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David Alexander Rhoten, Sr.

April 25, 1934 - August 30, 2017

David Alexander Rhoten Sr. born in Salem, Oregon on April 25, 1934 to George A. and Ruth E. (Ross) Rhoten died in Salem, Oregon on August 30, 2017 (age 83 years). He attended Mrs. Kilburn's Salem Musical Kindergarten, Margaret (Mrs. Murco) Ringnalda's school for Children's Theater, McKinley Elementary, Leslie Jr. High, (North) Salem High, University of Washington, Willamette University (undergrad Bachelor in Law) and Gonzaga University Law School. David served in the US Army (Korea) from 1954-1956.

On June 20, 1956 David married and is survived by his beloved Coralie J. Doughton. David's parents, George A. Rhoten and Ruth E. Rhoten are predeceased. David is survived by his children Amy Ruth  (Maurice) Goudeau, D. Alex (Kirstin A.) Rhoten Jr. and Ross (Erin E.) McClure Rhoten; nephews Michael C. Doughton and Steven G. Doughton; grandchildren Sam McClure Hayabusa, Max McClure Rhoten, Isabella True Rhoten, Jack Oliver Rhoten, Nick Alexander Rhoten and Lacey C. (Josh) Rhoades; great-grandchildren Hudson A. Jenks, Georgia L. Jenks and Judith Noel Rhoades; sister E. Merlie Reeves; brother-in-law Ken (Pat) Doughton; sister-in-law Mary Jo (David E.) Doughton and wonderful nieces, nephews and cousins.

From 1961-2017 David was in law practice with Rhoten, Rhoten and Speerstra; Paulus, Rhoten, Lien et al; and 30+ years with Lawrence W. Andrews.

David was involved with local and statewide elections. He served on local, state and national boards and committees including Oregon State Bar, Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Community Foundation. He was a participating supporter of Pentacle Theatre (from its beginnings; David was Officer/Director with Sheila A. Laue, Sue (Reid) Juba, Meryl ("Billy") Smith, Marian Milligan and others on WU campus) the Grand Theater and the Elsinore Theatre (Officer/Director).

David was an earnest gardener. For almost 30 special years, he and Coralie planned and nurtured their Garden at 720 Kingwood Drive NW. "So formal casual" is the title to the November issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine's cover story article on the Garden. Tours, benefits, banquets, international garden connections!! FROLICS all happened in this extraordinary explosion in their lives.
David loved people, pets, friends, his secretaries, lunching out, art, theater, Stayton, Oregon, The Pines (Camp Sherman, Oregon) and considered himself a wayward Episcopalian.

Invited contributions may be donated to Salem Children's Educational Theatre , Elsinore Theatre and Willamette Valley Hospice . For more information, please go to David Rhoten’s facebook page.




David Alexander Rhoten, Sr.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
5-9 pm
Willamette Heritage Center
1313 Mill Street
Salem, OR 97301
 Drop in! Enjoy!
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Guest Book Entries

David would be saying today,"It's another beautiful day"
His spirit lives on in us all!

I will always remember David's wisdom, smile and laughter.  His great story telling ability and his technique for poaching eggs. Mainly I will remember him as my dear friend's wonderful Father. Fly to the Heavens David!  Deepest sympathy and love to the extended Rhoten family.

David, you were such a good history teacher.  I have cherished your history lessons about Salem and the Rhoten clan.  Just when I thought I had heard it all you always came up with a new story.
Thank you for your lessons I will sure to pass many of them on.

David, my friend, may you rest well.  We will miss you and the time we shared.  You were always there with a smile and positive attitude.  The angels got a new friend when you left us.  Gone too soon but well remembered.  

It was always a privilege to be included in the many Rhoten family holiday celebrations even before we moved to the neighborhood.  I will always remember David's pride in the garden and his love of showing people around it.  His garden inspires me to this day to try harder with my own.  I will miss him greatly.

Special asset of Salem. Will be missed.

Wow... what a man. We met in the garden introduced by a mutual friend, Jackie Schulty. We loved to just sit and talk. When I had a legal problem once where I was not treated well with a legal action, he fixed it. When I asked how much I owed him, his answer was simple... 'The law shouldn't treat people like that. You don't owe me anything'. Loved the guy and didn't get to see him often enough. Just Wow.

So sorry. My deepest sympathy.

David, I am shocked to hear of your passing. I can't believe it. You were always so full of life. I remember when Gay and I were set to get married, you and Gary Jones decided to take me out for a bachelor party. There was just the three of us but we made the best of it. Your lovely wife Coralie supplied the music for our wedding and it was lovely. It was a great honor for me to have known you.

I will always remember David wonderful welcome and positive spirit at "The Pines". His kindness to me and my family will never be forgotten. I will miss him forever.

As David's across the street neighbor for about 13 years, when I presented with a legal or flora question, his humorous response was that I was "wrecking his daily agenda" - and then spend unselfish time to assist.  His passing has wrecked mine.

We met David when we purchased his beautiful Kingwood garden.  He was kind enough to throw in the house.  David's graciousness and dry wit will be greatly missed as will as his joyfulness, kindness, consideration and generosity.  I do think he may have underestimated the cost of water though.  Our love to his family and friends and our gratitude for the time we had with him.

