Winter Park loses a beloved ‘grumpy old man’
Donald J. Waldron of Winter Park, Colo., passed away July 13, 2010, at his home.
Don was born on October 25, 1932, in West Union, Iowa, to George and Dorothy Waldron. He spent most of his childhood years in Sioux City, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb. During High School he moved back to West Union and played basketball and baseball receiving full scholarships in both to the University of Iowa. The basketball coach and Don were not working well together so he decided to focus on playing baseball.
During the summer months of college Don played for a Semi-Pro Baseball Team in Mason City, Iowa called the Legionnaires. While playing for the Legionnaires, Don and his teammates would go to Witkes Cafe where his future wife Janice worked as a waitress and complained about the team being horrible tippers.
Don and Jan continued to say in contact while attending the University of Iowa and eventually were married on Dec. 28, 1954, in Ventura, Iowa. During his senior year of college Don was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, “but” as he says “Uncle Sam had other plans for me in the United States Air Force.”
He graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing, was sent to Texas to begin training for the Air Force and his first son Scott was born.
In 1957, the Air Force asked Don to travel to Laon, France to be a navigator pilot with the Black Birds and play baseball for the Laon Rangers. During his tour in Laon three more sons were born: Craig, Todd and Brian, and the Laon Rangers won the 1958 European Baseball Championships.
After the Laon Air Force Base was shut down in 1960, the family moved back to Clear Lake, Iowa where Don worked at the Mason City Hatchery owned by Jan’s parents. They began to travel out to Colorado to ski and decided it would be a good place to establish the Don Waldron family roots.
The Waldrons were in the market to buy a ski lodge and heard the Timber House Ski Lodge in Winter Park was for sale. After skiing one day they skied down the Billy Woods Trail to the Timber House and tried to negotiate a sale with Paul and Elsa Timmerhaus. The Timmerhauses told Don and Jan that they were going to Germany for a few months and would give them an answer when they got home.
One afternoon, while in Iowa, the Timmerhauses knocked on their door and asked Don and Jan if they would still like to purchase the lodge. “Of course” they said and moved to Winter Park 10 days later. For 35 years the Waldrons fulfilled their dreams of operating a successful, family-style ski lodge. In 2003, the town recognized the Waldrons’ hard work and named the drive to the lodge Timber House Road.
They retired leaving the Timber House in the Waldron family.
While in Winter Park Don served as a board member for the Winter Park Water and Sanitation District and helped start the Winter Park Information Bureau. He was an avid golfer at Pole Creek and Grand Lake, enjoyed skiing at Winter Park Resort and playing tennis on annual trips to Hawaii. He loved teaching and watching his children and grandchildren play sports.
In 2000, Don was placed on the Fayette County, Iowa “All Century Team.” He was named one of the 100 best athletes from 1900 to 2000.
Don may have been known throughout Grand County as a grumpy old man, always giving his opinion and telling you how it was. Those who know him best knew he was a softy at heart.
Don is deeply missed by his wife of 55 years, Janice of Winter Park, Colo.; sons Scott (Dorinda), Todd (Sherri) and Brian (Rita); and grandchildren Carrie, Sarah, Anthony (Danielle), Kevin, Jessica, Janice and Dane.
He is preceded in death by son Craig and brother Richard.
The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support during this hard time. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Heart of the Mountains Hospice, P.O. Box 130, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO 80451 or call 970-725-3378.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m.. on Saturday, August 14, 2010, at the Church of Eternal Hills in Tabernash.
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