Donald Karl Merkeley was born April 23, 1923, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Howard and Norma Kinnear Merkeley. He died at The Ranch on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, surrounded by family.

Donald was predeceased by older brothers Garth and Norman, as well as beloved younger sister, Lois Anne. He married Kate Mary Vivian Aspinall in 1946.

Don’s career started with the Canadian Navy, then he served as a special constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Daughter Lois Anne was born while they lived at Depot in Regina. The RCMP sent him to New York University to study forensic pathology, working with the coroner’s office of New York City. Both son Ward and daughter Dana were born while there.

Mum and Dad moved to Lewiston, where son Jeff was born. His father and a nurseryman across the road began his love of plants and gardening. He and my mother never failed to create beautiful gardens in the places they lived. He always found seeds and plants to add, from wherever he traveled (not always legally). His childhood spent on the prairies and lakes of Manitoba led to a lifetime spent outdoors, hunting, fishing, skiing and introducing others to his passions.

Don’s interest in everyone and everything around him never ceased; whether it was building wooden boats, following routes of trappers, making “Champagne” or plotting the planting of next year’s garden. Mum and Dad retired to northern Idaho after many wonderful years in Seattle. He continued to build wooden boats, enjoying people’s use of them as much as the process of building them.

Don was preceded in death by his beloved life companion, Vivian, and eldest daughter, Lois. He is survived by son Ward (Donna), and his family; daughters Jillian (Griffin and River) Hull, Olivia, and Vivian; son Jeff; grandson Tyler Merkeley (Katy); and daughter Dana. He is also survived by his Canadian family, who brought much love and joy to his life.

A memorial service will be 11 a.m. July 27 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 500 E. Wallace Ave., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814. There will a reception to follow the service in the Parish Hall at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a charity of your choice. Yates Funeral Homes has been entrusted with the care of final arrangements.