Donald C. Carey
passed on March 9, 2019.
Don was born on February 17, 1925 in the family farm
house in Gates, OR., the fourth of five boys born to Al and
Velma Carey. He
attended school in Gates and graduated from Gates High School
in 1943. Don
played 4 years of basketball at Gates High, participated in
band, glee club, and school plays.
He also served as student body president his senior
year. World War II interrupted his education after high
school, and he joined the Army Air Corps.
Don had never flown in a plane but graduated from
Bombardier School and served from 1943-1946. It was during his time in the service that he started writing
to a classmate who lived down the road from him, Helen Wilson.
Don later remarked that their flood of correspondence
must have markedly increased the profits of the U.S. Postal
Upon discharge from
the Army Air Corps Don returned to Gates.
Before enrolling at Oregon State College that fall, he
worked at a sawmill and helped wire the family farmhouse for
raising five boys the Careys finally had electricity! In 1950
Don earned a degree in Business Administration with a minor in
Forestry. During his years at Oregon State he and Helen continued their
courtship and were married that spring.
During his senior
year at Oregon State, Don was contacted by the Stayton Grade
School Board of Directors and asked if he would be interested
in a teaching job. Don
hadn’t envisioned a teaching career but met with them and
was hired. At the
time there was a shortage of teachers and there was an
emergency provision to allow college graduates to teach while
completing their certificates.
He began taking summer courses at Oregon College of
Education and completed his teaching credentials in 1956.
Don spent nine years
teaching and coaching at Stayton Grade School.
In 1959 Don was approached about moving to the high
school to teach and coach basketball.
He accepted and began what would be a 28-year career at
Stayton High School. Throughout
the years, he established relationships with students that
continue to this day.
Don taught a variety
of classes at Stayton, but his favorite was one he developed
and named “Conservation”.
The content included anything outdoors, from tree
identification and basic forest management, to hunter safety
and how to field dress a deer. Although he thought the name
was unimaginative, apparently the class wasn’t; the content
resonated with the students and enrollment had to be
restricted to upper classman due to its popularity.
Eventually, Don became the Boy’s Guidance Counselor.
He always had a soft spot for the student whose
behavior or background put them at risk academically or
socially. As the
basketball coach, he had opportunities to involve these
students with the team and in many cases, this sense of
belonging and accomplishment brought about dramatic changes in
the student which was very rewarding.
He also had an open-door policy at lunchtime.
He would eat lunch at his desk and soon his office
became an informal meeting place for students to eat lunch and
have discussions in a non-threatening environment.
Don went on to have
a very successful coaching career at Stayton.
As the boys’ varsity basketball coach, he had a
record of 486-166, a 74.5% winning percentage.
His teams won two state championships, state runner-up
three times and 14 Capital Conference championships.
He also coached golf for 33 years where his teams won
nine state championships, state runner-up three times and 20
Capital Conference championships.
All three of Don and Helen’s sons played basketball
and golf for their dad. Don
credits Helen for much of his success.
She was always supportive keeping stats, attending
games and balancing their schedules.
Dinner could be anywhere from 3:00 in the afternoon to
9:00 at night depending on the season!
Don earned Coach of
the Year honors for basketball (3 times) and golf (4 times),
and in 1993 was named the NHSCA National Golf Coach of the
Year. In 1977 he
was named Stayton First Citizen.
Don began playing
fastpitch softball while in the eighth grade.
In the ‘50s he played for Kelly Lumber Sales of Mill
City, teams in Eugene, Corvallis, and finally Vandervort
Builders of Salem. In
1953 the Lumbermen of Kelly Lumber Sales won the Oregon State
Softball Championship. Don
was named to the Oregon Softball All-State team three times at
three different positions (pitcher, catcher and first base).
As a lifelong
sportsman, Don enjoyed hunting for deer (Izee), elk (Ukiah),
ducks (Turner Flats), geese (Summer Lake), pheasant, quail and
chukar (John Day). A true highlight in his life was the 10
years of hunting for deer and elk in Colorado. He was a
fisherman as well, fishing for steelhead on Drift Creek, trout
at Crane Prairie, Marion Lake, Long Lake and any number of
mountain lakes and bass at Warm Springs Reservoir. He is
forever connected to his hunting and fishing partners, his
brothers Gale, Norm, Eugene, Jim and their children, Herman
Holm, Jim and Al Girod, Harold Longfellow, Mark Boedigheimer
and many others.
While he spent his
younger years pursuing all types of game, in later years he
continued to pursue wildlife but with a camera. Inspired by
Herman Holm, Don revealed a true talent for photography and
captured the beauty of wildlife and their natural
Don is survived by
his wife of 69 years, Helen; sons Jon (Kim) of Monmouth, Tom
(Liz) of Hillsboro and Steve (Kaz) of Tigard; grandchildren
Jeff Carey, Shannon Carey, Brian (Jillian) Carey, Tyler Carey,
Alex Carey, Serene (Mike) Regen and Jennifer (Austin)
Cresswell; two great grandchildren Rhyse Carey and Mina
Cresswell. He was
preceded in death by his parents and brothers Eugene, Gale,
Norman and James.
Services will be
March 19 at 2 PM at the First United Methodist Church, 1450
Fern Ridge Road, Stayton. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to the Stayton
Eagles Booster Club or the First United Methodist Church in
family wishes to thank the caring staff at Bonaventure of
Salem. Serving the family is North
Santiam Funeral Service, Stayton.