Don was born here in Idaho Falls, May 27, 1938, and always wanted to come back home, so in retirement, we did so as per his wishes. He passed away August 13, 2020, due to complications of COVID, his celebration of life was held on July 10, 2021, at such time as we were able to gather safely. As an only child, he traveled around with his mother and grandfather, who worked in highway construction. He was a bit of a loner and liked to wander out in the desert by himself, which is why his daughters Kathi and Lysa love to rockhound to this day. He attended several elementary schools during their travels and went on to graduate from Newport Harbor High School. Don learned to body surf there and continued to surf while serving in the Marine Corps in Hawaii. Upon completing his four-year enlistment, he came to the desert in El Centro, CA.
He met and married Gloria Vanoni in 1962, and they reared their two daughters, Kathryn and Lysa (sp?) in El Centro.
Don was in law enforcement for several years with the El Centro Police Department and as a juvenile officer with the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department. His greatest joy as a juvenile officer was presenting safety in the desert programs to the students in the rural schools and would get that rare, crooked little funny smile on his face when he would receive an envelope with pictures the students would draw for him of what they had learned.
Don also owned several gas stations, managed auto parts stores, raced go-karts, and won many trophies doing so, he also ran a modified stock car at the Imperial fairgrounds raceway, he loved all things cars, trucks, and animals.
Don coached both daughters in girls’ softball and enjoyed watching all the girls improve in their abilities. Many of the girls still consider him as their other dad.
He loved camping and his favorite place was Independence, California where he lived for a time while his grandfather worked in construction building highways and freeways for Bassage Brothers construction, who built the 805 freeway that crosses over Interstate 8 in Mission Valley in the San Diego area.
He loved to fish in Independence, he would catch the fish then ride his bike as fast as he could down the hill to put the fish in a bucket, he always strived to catch and release. Some of his ashes are sprinkled there now. He also loved to camp in Skeeterville, Idaho.
Don was preceded in death by his grandfather, Emile E. Faust, grandmother, Patty A. Harris Faust, father, Don W. Christensen, Uncle, Allen E.Faust, Mother, Betty Lee Faust Ellingwood, step-father, Donald E. Ellingwood.
He is survived by his wife, Gloria K. Vanoni Ellingwood, daughters, Kathryn Ellingwood Burdge and Lisa Elleningwood Ortenzi, sisters, Sandy Potter and Linda Applin and Donna Rish, brothers, Larry Christensen and Dee Ellingwood, granddaughters, Serrafina Patterson Jennings, Shelby Kathryn Ellingwood Burdge, grandsons, Travis Craigh Patterson, Tyler Finley Ellingwood Burdge, Conrad Don Ellingwood Burdge, great-granddaughter, Luna Belle Jennings, great-grandson, Walker Ace Patterson and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.