Donald Ernest Coombes, 82, of Haines died Jan. 11, 2007, at his home.
A celebration of Donald’s life will take place Saturday, Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Haines United Methodist Church. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception to be held immediately after the service at the church.
Donald was born July 18, 1924, in Spokane, Wash., to Oscar and Maude Coombes. Early in Donald’s life, the family moved to Baker County where Donald started school in Sparta and later attended schools in Eagle Valley, Virtue Flat and South Baker.
At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy. During World War II he served primarily in the Aleutian Islands chain in Alaska and in the South Pacific. He was given the nickname “Adack” after one of the islands he served on.
Donald led a very interesting life and was a jack-of-all-trades. Some of his varied and interesting occupations were: tool and diemaker, professional minerals prospector in Mexico and South America as well as the United States. He managed mining operations in both Mexico and the United States. Donald also taught mineral prospecting for the Eastern Oregon Extension Service in Baker City. His broad interests and abilities even led him to bake cakes professionally for a time.
Donald was also an inventor and writer. He invented and patented a new windmill design and wrote and published his novel, “The Denman Expedition,” and he wrote poetry extensively.
Although he stopped wearing it in the last couple of years, most people who knew Donald cannot think of him without remembering him in his “trademark” white hardhat.
The activity he enjoyed most in his later years was his work with the young children in South Baker and Haines Schools who needed help improving their reading skills. The children loved Donald and he loved them.
Donald is survived by his three children: sons, William Coombes of Beaverton, and Joel Coombes of Gresham, and his daughter, Anna Ivers of Woodland, Wash.; his sister, Jabudah Grossmiller of Hermiston; four brothers: Ben Coombes of Stanfield, Jasper Coombes of Richland, George Coombes of Seligman, Mo., and Edward Coombes of Winchester, Idaho; grandchildren, Everett, Kaden and Skyler; a great-granddaughter, Kali; and numerous nieces, nephews and a host of friends.
Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Maude Coombes, and by a sister, Erma Gray.
Donations in Donald’s memory may be made to the Baker Literacy Coalition, Haines United Methodist Church or the Eastern Oregon Mining Association, in care of Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home P.O. Box 543 Halfway, OR 97834.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, January 19, 2007
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor