Donald A. Straw

Donald Adolph Straw passed away on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in his home in Mad River. He was 91.

He was born June 7, 1929, in Kelso, Wash.

He is survived by his wife Roseann (Rosie) Straw of Mad River. They were married on Dec. 23, 1960 and were married for 60 years.

He is preceded in death by his sister, Juanita, who died in childbirth; and an infant daughter, Michelle Lorene, who they lost in a house fire in 1971. She was 13 months old.

He leaves behind his sisters, Alice Wilson of Shasta City, Calif., and Bertha Mickalak of Anderson, Calif.; his daughters, Crystal Jakubczak, Jan Straw, Jeannie Rush (Pat); and son  James Straw. He also leaves behind eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren: Joseph (Mary Jo) and their daughter, Alexandria; Robert Spatafore (Heather) and his children, Nicholas, Monica, and John Henry; Jason (Christine) Spatafore and their children, Kelly and Jameson; Matthew Jakubczak; Jesse (Brigitte) Meyer and their children, Wyatt and Natalee; Brian Meyer, Jade and Jazmine Straw.  

He graduated from RH Long High School in Longview, Wash. After high school, he worked at a gas station in Eufaula, Wash., for his father-in-law, at the time, who owned the store and gas station. At some point, he moved to Eureka and became a taxi driver. He also worked for the local newspaper in Eureka.

He came to be part of the Southern Trinity community, working as a logger in 1961. He decided to become a resident of Mad River in 1964. He spent his time as a loader operator, woods boss and a logging truck driver for Three Rivers Logging Company, owned by Graham Cottrell. He became a Master Mechanic for Twin Harbors Lumber Company in 1972. After the lumber company shut down in 1979, Don started a business of his own, called S.T.R.A.W.S. Southern Trinity Repair and Welding Services. He also had a towing business.

He put many years into the workforce of his community. He acted as the 5th District supervisor for four years in 1980-1984. He was a big part of establishing the Ruth Lake Community Services District, along with the Lions Club and the volunteer fire department.

He was a member of the Ruth Riding and Roping Club. He and Rosie spent many years working at the Rodeo Grounds when the club used to put on the Ruth Rodeo and Logging Show. He was the chairman of the Ruth Rodeo for the Lions Club. He was president of the Six Rivers Senior Citizens and president of the Volunteer Fire Department.

Don was active in the Lions Club for 44 years, being the last charter member. He was acting president for the Lions Club in 1979 and was also the chairman for the Ruth Rodeo for many years. He was the grand marshal of the Ruth Rodeo in 2004.

Don helped start the Southern Trinity Health Services. Don, along with Jim Delaney and Don Perry, bought an ambulance, before S.T.A.R., and put a lot of money into it, but when they transported patients to town, they never made it because the ambulance would break down. I believe that ambulance is in a ditch somewhere on Don’s property, as the story goes.

Don also sponsored many drivers for the Destruction Derby over at the Trinity County  Fairgrounds in Hayfork.

Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 9, at the Mad River Cemetery, Route 1. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Southern Trinity Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 16, Mad River, CA 95552.

Don will always be remembered as someone who got things done, and always followed through with what he said he would. He will be remembered fondly by his community. He is on a new journey where he is free to run and not get weary.

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