Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
Don Collen Memorial
Don Collen Memorial

Don Collen

Don Collen

Thursday, July 13th, 2023

Don Ashton Collen, age 93, a longtime resident of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, passed away July 13, 2023.  He was born October 1, 1929, in Mason City, Iowa to George and Grace (Turner) Collen.  Don was the youngest of 15 children.  He grew up in Mason City, Iowa.  Don served in the US Army from 1951-1953 including a tour of duty in Korea during the Korean War.  After his discharge, he attended Iowa State University, graduating with a degree in forestry.  He soon moved to Washington, starting his career working for the DNR.  He followed this up as a forester for several companies.  During this time, he joined in a partnership with Terry Russell as owners of C&R Sporting Goods.  They would spend evenings working on customers’ outboard motors.  That was the start of his marine mechanic career that spanned nearly 60 years.  He was still working at D&G Marine until February of this year.

Don was a highly active part of the Sedro-Woolley community as a member of many organizations including the American Legion and the Wildcat Steelhead Club.  During his many years in the Steelhead Club, his two main priorities were the annual kids fishing derby, and any kind of fish enhancements to improve fishing on the Skagit River.  Don worked tirelessly for many years trying to get a new steelhead hatchery built on the Skagit.  He also spent years as a hunter firearm safety instructor for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  One of the things Don was most proud of was his starting the 4th of July parade flyover and his affiliation with the Heritage Flight Museum and the Wolfpack aerial flight team.

Don is survived by his daughter, Cindy Demme, sons, Mark Collen and Dennis (Cookie) Collen; stepchildren, Deborah (James) Kallio; eight grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Denise; daughter, Amy, and all his siblings.

A Graveside Inurnment will be held at 11:00, July 28, 2023, at Union Cemetery, Sedro-Woolley, with Military Honors.  A Celebration of Life will follow at Riverfront Park in Sedro-Woolley.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Wildcat Steelhead Club.  Please share your memories of Don and sign the online guest register.


  • Jack Plonien

    Don will always be “Uncle Donnie” to me and my family. I and my brother Mike were the only two children of his sister Betty Collen (Plonien). I always admired Donnie as a great outdoorsman and veteran. He followed in his brother´s footsteps, who were in various branches of the services in WWII, but because he was too young for that war, he served in the Korean War with honors. He loved the outdoors and knew more about all types of trees than anyone I have ever met. Donnie visited us in Texas in 2021 for his birthday. That was the best week ever, since he visited his Texas great grand kids and great-great grandkids. He really enjoyed seeing the Ft. Worth Stockyards and a great air museum in Dallas. We gave him a ride in our WWII Jeep, just like the one he owned in 1953 Mason City, Iowa, and had a birthday party in Burleson, and again in Grandview, Texas. My Brother and I last saw Donnie for his last birthday in October 2022, in Washington. When we arrived at his home, he had a Texas flag flying from his front porch! We had an awesome time as he gave us a tour of the mountains, the nearby islands and his favorite breakfast restaurant in Sedro Woolley where he introduced us to all his friends and family.
    Donnie was truly my Hero which I will always remember. Fair winds and following seas my Uncle Donnie…
    Jack Plonien
    Burleson, Texas

  • JF Vallee

    Our Sincere condolences to Don’s family and all who knew him. Don’s was a great friend and a mentor to many who knew him. He will be missed by many as he was deeply involved in many aspects of our community. In our case he was the coordinator for the Wolfpack Formation Team. He was a very important integral part of our team. Once again, our condolences. JF , Vee and the Wolfpack.

  • Mike Plonien

    So glad that we we’re able to visit with Uncle Donnie last October, when things were better. I’ll never forget his great stories, impish smile and wry sense of humor. Donnie really was the “Last of the Mohicans”. Our sincerest condolences to his family for their loss … he will be missed.

  • Gary Schultz

    My sincere condolences to Don’s extended family. Don was the youngest brother of my Grandmother Hazel Schultz (Collen) who passed away in 1985. May they both Rest In Peace.
    Gary Schultz

  • Cindy Demme

    Dad I just cannot tell you how sad I am you are not here with me anymore. I had many more trips I wanted to go on with you. I REALLY wanted to go to the Korean War memorial trip. BUT we had one last final 4th of July together. I loved you so very much I hope you knew. You were my rock , you were my hero. Hug all of our family and tell them they too are very missed. ♥