Donald W. "Don" Nicholson, 90, a lifelong resident of Peshastin, died Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 at Cashmere Convalescent Center in Cashmere.
Papa Don, as his grandchildren called him, was born in Leavenworth, Wash. Feb. 2, 1922 to Dan and Claire (Smithson) Nicholson and lived his whole life in Peshastin, Wash. He graduated from Peshastin High School and went off to Central Washington College in Ellensburg, Wash. As the Pacific became involved in WW II, Papa Don decided to join the Navy and learned to fly. The Navy taught him to fly in Helena, Mont., and on some training missions he was able to fly under the Vantage Bridge on the Columbia River. He also pulled a few surprise dives over houses located on Blewett Pass where his parents lived. After the war, he married Dorothy Radd from Sumner, Wash.
Dorothy, his wife, became a third grade teacher with the Leavenworth School District. Papa Don was a member of the Peshastin School Board and worked in partnership on the family orchard with his father, Dan. Papa Don was active in the Peshastin United Church of Christ, the Kiwanis Club and took many trips with the Boy Scouts into the high lakes above Leavenworth and Peshastin.
Speed became an obsession for him; fast airplanes and cars were always on his mind. He would take anyone on an airplane ride who was willing to get into the cockpit with him. Sometimes after a few spins and dives, the passengers would ask to return back to the base because their stomachs couldn't take any more. Several times there were stories about getting lost in the clouds and having to find an airport to set down at, until the weather cleared.
Papa Don was the one who would ask you to run one more lap, haul in more bins, and not take a break until all the work was done. He's been an inspiration to many young workers in the community, in the agricultural world and in our family. Papa Don will be missed.
Papa Don is survived by his sister Dorothy Rogers of Cashmere, Wash., daughter Christine Orcutt and her husband Ron of Peshastin, and son Dennis Nicholson and his wife Nancy of Peshastin. Seven grandchildren; Nikole Morrison and her husband Kimo, Bonnie Orcutt-Kinnear and her husband Zak, Crystal Oliver and her husband Kevin, Wendy Hubbard and her husband Ron; Monika Nicholson, Danny Nicholson and his fiance' Michelle Gilmore and Anna Nicholson. Seven grandchildren; Britton, Brooke, Thailer, Trevor, Takoda, Terrence, Lorelai and Clint.
A Service of Commemoration to celebrate the life of Don Nicholson will be held on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 at 1 p.m. at the Peshastin United Church of Christ with the Dr. Rev. Ann Hinz officiating. Private interment will be in the Peshastin Cemetery. Memorial contributions in Don's name may be made to the Peshastin United Church of Christ.
Ward's Funeral Chapel, Leavenworth is in charge of the arrangements.