Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
Donald St. John Memorial
Donald St. John Memorial

Donald St. John

Donald St. John

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Donald St. John was born May 14, 1931 and died October 24, 2017 at home. He was surrounded by family and passed of natural causes. His family spent his last days laughing, crying and recanting his life.

Donald is survived by Judith, his wife of 58 years; daughter, Debbie Caldwell (husband Loi); son, Jon St. John (wife Audrey), son, Aaron St. John; daughter, Heidi Hawkins (husband Bob);  eight grandchildren, Steve, Zach, Kelly, Crystal, Angela, Aaron, Elizabeth and Holly; great grandson, Steven. He was preceded by his parents, Gerald and Florence; his sister, Joann; his brother, John and his infant daughter, Laura.

Donald was born in Bellingham to Gerald and Florence St. John. He finished the 11th grade before going to work for his uncle Joe at St. John Glass in Bellingham. In 1951 the government saw fit to draft Donald into the Korean War. He was always proud to say he was the last draftee from Bellingham to go to Korea. Donald served as a Culinary Specialist and had the honor of being flown by helicopter to the top of a mountain where he prepared and served a meal for the former South Korean President Syngman Ree and his wife. He had amazing stories and formed some wonderful friendships with his fellow soldiers.

In 1956, Don’s cousin, Hector asked him to drive to the tennis courts at Elizabeth Park in Bellingham to check out a blonde bombshell named Judith. Hector was planning to ask her out. Unfortunately for Hector, Judith became smitten with Donald and proclaimed “that’s the man I’m going to marry!”  They married three years later in 1959 at Assumption Catholic Church in Bellingham. During the next six years they settled into the Bellingham community where they had five children. Don continued to work for his Uncle Joe at the glass shop.

The family then briefly moved to Bothell for a year before settling in Mount Vernon where Don worked at McBeath Glass for the next 25 years, retiring in 1994. While a part of the Mount Vernon community, Don coached his son Jon’s Little League baseball teams in the late 1960s and daughter Debbie’s softball teams over the next decade. Don’s legacy persists to this day as grown men remember the “Coach” who imparted his wisdom on them; women remember the “Papa Cat” who mentored their strong teams to win both local and out-of-town tournaments. His affinity for sports would only grow once the Seahawks and Mariners came to Seattle. Don was a stalwart supporter of his teams. His cries of “GOODBYE BASEBALL!” could be heard several houses down with every home run. He was also an avid angler, teaching the sport to his sons Aaron and Jon as well as his grandchildren. His patience was legion. Neither frigid temperatures nor the pressures of an unfinished chore-list could deter his time on the water.

Don and Judith bought a fifth-wheel recreational vehicle when he retired and planned to travel the country. They made it as far as Sedro Woolley before parking the RV for good so they could spoil their newest granddaughter, Holly, for the next 23 years. Breakfast in bed with Grandma and Grandpa (including a big bowl of ice cream) was common as long as it was their little secret. They went to many girls’ softball games and were big supporters of Holly and the Sedro-Woolley High School softball program as well as at Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University. They were so proud of her and would be at any game, rain or shine.

Don spent his final moments living in the house where his children were raised. His final summer was spent sitting on the front porch with his morning coffee watching the world go by.

Donald lived a full 86 years and was loved by all that knew him. At his request there will be no funeral, instead a party with family and friends which will be held this coming summer to celebrate his life. The family suggests memorials in his name be given to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley.


  • Dobie &Diane Conner

    May all the memories you hold make your loss easier to bear. Sending love and prayers!

  • Bonifacio Balanay Jr

    My condolences to the St John family. God bless and aloha from Hawaii the Balanay fsmily

  • George and Avis

    We remember Don—
    George: We had some good times.
    Avis: Always smiling and ready for a hug.