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AGC Mourns Passing of Don Laskey

Donald Lee Laskey

Reedsport, Oregon

A memorial service for longtime Reedsport resident Don Laskey will be held at 11:30 am, Saturday, January 30, at Reedsport Community Charter School, in the Pacific Auditorium. Services are being directed by Dunes Memorial Chapel, in Reedsport (541-271-2822). The family requests that those who knew Don and would like to share a story about him, either write the story down and it will be collected and read at the memorial, or tell the story themselves.

Don was born on May 7, 1933, to Herb Laskey and Ines (Wittick) Laskey, in North Bend, Oregon. Don could trace his earliest family beginnings in the North Bend area to 1892, when his maternal grandpa Wittick and family came to the USA from Gamlakarleby, Finland, to tow logs for Simpson Lumber Company, the founder of North Bend.

In 1936, Don’s father, Herb Laskey, who owned a logging company was killed in a logging accident. Don was without a father at age 3.

Don went to school at Kentuck Inlet Country School, from first grade–eighth grade. He attended North Bend High School and graduated in the class of 1951. He walked several miles to school in North Bend every day. He often hitched a ride home from school on a Coos County dump truck, which was driven by Sam Main.

Don participated in track and football for North Bend briefly, before he was required to quit sports and work for his family in the logging industry. Don was always proud that he “knew what it is to be poor” and managed to improve his lot in life through hard work.

In 1953, Don was drafted into the US Army, and served during the Korean War, stationed in Berlin, Germany until 1955.

In 1955, Don went to work for Coos Bay Supply Company. He started there sweeping floors, unloading boxcars of railroad spikes by hand, and worked his way up to a field salesman, selling logging rigging.

In 1957, Don met his future wife, Jo (Shepherd) Laskey, in Reedsport, when he found her stuck in the mud alongside the road in her dad’s jeep, and pulled her out. They were married 58 years.

In 1959, Don went into the construction business with his lifelong business partner, Dennis Clifton. Laskey-Clifton Corporation, which remains today, is now operated by second and third generation Laskeys. Don was very proud of his company and the projects that they constructed. He and Dennis provided employment for local families for many years.

Don enjoyed a semi-retirement, and loved fishing, especially at Wickiup Reservoir in central Oregon. There, he caught one of the largest German Brown trout on record in Oregon. He also enjoyed meeting new people and talking to them about their lives. Don did not know a stranger. He will be remembered for his funny laugh, which some say sounded like an old engine trying to start.

Don passed away from complications related to pneumonia, with his family by his side, at River Bend Hospital, in Springfield, Oregon on January 15, 2016. Don is survived by his wife, Jo; his only son, Don; his daughter in law, Patty; his granddaughter, Megan; and his grandson, Don (Clay). The life lessons Don taught will ensure that his memory lives on, through his family.

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