Donald Joseph Travers graduated to his everlasting home, joining his Saviour and loved ones on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021. He was 87.
Don was born at home in Hoquiam, Washington, Dec. 29, 1933, the third of four children. A lot of his childhood was spent in a country home near Elma, Washington. The family moved to the small town of Union Gap, Washington for a couple years where they all worked in the orchards picking fruit.
Don met his beautiful wife, Esther Marie Elliott, at the Montesano Assembly of God church, and they were wed Aug. 28, 1953. Within five years, three children, Teresa, Doug and Sandy were added to the family. A dozen years later, Rich, another little “heritage of the Lord” showed up, who was the joy of our hearts.
Dad was a devout believer in Jesus Christ and served the Lord in different capacities throughout his life. He had a heart for missions around the globe and amply supported them. He heartily practiced Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
We were in church every Sunday morning and evening, Wednesdays, and special meetings unless we were out of town.
Don loved the great outdoors and learned many ways to utilize his passion for nature while providing food and extra money for his family. He frequently made the comment, “I’m a provider!” growing large gardens outlined with many colors of the dinner plate dahlias Esther enjoyed so much; raising turkeys, chickens, quail, and rabbits; making apple cider on the press he built in his high school shop class. He harvested as many little wild blackberries as he could every July. We always had enough to make pie for every special occasion. Sometimes having blackberry pie was the special occasion.
Whenever he visited his daughters in Idaho, he and Esther blessed them with oodles of canned and frozen food.
Don took his family to the woods to peel cascara bark. After working all day in a lumber mill, he hurried home to Mom and us kids waiting in the driveway to jump in the car with dinner in a bag, then off to the woods to peel bark til it was so dark we could barely make our way back to the car. Those treasured times provided each of us with money for our vacations.
Wood cuttin’ started in late summer. It was a family affair — we all pitched in. He heated with wood until the move to the new house he built together with son, Rich, in 2004.
Don had many interests, hobbies and skills and was very detailed and meticulous with all his projects, working quickly, as if he had four hands and 48 hours in a day. He became a skilled fur trapper, with Rich his apprentice, taking in some serious pocket change each winter.
He was nicknamed “Fast Speedy Jones” at his job in a door factory. He worked his way up to a forklift operator at E. C. Miller lumber company until they shut down. He went to work for the Vaughan Company, from which he retired at 62. He then had more time to spend with his beloved family, and to go fishing, hunting and clam digging. He revisited his hobby from his youth — pocket knife whittling. He carved a variety of objects from animals to chains. He loved to demonstrate how it was done and showered family and friends with gifts of his art.
In recent years, he loved to talk about the good ole days, recounting every detail of his lively adventures to anyone who could sit for a spell!
He had his faults, as we all do, but in his heart of hearts, he truly loved his Lord, his wife and his family, and worked his hardest to provide everything they needed. We knew that we could count on him if things got tough. When he struggled to understand certain things that happened in his life, he relied on the words God spoke to his heart, “Be still and know that I am God” and he was sustained.
Days before he passed, when asked how he was doing, his answer was always, “Well, I’m doing just fine!” He was right. And that is faith.
Don was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Myrtle Travers; son, Douglas Travers; wife, Esther Travers; son-in-law, Ernest Hix; sister, Marilyn Ragan; brother, Duane Travers and grandson, Brandon Hix.
He is survived by his brother, Charles Travers (Ruth); daughter, Teresa Eldred (Terry); daughter, Sandy Ritter (Richard); son Richard Travers (Tracy); grandchildren: Dustin Brinkly (Tiffany), Jason Eldred, Kylund Brinkly (Angela), Jolene Brinkly, Brandon Eldred, Desiree Berglund (Paul), Cody Hix (Angela), Cameo Darrow (Dirk), Austin, Jed, Kayla and Karly Travers; many great-grandkids, and one great-great-granddaughter.
A memorial service will be held at the Matlock Church at 12 noon on Saturday, June 12. Everyone is invited to Rich and Tracy Travers’ home at 128 Spalding Road, Elma, for a meal and fellowship after the service.
Arrangements are entrusted to Twibell’s Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen, Washington.