Donald E. Kissinger was born May 21, 1935, to Merle and Dorothy Kissinger in Orofino. He died Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, because of complications from cancer.
He spent his early schooling years in Spokane, but summers he often visited family in Grangeville, Sweetwater and Yellow Pine. He moved to Grangeville in 1951 and graduated from GHS in 1953. He married Jane Heron on Nov. 7, 1953, and attended Washington State University from 1953-58, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. During those college years, all four of his children were born. He later received a Master of Science degree from University of Idaho in 1968.
He was employed as an antenna specialist for the U.S. Navy at Point Magu, Calif., from 1958-61. He returned to Grangeville and taught in the Grangeville school system both at the junior high and high school in math and science from 1963 to his retirement in 1993. He was a lifetime member of the Idaho Education Association and the national association. In 1970, he was named Outstanding Educator and in 1993, he received the Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Idaho Alumni Association and the Tandy Outstanding Science Instructor award. He served as commencement speaker for GHS in 1992, and as a volunteer science and math tutor for adults seeking to advance their education.
He is remembered for initiating the GHS wrestling program and serving as head coach for 20 years. He received numerous coaching awards, including District Coach of the Year in 1978 and was the honored coach at the state wrestling tournament in 1992. In 2001, Don received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He served on the Board of the Camas Credit Union (now Pine Tree Credit Union) for 20 years and was treasurer/manager for 15 of those years. In 1978, he became a licensed land surveyor and accompanied his father-in-law, Bert Heron, on many surveying jobs. He also held a private pilot’s license for a number of years. He was a lifetime member of the Trinity Lutheran Church and served as elder and treasurer for many years.
In 2003, Don and Jane celebrated 50 years of love and blessings. After an extended battle with cancer, Jane passed in 2006. On Feb. 28, 2015, Don married Linda Aiken and they had close to six years of happy companionship before Linda passed in 2021. Most of those years, they had the joy of providing day care for their grandchildren Kayla and Jayce.
Don spent his retirement years substituting at GHS; shooting and loading guns from his large collection; four-wheeling with family and friends; and driving for a shuttle service.
Don is survived by his three children, Anne (Mark) Waite, of Marysville, Wash.; Robert (Michiko) Kissinger, of Cincinnati; and David (Chikako) Kissinger, of Coeur d’Alene; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his son Scott Kissinger.
Don’s final months were spent at Meadowlark Home. He absolutely refused to leave Grangeville. The family would like to thank the staff there and that of Grangeville Hospice for their excellent and loving care as his life came to an end.
There will be a funeral service at 11 a.m. Nov. 6 at Blackmer Funeral Home, followed by the interment of ashes at Grangeville Cemetery. Please join the family for a reception from 1-3 p.m. at the Grangeville Senior Center. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to blackmerfuneralhome.com.