Marsha (John) Voelker of Columbia Falls; their son Jason (Melissa) Voelker and children Kinsey and Keenan, son Ryan Voelker of Columbia Falls, daughter Merridy Taylor of Butte; son Kirt (Lynn) of Bigfork and their children; Luke (Caroline) of Fort Worth, Texas; Jenna Taylor of Bigfork, Jessie (Austin) Robbins and son Josiah of Kalispell; and Scott Taylor of Bigfork; and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, July 13, at Bethany Lutheran Church.
The family requests memorial donations be made to Bethany Lutheran Memorial Fund, or the donor’s choice.
Friends are encouraged to visit the website www.buffalohillfh.com to leave notes of condolence for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.