Donald Eugene Garner

Flight instructor, businessman

Donald Garner died on January 3, 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga. He was 93. He was born April 22, 1920 to Herman and Bess Garner of Claremont who built the “Garner House” and founded Padua Hills Theatre.

Mr. Garner graduated from Claremont High School in 1938 after which he attended UC Berkeley. On November 11, 1941, Mr. Garner married his high school sweetheart Louise Van Voorhis.

Mr. Garner learned to fly while he lived in Claremont and used his skills to train pilots during World War II. Mr. Garner continued to teach flying out of Hemet, California where he taught his sons to fly.

He was a businessman who worked hard at everything he did in order to provide for his family, his relatives shared.

After he turned 90, Mr. Garner became an active participant in 5K races alongside his son Van Garner and many of his other family members. In his first Freedom 5000 race in Claremont, he placed first in his age group. From there, he got hooked and participated in ten 5K races before his health no longer permitted it. Although he never understood why, his participation in these races inspired all who competed with him.

Mr. Garner was predeceased by his wife Louise and his brother Lee. He is survived by his brother, Ted Garner of La Verne; his daughter, Connie Nelson of Rancho Cucamonga; his sons Bill and Richard Garner of San Jose; and his son Van of Claremont. He also leaves behind six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.


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