Longtime Coulee City resident, Donnie V. Blevins, affectionately known as “Dr. Don”, passed away on Sunday, July 7, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 79 years old.
To send flowers in memory of Donnie Vee Blevins, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Donnie was born April 16, 1940, in Violet Hill, Arkansas, to Clarence Paris Blevins and Audrey Alma (Yancey) Blevins, the fourth of six children. Donnie attended school at Violet Hill elementary and Oxford High School. He loved to tell people he had gone to Oxford! As the children grew, the hard working family began traveling annually from Arkansas, through the southern states, and north to Washington to follow agricultural crops. Don learned his hard work ethic from the cotton fields of Arkansas all the way through the hops and apples in Washington State. He enjoyed the climate and scenery of Washington and relocated after finishing school. He started a lifelong love affair with automobiles, buying his first car in Moxee. The reality of a $25 per month payment led him to enlist in the Army where he served honorably. Don took pride in the fact he was able to pay off the car while also sending his mother $25 a month for groceries, and letting his brother Lester drive the car while he was gone!
Following his discharge in 1960, Don returned to Washington where he met and married Jean Fairchild of Quincy, Washington. They had three children: Donna, Chad, and Kelli. The couple later divorced but remained cordial throughout the course of Donnie’s life and attended many family events together.
Donnie had an interesting and varied career. He was trained in auto mechanics and operated gas stations back in the “full service station” days. He worked for the Bureau of Reclamation as watermaster and reservoir superintendent for Banks Lake. He operated long haul trucks. However, the career that truly defined him – and that he wants to be remembered for – was as a heavy equipment operator. Donnie was happiest waking in the pre-dawn hours, bundling up in his trusty Carhartt coveralls with a thermos of strong, dark coffee, firing up those big diesel engines, and spending long hours shaping the land. He worked for Callahan construction for many years, retiring in 2017 due to declining health.
When God made Donnie he broke the mold. Dr. Don was a unique blend of perpetual jokester and stern taskmaster. He always had a twinkle in his eye, saw humor in most circumstances, and was ready with a joke, quip or glib reply. At the same time, he believed in hard work, thrift, and lived a simple life. He appreciated authenticity and genuine expressions of love. He could quibble over a bill but would truly give away the shirt off his back. He enjoyed many hobbies—working with his daughters’ horses, his son’s dirt bike, fishing, golfing, music (especially Hank Williams), drag racing, but was probably happiest up to his elbows in grease tinkering with a car and shooting the breeze with the guys. He enjoyed helping others where he could, from mowing a lawn or fixing a car to slipping a folded $20 into the hand of someone in need.
Don was proudest of his children and wanted them to know he always tried to do his best and that he always loved them. He also wanted to extend his deepest thanks to his son-in-law and caregiver extraordinaire, Steve Johanson, who “promised he would take care of me to the very end and kept his word”. The family also thanks Cliff VanMeter, whose steadfast care made it possible for Don to remain in his own home, John Johanson for his many visits, and all the many wonderful friends, family and hospice workers who visited, called and cared for Donnie in his final months.
Donnie was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Lillian. He is survived by his children, Donna and Stephen Johanson, Chad and Shannon Blevins, and Kelli Blevins; his grandsons, Matthew Johanson and Jake and Brandi Johanson; and his great grandchildren, Matilda, Theodore, and Joanna Johanson. He is also survived by siblings Travis Blevins, Clarence Wayde Blevins, Audrey Gaye Blevins, and Lester Blevins, as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and extended family.
A celebration of Donnie’s life will be held Saturday, July 13, 2019, 11:30 am in the Brick House, (old high school), Main Street, Coulee City, Washington followed by a luncheon for family and friends.
Please leave a memory for the family or sign their online guestbook at www.scharbachs.com. Scharbach's Columbia Funeral Chapel, Quincy is assisting the family with arrangements.