Obituary: Donald E. Vandegraft

Father, golfer, Dodgers fan

Donald E. Vandegraft, loving husband and father of three, died February 16 in Montgomery, Texas. He was 94.

Don was born on August 9, 1929 in Lexington, Illinois to Elmer and Fanny (Turpin) Vandegraft. He was the 12th and final child born to the family.

He graduated from Lexington High School in 1947 and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1948 to 1952, attaining the rank of sergeant. While in the Air Force, he visited Los Angeles and knew he wanted to live in Southern California. He attended Illinois State University in Normal, studying industrial arts. In 1953, he met Carol Schrock, who was studying to be a nurse, and they were married that same year.

They both graduated in 1956 and moved to El Monte, California, where he taught industrial arts at a junior high school.

In 1957, he was offered the position of West Coast manager for McKnight & McKnight publishing company, which specialized in vocational books for high schools and colleges. The job entailed traveling extensively by car in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada. In 1985, he joined the Goodheart Wilcox publishing company. He retired in 2000.

The couple raised three children: son Douglas (La Conner, Washington), daughter Michele (Kansas City, Missouri), and son Mark (Everett, Washington). The family moved from Covina to Claremont in 1969.

He had passions for reading, baseball, and golf, and was a big fan of the LA Dodgers. After Carol died in 1996, he bought a house next to a golf course in Hemet, California, where he actively worked on his game.

“Don was well known for his quick wit, infectious smile, his wink, his laugh, and generosity,” his family shared. “He would insist on paying for his table at restaurants, going out of his way to make sure the check was given to him.”

He was preceded in death by his wife Carol, his parents, and siblings.

He is survived by Geraldine Barone of Montgomery, Texas, his companion of 19 years; his three children; and several nieces and nephews.

A burial service will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, March 1 at Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier, CA 90601.


Submit a Comment

Share This