Loved your smile and great sense of humor. The City of Stayton, has lost a true gem.

Rest in Peace David. I have fond memories of you and the family picnics. May God bless you and keep you. 

I wish I had known him longer than my term as a Stayton City Councilor.

Jerry Norton. Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but Deliver Us from Evil amen

David was a gracious host. I remember fondly the eclectic group of guests at the only dinner party we were privileged to attend at his home and the most informative horticultural tour of his gardens. A fond and lasting memory. Jack and Nancy Strickland

A live well lived is worth celebrating.  We celebrate a life well lived by David...  A really great guy.  Norma and Bob

Diane and I were the first to be married in Kingwood Garden. At one point, he would not let me finish "Dave, can we..." Yes was his only answer. Started early the next morning to clean up, only to find rental tables and chairs stacked and ready for pick up, and juice and coffee ready for a delightful morning on the patio. BTW, we were also the last to be married there! Fond memories will last forever, my friend.

Oh my gosh.. I miss you already. I've lost a great friend

Thank you David for guiding me through the legal processes in this life on more than one occasion with patience and humor. 

David was really special to our family (the Welch family: Lee, Jim, Sarah, Regan) for many decades. He was always a good friend and showed many kindnesses.  He had a way of making you feel better for having seen him.   We'll miss him.  Very sorry for your loss.

Sarah Welch and Regan Welch Hillesland

When I think of David, one word always comes to mind and that is JOY! Throughout my life I never saw him without that special twinkle in his eye and usually a huge smile on his face. He so loved life and everyone and thing it.  He was generous and bold in all he did.  Booming out 'God Bless America' at our Fourth of July celebrations, singing with Coralie and us kids on evening walks at the pines, admiring the beauty and good around us...
Some people walk through life without ever truly experiencing it-not my uncle!  David was special- he dove into life with gusto and spreading his joy to all.  There is a special children's book called 'Miss Rumphius' by Barbara Cooney is about who wanted to do something special to leave the world a better place so wherever she went she spread lupine seed along the way-making the hill sides bright with color-- David spread his Joy for living to all and that joy will continue on in all the places and people he touched! So thank you uncle Dave! Love you forever and beyond 

David lives on in various spots in our garden.  Being one of his neighbors we were always on the receiving end of his weekend trips to the area nurseries.
David's love of flowers was only exceeded by his love of hotdogs.  This Labor Day I'll have an extra one for David

I will always remember David's "Famous Potatoe Salad". It was so good too. David will be missed by so many.

David, We all miss you.  The Pendleton Roundup can never be the same without your presence.  Knowing you was a bright spot in our lives.  

David was a major leader and philanthropist in the successful efforts to save and restore the Elsinore Theatre. His stories have been most helpful as he passed on much of the history of the Elsinore and Salem's downtown to current board and staff. He was honored on stage before the start of a concert on July 8 with his friend and fellow benefactor Eileea Bourne for their significant contributions to the cultural life of Oregon's capital city. David left his mark on the Elsinore for future audiences to enjoy. Thank you.

Even though Mr. Rhoten knew my husband and had only been introduced to me a few times, he always remembered my name.  I will always remember him for that kindness.  May God comfort all who loved him.

So much more than an uncle, David was a beloved father figure and mentor to me--and to many others.  His uplifting spirit, love of life and overflowing generosity never ceased to amaze.  Rest in peace dear "Unk";  I am eternally grateful and enriched by your presence in my life. 

Coralie, Amy, Alex and Ross,
We are very sorry the Book of David has expired and returned to the Human Library of God’s.
The tomes of his life would be astounding and wonderful. We enjoyed reading the tidbit Susie posted.
As a part of you has separated, we hope you find peace in knowing the shared soul of David remains with each of you, forever.
We extend our greatest sorrow for your loss.

As a Lifetime Member of Pentacle Theatre, I had know David from a far for years but it wasn't until he hired me to be co-counsel with him on a legal matter in 2013 that I really got to know him.

 David,  why did I miss all that time?

I say this because my time alone with him - especially driving to and from Stayton - was so so wonderful. He told me story after story about Salem. He talked of course about the practice of law but also about Pentacle Theatre and the people and places he had known doing both.

David you died way too young!

We still need your wit, grace, humor and love of people and sense of history in this world today. 
I shall miss you. 

Pamela Abernethy 

A great person, and a life well lived. Who could ask for more?

All the staff at Anderson. McIlnay florist was so sadden by the news of David illness and then passing. We will miss seeing his wonderful smile and beautiful spirt stopping into our shop. I know he even worked with my Grandfather Ed Anderson, so loosing a customer with such history is hard for us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Les McIlnay Anderson McIlnay florist

David was a wonderful, warm friend  and I always appreciated how welcome  he made me feel as a Marylander in his beloved Oregon.  I will miss his smiling face 
Ginny Clements

There are not enough superlatives to do justice to David and his wonderful life.  He has been a wonderful friend, mentor, and boss and I will miss him always.  There is so much less joy in the world without our dear David.

We were fortunate to know David for many years as a classmate, colleague and friend.  He was a kind, caring and admirable person.  We will miss him.