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.