In Memory of
January 6, 1941–October 17, 2019
On October 17, 2019, the well-lived life of Don Stoneburner, full of compassion and honor, and lived in service of others, came to an end.
His life is an example to us all of how true happiness is found by making a difference in the lives of those we love, those we know, and those who are in need of our help. Whether through his loving presence at the games and events of his children and grandchildren, the selfless help for friends through painted houses, backyard fountains and patios, or the countless PB&J sandwiches he crafted for the hungry and less-fortunate, Don was THERE. Always there.
He was born Donald Gordon Stoneburner in Leon, Iowa on January 6, 1941 to Carlos and Edna Stoneburner.
Shortly after he was born, his family, including his older sister Roberta and younger brother Loren, moved from Sierra Vista, Arizona to Dallas, Oregon.
Growing up, he was a member of the “Howe Street Gang,” a group of neighbor kids with whom he roamed the streets of Dallas when he lived at 1017 Howe Street. Don was also active in high school leadership and sports, serving as sergeant-at-arms and lettering in football and baseball, before graduating from Dallas High School in 1959.
Don became a Beaver, attending Oregon State University and graduating with a degree in History in 1964. Following graduation, he entered the Army and served as a Light Infantryman from July 1964 to July 1966, where he was decorated with the National Defense Service Medal.
Following his service in the Army, Don’s former (Alaskan) OSU roommate suggested he move to Alaska, a land of many opportunities. It was in Anchorage that he met Elaine Cordova, whom he married in 1969. Together they raised 4 children — and Don was there for every sports, drama and school event, even coaching soccer for the Boys & Girls Club for many years, so that he could be there, with his kids where they played.
In Anchorage, Don was the owner of Keystone Distribution, a warehouse and freight forwarder company, from 1974 to 1998. He sold his business and retired in 1998.
It was in 1998, at his Dallas High School reunion, that he reconnected with his former schoolmate, Ila Hoffman Dyck. They began dating, fell in love and eventually married on December 2, 2000. He expanded his heart and his family to include Ila’s two children and eight grandchildren, always making time to be there at their countless sports, performance and school events.
Don & Ila had a beautiful 19 years together, splitting time between their homes, and families, in Alaska and Oregon.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ― John Bunyan
Don always had a heart for those who needed help, whether he knew them or not. He was active at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage and a founding member and president of Brother Francis Shelter where he made endless sandwiches for the homeless, often enlisting the help of his four kids. In Alaska, Don also served actively with Catholic Social Services. His kids speak of remembering their father not giving money to the homeless, but rather, taking those in need to a nearby restaurant to buy them food. In Oregon, Don and Ila attended Salem Alliance Church, where they spent many hours volunteering for the Feed Salem ministry.
Don selflessly gave his love and support to his children and grandchildren, attending soccer, basketball and softball games, music and guitar concerts and dramatic performances, never missing anything. And always quietly expressing his pride for his family.
He was also always generous with his time and energy. For numerous family and friends, Don painted houses, built a gazebo, completed landscaping, installed tiling, helped with moving, and created countless backyard patios, ponds and fountains.
“Still waters run deep.”
Don Stoneburner was a man of few words, but of deep feeling.
His enjoyment of gardening and house projects speak to his quiet passion. Prior to his passing, he named a few of his precious plants after his precious children, caring for them with the same patient love.
Throughout his physical battle with cancer, Don never complained. He bravely fought his illness, always making sure those around him were comfortable. He faithfully endured, with optimism and a sense of humor — and with a chuckle that made everyone around him a little happier.
Don was surrounded by his loving wife and children who were there for him, as he passed on October 17.
He is carried forever in the hearts of those whose lives he made better, and is survived by:
His wife Ila Stoneburner.
His sister Roberta Mehl.
His children Mark and Janet Stoneburner, Lori Stoneburner, Jennifer Stoneburner, and Jeremy Stoneburner; Cameron and Melissa Van Dyck; and Ken and Greta Black.
His grandchildren Kevin Wright; Alleaya, Dane and Landen Van Dyck; Caleb and Mathias Cunderman; and Madeline, Owen and Drew Black.
Thank you Don, for your honor, compassion, and commitment to showing us love and selflessness through the life you lived and shared. We, and our lives, are better because you were there for us.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:31
Don and Ila would like to express their sincere gratitude for the years of steadfast care from Dr. Prins, and the extraordinary compassion exemplified by the nurses at the Salem Hospital during Don’s last days.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held on Sunday, November 24th at 3:00 pm at Salem Alliance Church. In lieu of flowers, Don’s family asks that contributions be made to Feed Salem.