Don "Herm" Chitwood
July 1, 1943 - October 14, 2016
Don Edmond Chitwood, “Herm”. Peacefully passed away on October 14, 2016 at OHSU from complications during IV Chemotherapy treatment he was participating in for a rare form of leukemia. He was surrounded by his family, with his favorite 50’s music playing in the background.
Don was born the last of 5 children to Henry and Susie (nee Harrison) Chitwood in Hot springs, Arkansas on July 1, 1943. Just 5 days later his family put him on a pillow in a pickup truck and headed to Oregon, where he graduated from Central High School in Independence. Don was a multi-sport letterman in football, wrestling, baseball and track, a student body officer, enthusiastic member of the choir and voted “Most Witty” of his senior class. Don had accepted a full ride football scholarship at the University of Oregon as a receiver, but lost that scholarship due to an injury in his final high school state championship game. He then traveled with a band as a singer until he figured out a way to go back to college. He graduated from OCE now WOU with a teaching degree and taught at Candalaria Elementary school for a time. Don was inducted into Central High School’s first “Class of Hall of Fame” inductees in 2013.
He also worked part time as a Salem reserve policeman and for Keith Brown Lumber Yard. Keith Brown, and especially his son, Frank Brown, took Don under their wing and became close friends over many years of working together. Don was known as “Herm” in the building industry. He received numerous awards and honors as he worked his way up to being a highly valued outside sales manager. He worked with architects and contractors to figure out all of the materials needed for their projects. Some of the larger projects Don worked on were the Creekside Golf Community where he once held membership #0001 and the new Hospitality building that went up in 1995 for Willamette Valley Vineyards.
Don married his high school sweetheart, Jody Drydale, in 1963. They had two children, a daughter Doni and younger brother David. David passed at age 3 months. In 1970, Don married Tracy Barnes, also a graduate of OCE and long time teacher at Garfield and Jefferson School Districts. Tracy and Don had two children Marc and Amy and adopted Mary Lajoie into the family in high school. Tracy died from ovarian cancer in 1999.
In 2005, Don married Kathy Marr. Don and Kathy had both grown up in the Monmouth-Independence community and are both Central High grads. During the time that Kathy was attending OCE, her dorm president was Tracy Barnes. Kathy was their dental hygienist and they shared many mutual friends throughout the years. Kathy and her three children Brett, Jaymi and Janna and families joined Don’s family to become a large and very close extended family that spread from the east coast to the west coast and Hawaii.
Don was a hands-on grandpa, and loved spending as much time as he could with all of his treasured grandchildren. He was also very involved in the community and served twice as President of Civitans (also chairman of Civitans Horse Show Committee), Chairman of the Jefferson School District Board, charter member of Keizer Elks Club, member of Home Builders Association and was a NAHB Spike Club member. In his retirement he became a volunteer at Willamette Valley Vineyards, doing many creative construction projects and entertaining guests whenever he had a chance. He was awarded their Bacchus Volunteer of the Year award in July, 2016.
Don is predeceased by infant son David, sister Frances and brothers Doyle, Dale and Lawrence, his parents Henry and Susie Chitwood.
Don is survived by wife, Kathy, children Doni Chitwood Howe, husband Monte, and children Ford and Shelby; Marc Chitwood, wife Beth, sons Ryker and Paxton; Amy Chitwood Burslem, husband, Joel, daughters Charlotte and Catie; Mary Lajoie, wife Jenn Plaskett, daughters Chloe and Tanner, and by Kathy’s children Brett Marr, wife Nicole, daughter Addison; Jaymi Marr Kaino, husband Kris and children Matt, Elleigh,Jack and Alex; Janna Marr Taylor, husband, Jeff and children Logan and Lydia. Don leaves behind many cherished nieces and nephews, as well as, special family members of the Chitwood, Barnes, Hennings, Green, Bernau, Burslem, Hedrick, Braziel, Erickson-King, Eisele and Marr families.
A Celebration of Life for Don will be 10 o’clock Sunday morning, November 6th, 2016 at the Willamette Valley Vineyards, 8800 Enchanted Way, Turner, Oregon 97392.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests participating in the Red Cross blood drives, or donating to a college scholarship fund in the Chitwood name that will be announced at the memorial service.