Don was the son of Joe and Lois Prater, husband to Lavon Arlene Peterson (Petey) Prater, younger brother to George (Pat), father to Brian (Trice), Stephanie (Darrell), Kim (Jason), & Rebecca (Brad), grandfather to Jennifer (Josh), Lauren (Ryan), Austin (Allison), Caroline, Colin, and Patch.
He will be remembered as a forever faithful spouse, dedicated father, Army Veteran, trusted/respected colleague, loyalist of friend, single engine/commercial pilot, mechanical packaging engineer (with patents), quiet kind giver to many with a stoic exterior, but inwardly hilarious sense of humor, Don liked to fish and build/show Ford model T’s and A’s, a passion he shared with his father, Joe Prater.
He was a collector of every interesting paper carton known to man, an incredibly hard worker, like so many of his generation, who extended a sainthood level of patience in his lifetime, and ever the consummate toast lover.
Don was born in Goshen, Indiana, relocating at 10yrs old with his family to Lovelock, Nevada, raising rabbits he sold to the local Safeway and haying the fields in the summer while attending Pershing County High School, where he met his future wife Lavon (Petey).
In school, Don excelled at tennis, football, billiards, and his local FFA chapter. After graduating, he joined the Army as a helicopter mechanic based out of Fort Huachuca, AZ.
On leave, Don headed to San Francisco to woo his love, Lavon (Petey), who was attending St. Francis Nursing School. Upon honorable discharge, attending San Jose State College, and mom’s nursing school graduation, they married October 14, 1960, and created 60+ years of memories together.
Dad loved what he did! His international career began at Western Airlines, then onto Hiller Aircraft, before becoming a plant manager with Southern CA Carton Co., taking him to Fiberboard, Pacific Paperboard, Graphic Packaging, James River, etc.
Eventually Don began his consulting firm and served the likes of Coors Brewing, Tillamook Creamery, Reser’s Fine Foods, Intel Corp., and more, as he became a recognized expert of “all things” in the mechanical packaging engineering world.
There was never an engineering challenge he couldn’t fix, resulting in an international career that kept him “sky” high for over 35 years, as he travelled to develop/repair carton packaging machines around the world. Dad formally retired at 81yrs.
After residing in Redwood City and Concord, California, dad and mom moved in ’72 to Beaverton, Oregon, establishing cherished lifetime friendships there and at Cannon Beach.
Upon retiring, they built a home in Dallas, Oregon, spending their final decade enjoying family and their many close friendships in Dallas.
Mom preceded dad in death by only a few months, with dad joining mom peacefully Monday, January 17, 2022, in Eugene, Oregon, with family at his side.
Dad will be greatly missed for his unwavering support, quiet kindness, and the true gentleman he was. At this time, no memorial services will be held.
The immediate family will be gathering to remember mom and dad together in a private ceremony.
The family requests that any remembrances of dad be to a charity of your choosing or the Alzheimer’s Association.