When Don arrived on earth on Aug. 14, 1933, a journey of discovery began, and arriving into eternity will be no different for him.
He was born to Alice LaPreal Richins and Alvin Martindale in Los Angeles, California, the third son to brothers Clarence (Buck) and Edgar (Ed). His investigative nature led him up a tree at age 6, then down again on unyielding concrete, resulting in a broken neck, but never a broken spirit. A priesthood blessing by his father prevented immobility and exposed him to spiritual resources.
The family later moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Don spent his youth. His love of music blossomed into light opera performances throughout high school and into adulthood. While in high school, he manipulated drama, football and music, scoring impressively in all three. A Veteran, he served in the Navy during the Korean War for four years.
He married Margaret Kimber on April 1, 1955, and became a father of two children, Mary Laurine and John Alvin. Twenty years later they divorced, and on Sept. 1, 1976, he married Shannon Webber, his eternal wife of 44 years and became the father of an instant family, adding three more children to the mix: Shane, Shaun and Cherstyn Monson.
A born leader, his career covered a variety of professions, beginning with top sales at Airco Company in Northern California, then president of Freeborn Equipment in Pico Rivera, California, and eventually a general manager with Hoj Engineering in Salt Lake City, Utah. He retired in Ivins, Utah, but not really, as his love of children resulted in the next 10 years of serving the community of Southern Utah as Santa Claus, at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre and at the Red Cliffs Mall, traveling often for Kodak in this capacity. While serving in New York, he was awarded the distinct honor of the most authentic mall Santa Claus.
Church service includes bishop of the Elsabronte Ward in Northern California, Elder’s Quorum President, High Councilman, seminary teacher and a missionary with his wife in Nauvoo, Illinois.
He is survived by his wife, Shannon, his five children, Laurie (Daniel) Seron, John (Tresa) Martindale, Shane (Michele) Monson, Shaun (Amy) Monson, Cherstyn (Matt) Stockwell, 22 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Don will be remembered for his compassion and ability to love without judgment. Because of this virtue, we have created a mantra for him: “I love people more than I dislike what they do.”
Due to COVID-19, a funeral is suspended and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
A graveside service will be held at Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park at Camp Williams, in Bluffdale, Utah, on Tuesday, June 23 at 3 p.m. for family and friends, prior to interment.