Donald Emory Daniels


Born January 12, 1914 - Died January 7, 1996


Donald was born January 12, 1914 on Wallace Island in the lower Columbia River near Clatskanie, Oregon to Joseph L. and Eliza Jane Burns Daniels. Joe managed a crew that put seining nets into the river and used horses to pull in the huge salmon catch to be processed. All the while, he owned a farm in Mulino to which he returned when the children were old enough to attend school. Eliza had been a teacher and always reminisced about spending some time as a young woman in San Francisco before the earthquake. When Donald was born, he joined a brother Lee, 5, and about a year later, there was a new sister, Blanche. As a small child, someone gave him the nickname "Jiggs," which many people used throughout his life.

High school was in Molalla where Donald met !he Eyman girls from Rural Dell. No doubt Roberta was especially dazzled when she saw him roaring into town on his Harley Davidson. It even had a sidecar for courting. Times were hard and it would be a few years before they would marry. She went to secretarial school and worked for the Extension Service in Oregon City, and he was employed by Fisher Brothers constructing roads in different parts of the state. On August 28, 1937, a perfectly good day for continuing the harvest, there was a wedding at the bride's home attended by close family, and married life began. They lived for awhile in Oregon City in an apartment though Donald continued working away.

Roberta and Donald began looking for property and were able to find twenty-five acres with an old house and some outbuildings just across the road from her parents' farm. They soon tore down the old house and began erecting a new one in 1940. Donald was driving log truck by this time and he was able to hire a carpenter and build the house in two years with no debt incurred. It was the beginning of the war years, and he was working seven days a week. Roberta quit her job just before their oldest child Joel was born in I 940 and moved out to a house nearby. In 1942, Barbara was born about the time they moved into the new house where they lived until the present time. In 1944 another baby was due, but much to everyone's surprise (including the parents) there were twins, Thomas and Terrance. In 1948, there were more twins, when Richard and James were added to the family. That meant that there were six children under the age of eight. But Donald was unflappable. He took it all in stride, and when there was time, could be found doing things with the children.

By this time the war wasover and things were booming in Molalla. Donald teamed up with Paul Wagner and bought a mill. They located it near Elk Prairie south of town and later moved it close in on the Wagner place. After a few years, timber sources and prices declined, and the mill was sold. After that he worked at various times for Kip Kappler's logging company, Ralph Kappler, and Yoder Mill. He retired in 1979 from Publisher's mill at Liberal where he was a crane operator for nearly twenty years. Roberta had gone back to work for the County Extension Agents after the children were in school and retired the same year.

After Donald was fifty years old, he fulfilled a longtime dream, became a pilot, and for a time he owned his own plane. He loved flying and he took many trips, some as far away as Mexico and Alaska. Many will remember flying with him over Mt. St. Helens after the eruption.

During the years, Donald was a member of many organizations and took an active part. He belong to Smyrna United Church of Christ and served as moderator. He was elected a member of the Rural Dell School Board when his children started school and served as chairman. At one time or another he headed Molalla Grange, Molalla Oddfellows and the Oregon Pilots Association, Mulino chapter. He was also a member of the B.P.O.E. of Silverton and the Flying Farmers.

Donald enjoyed travel and always had his bags packed. He and Roberta were in Europe several times, joined a group to Japan, saw much of South America, cruised through the Panama Canal, saw many parts of the United States, and this summer went by ship to Alaska. They usually spent several winter months at the desert in Southern California where they joined friends and relatives for a sun break. They loved to go to traditional jazz festivals on land or sea.

Donald was just as happy at a family gathering or vacation. He doted on his six grandchildren, Marcus, Philip, Elizabeth, Katherine, Kristin and Lauren, especially as they all learned to swim in his backyard pool.

He said he had lived a full life and did all the things he wanted to do.