Don Lightfoot, 82, died unexpectedly at home from heart complications Aug, 7, 2023. He was born Dec. 14, 1940, to Sidney and Grace (Roberds) Lightfoot in Longview. He was the middle child of five children, two brothers and two sisters.
Don grew up in a very strong family. His mother, full of wisdom, was the rock of the family, she taught independence and loyalty. His father always said to him, “Pay your bills on time”, and “Speak the truth”. Donald learned those lessons well. From his younger brother, Charles, who had cerebral palsy and was deaf/mute, he learned patience, gentleness and love. Mostly, he learned acceptance for the things you cannot change.
He found his lifelong companion and best friend with his wife of nearly 40 years, DeAnne. Hardly a day went by without telling her he loved her. He never left for work without kissing her goodbye. Without children himself, he considered Amanda, DeAnne’s daughter, his. He loved Amanda unconditionally and was grateful for the opportunity to help raise her. When she had children, he reveled in his role as grandpa.
Don attended R.A. Long High School where he learned to love and understand music. His favorite band teacher, Calvin Storey taught excellence, respect and discipline. Don eventually sold his trumpet to help pay his college tuition but always missed that trumpet. Later in life he took up the guitar when his step-daughter, Amanda, gave him one for Christmas.
He attended the University of Washington majoring in business. Some of his best memories of those years were living in a houseboat on Seattle’s Lake Washington with his best friend Winston Jones. While in college he was a member of ROTC. During his junior year he was one of eight cadets from Fort Lewis who competed on the rifle team at Camp Perry, Ohio. He earned several medals during that competition and was considered a “sharp shooter”.
Upon graduation in 1962, Don was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Medical Service Corps. His duty station was the 56th General Hospital in Verdun, France. While serving in the Army he made many lifelong friends and would sit outside with a scotch and cigar while phoning them to reminisce. He was honorably discharged from service in 1966 with the rank of captain.
France gave Donald a love for travel. While many service men headed back to the states when they had leave, Don and his buddies traveled all over Europe. They camped on the beaches of Spain, kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland, drank beer during Oktoberfest in Germany, went to the Opera in Paris, and visited the Vatican in Rome. Later in life he returned to Europe many times with his family to show them his favorite places.
Back in the states, Don’s assignment as controller for the Army hospital carried over to his civilian life. Don went back to college at Portland State and concentrated on accounting. He spent his professional career working in accounting at local wood product businesses, first at Longview Fibre, R.W. Paper, then Weyerhauser, on to Norpac, Entek, and lastly, Pacific Fibre Products where he retired in 2012. He enjoyed his time and the people at PacFibre so much he had a hard time retiring at 72 years old as their controller. He helped many people at Pacfibre in more ways than can be acknowledged, in return they have been there for him. All through his career he loved to encourage others and help them with their careers. One of his best qualities was his ability to quickly analyze a problem and suggest a solution.
With a strong work ethic, Don often had two jobs. For many years, while holding down a full-time job he worked with his long-time friend Dan Rua doing taxes and would teach accounting part-time at Lower Columbia College. He did try his hand with his own CPA firm, but the hours away from his family convinced him to move back into industry. He was very proud of the knowledge and professionalism he brought to his work.
Don contributed unselfishly to the community in which he grew up. He was on the budget advisory committee for several years for the Cowlitz County Commissioners. To honor his handicapped brother, he contributed his time as a board member for Applied Industries, a sheltered workshop, for 20 years. He was a board member of the Longview/Kelso Chamber of Commerce, and belonged to Longview Rotary. He was still on the board of Red Canoe Credit Union at his passing.
Even though Don kept himself busy with work and boards, he found time to exercise daily. For years he played racquetball; in his younger years he excelled in Judo and wrestling. Even though he had a damaged ankle from an accident in the military he would run the lake until it got too painful, and he had to try less impactful sports. The day of his passing he was preparing to go to Forever Fit and workout. In his younger years he would complain about the old guys hanging on the machines and talking. He had become one of those guys and loved to go to the gym to visit with friends.
Most people don’t know Don was a Philatelist. He would spend hours organizing his stamp collection which he had started when he was a boy scout. He was easygoing, thoughtful, romantic, and generous with his time and money. He loved his scotch and cigars and particularly enjoyed the times Rick Little would stop by for such an evening so they could solve the world’s problems.
He is survived by his wife, DeAnne (Johnsen) Lightfoot, a step-daughter Amanda (Jeremy) Jones of Bellingham, WA; three grandchildren, Liam Jones, Grace Jones, and Elijah Jones; a favorite sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Craig Hanson of Vashon Island, WA; a favorite nephew, John Madole of Las Vegas, NV, and several other nieces and nephews.
Don was preceded in death by his parent’s, Sidney and Grace Lightfoot; two brothers, Bob and Charles Lightfoot; a sister Anne Griffiths, and a beloved second mom “Huffman”.
A service with military honors is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at Steele Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to R.A. Long High School for band instruments and uniforms in the name of Don Lightfoot, class of 1958. Send contributions to R.A. Long ASB, 2715 Lilac St., Longview, WA 98632 Attn: JoAnn Parsons.