In Memory of
April 16, 1922–July 12, 2017
Donald Earl Wandell, 95, died Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in a residential care facility in Salem, Oregon.
Don was born and raised in Clovis, California, the son of Joy Eon and Florence Alfreda (Stevens) Wandell. Don had one brother, Edward, and three sisters, Helen Kelly, Betty Watts, and Marian Adams.
Don served in the US Navy during World War II. He later wrote his memoirs about his experience stationed on the USS Renshaw, a destroyer engaged in battles in the South Pacific corridor.
After the war, Don met and married Margaret Louise Jones. They had two sons, Charles (Skip) and Robert (Bob). That marriage ended in divorce. Several years later Don married Benita Claire Floyd and they had a daughter, Mary. Don and Benita settled in Hayward, California to raise Bob, Skip and Mary.
Don was a hard worker. He learned the building trades from working with his dad and made his living in construction. He worked on the power plant for the Oroville Dam and was a foreman on construction of the library at Chabot College in Hayward. In the 1970s, Don had his own business building custom homes in Nevada County, California. After retirement, Don and Benita moved to Myrtle Point, Oregon where he kept active with small carpentry projects, gardening, hunting, fishing, and reading westerns. Don and Benita moved to Salem, Oregon in 2016.
Don’s life was marked with adventure. He rode horses and bulls in rodeos, mined for gold in Canada, broke horses and lead pack trips outside of Yosemite National Park.
Everyone who knows Don knows he loved dogs and horses… and they loved him. His favorites from youth were his dog Shep who rode on the running boards of the family car, and his horse Danny who refused to go into a horse trailer unless you rode him in. Later in life, he doted on his black mare Lady and Jill, a feisty Sheltie.
Don is survived by his wife of 58 years, Benita Claire (Floyd) Wandell, his sons, Charles Edwin Wandell and Robert Eugene Wandell, his daughter Mary Diane Wandell, and his sister Betty (Wandell) Watts, 10 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren. Don loved his family and had friendships that lasted throughout his life.