Donald Stanley Pederson passed away peacefully in his sleep in his home of 68 years on November 10, 2012, following the first frost of the season. He was 90 years old. Don was born on October 14, 1922, in South Bend, Washington, to Nora (Sharp) and Stanley Pederson. He graduated from Raymond High School in 1940, and married Lucille Mauch on June 16, 1945. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, working in the engine room on board the U.S.S. Maryland. He returned to Raymond after the war and worked in the saw mill for several years, and then worked as a longshoreman until retirement. He lived in Riverdale, Raymond his entire life.
Don spent his whole life exploring the woods of Pacific County: fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, picking berries and mushrooms, clam digging, crawdad fishing, and encountering bears and elk and other wildlife. He spent countless nights, in all kinds of weather, at his favorite camp spot alongside Smith Creek. He knew the names of most of the trees and plants that grow in our woods, knew all the wild things that are tasty to eat, and frequented all the best fishing holes—always with a dog along his side. He was a gifted gardener, and grew more vegetables than all his family and friends could possibly eat. He loved the town that was his home all his life-he was a member of the local VFW, a member of the Pacific County Historical Society, he helped stock the county’s creeks with salmon, and regularly attended all the local high school sports games. He loved telling stories-especially about growing up in Riverdale, about his travels through the South Pacific during the war, about his years longshoring up and down the Washington coast, and about his adventures in the woods. He was an exceptionally hard worker-gathering all of his own firewood well into his late 80’s. Even in the last days of his life, he insisted on doing for himself all that he could still do. Don was a lifelong Democrat, a member of the ILWU, and a proud defender of the rights of working people. Like so many of his generation, he knew how to do whatever needed to be done to take care of himself, his family, and his neighbors. He was generous, principled, kind, and humble, and believed in helping all people in need. He had a fiercely independent spirit, and loved to make others laugh.
Don was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and he cherished his family above all else. He loved spending time with them-going on family picnics at Butte Creek, playing games of cribbage with his granddaughter, going for walks, visiting over cups of coffee, and watching his grandkids and great-grandkids play sports. He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Lucille; as well as his brother, Robert Pederson; son, Donald Wayne Pederson; grandson, Jeremy Rhodes; granddaughter, Lillie Stephens; and numerous life-long friends and fishing buddies. He is survived by daughter, Cheryl Austin and her husband Ray of Raymond; daughter, Denise Jacobson of South Bend; grandchildren, Thea Schnase (Olympia), Lisa and Doug Stephens (Spokane), Bryan and Shannon Schneider (Elma), Josh Johnson (South Bend), Melissa Tobias (Longmont, Colo.); 16 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great-grandchildren, and his beloved dog, Toady.
Don was loved by many, and will be greatly missed. His spirit will always be remembered, especially when the blackberries begin to ripen in late summer, when the salmon return to the Willapa in the fall, and when the first trillium blooms in the woods every Spring.
Memorials can be made to Coastal Community Action Program and the Union Gospel Mission of Grays Harbor. Graveside services will be held at Fern Hill Cemetery at 1:00 p.m. on Friday November 16, 2012, with a Celebration of Life to follow at the Barge Restaurant in Raymond. All are welcome at both events. Arrangements are in care of Stoller’s Mortuary in Raymond.