Donald Nelson Cates of Mt. Vernon passed away Thursday morning, October 1, 2015. He was born October 14, 1923, in Park Place, Oregon, the first child of John Nelson Cates and Violetta (Fulford) Cates. The family returned to his father's home in Missouri during the depths of the Great Depression, then came back to Oregon where his father worked with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) building Silver Falls State Park. Times were tough and the family eventually migrated to Omak, Washington, where Don started working in apple orchards when he was 13 and fell timber the summer he was 14.\n\nIn 1941 Donald met Evelyn Lois Leese when Don was falling timber near the Leese ranch in Aeneas, Washington. They were married in Omak, Washington on August 22, 1942. Their first home was in Disautel, a small logging community in Washington. In 1944, Don joined the U.S. Navy and served in World War II on a gunnery crew on the oil tanker, J. H. Tuttle, in the South Pacific. After the war, Don and Evelyn returned to Omak, Washington, where their son, Roy, and daughter, Linda, were born.\n\nThe family moved to Mt. Vernon in 1951 where Don worked for many years as a logger. Then Don and Evelyn owned Crossroads Service Station and Crossroads Cafe in Mt. Vernon. Later Don worked with his son, Roy, in Cates Logging and then with AAA Thunderbolt Fire Services with his son and daughter- in-law and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Don was still active in Thunderbolt at the time of his death.\n\nDon was very engaged in the Mt. Vernon community. He led a Boy Scout troop. He was Commander of the American Legion when the Legion Hall, now the Mt. Vernon Community Center, was built. One spring break-up from logging, he worked full time on the Legion Hall which was built with volunteer labor, much of it his. He was especially proud of the floor and rafters. He served as Mayor of Mt. Vernon and was on the School Board. Don and Evelyn were Grand Marshals of the Cinnabar Mountain Rendezvous in 1996.\n\nDon loved the woods and enjoyed any activity that took him to the hills; hunting, huckleberrying, or just a long drive. Known by everyone as "Granddad", Don was full of energy and urgency. He liked to get things done. At age 76 he was still working with the Thunderbolt crew on forest fires and he piled brush with them into his eighties. He took good care of his yard and garden and particularly his fruit trees. He enjoyed good food, most especially his wife Evelyn's cooking. He loved dogs and they loved him. Don liked to build houses and built 6 houses in Mt. Vernon, one on the coast, plus several post office buildings.\n\nDon was preceded in death earlier this year by his wife of 72 years, Evelyn Cates. Survivors include son Roy Cates and his wife Evelyn of Mt Vernon; daughter Linda Cates and her husband Tom Murray of Nelson, New Hampshire; granddaughter Chris Phillips and her husband Ken of Fruitland, Idaho; grandsons Mike Cates and his wife DeAnne of Filer, Idaho; Bryan Cates of Mt. Vernon; Brad Cates and his wife Krystal of Mt. Vernon; and Will Murray of New York City; plus many great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Bertha Wells ofTumwater, Washington and his brother, Jesse Cates of Canyon City.\n\nA Memorial Service will be held at the Mt. Vernon Community Hall on Friday, October 16, 3:00 PM. A potluck will follow.