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MailTribune.com
  • Donald "Don" Dempsey

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  • Donald "Don" Dempsey, 82, of Medford Ore. passed away, following complications from a fall, Friday, February 21, 2014 at the home of his brother, Charles Dempsey, in Boring, Ore.
    Donald was born in St. Johns, Ore. on January 30, 1932 to Dennis and Zelda (Borchers) Dempsey. He attended Portland Union Academy grade school, Laurelwood Academy, Walla Walla College then L.A. School of Mortuary Sciences.
    Donald had an apprenticeship in Lebanon, Ore. for Huston Funeral Chapel in 1954, followed by Little Chapel of the Chimes, Portland. He purchased Snodgrass Funeral and Ambulance Services in La Grande, Ore. In 1958, he established a Residential Home, and then built Valley View Manor Nursing Home. In 1962, Donald built Cedar Manor in Baker City, Ore. In 1973, he established Dempsey's Center, a multipurpose center in Gresham, Ore. and the Theater of the Universe, a multimedia Biblical story in art form, traveling the West to share the experience. Donald retired in 1985 to Medford, Ore.
    On March 8, 1950, Don married Marilyn Geates. The couple had three children, Doneva (Dan) Ward, of Vancouver, Wash., Jan (Jeff) Grell, of Vista, Calif. and Donald Ray Dempsey (Ordi) of Jolon, Calif.
    On September 1, 1969, Don married Orpha Omstead Thomas in Walla Walla, Wash. They had one son, David (Kim).
    Don married Shirley Fichtner on May 31, 1986, in Medford Ore.
    Don's interests and hobbies included fly fishing, golf, R.V. travel, piloting airplanes, being an active member of Britt Festivals, a member of the Mt. Tabor Seventh Day Adventist Church, B.P.O.E., and a member of the Rogue Fly Fishers Association.
    Don had a sense of warmth, bringing everyone together and making everyone feel accepted and at home. Even though he was 6 foot 6 inches, he was never intimidating. He always helped those in need and treated everyone with acceptance. He enjoyed life, always wanting to be on the move. He enjoyed special time with his ten grandchildren. He loved animals, and they loved him too.
    Don is survived by his wife, Shirley; brother, Charles; sisters, Peggy Clayville and Jean Teske; four children; four step-children, Bob (Cheryle) Collins, Rick (Judy Jennings) Collins, Catherine (Michael) Flores, Leisa Colllins Reese; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
    A service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 16, 2014, at Medford Mausoleum Eastwood Cemetery. Celebration of life to follow at his home. Donations in his name may be made
    to Southern Oregon Humane Society.
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