Don Eugene Van Meter was born on March 19, 1930 in San Diego, and passed away from natural causes at home on May 23, 2018.
Don grew up in Temple City and met his wife of 69-plus years, Doris, at a dance class at the age of 13. They fell in love and married on June 20, 1948 and started their new life together on Don’s family ranch in the Oak Grove area of Mariposa. They lived there and worked the ranch for the next nine years.
During that time they were blessed with two boys, Ron in January 1953 and Gary in December 1955. While living on the ranch, Don and Doris started a business, Mariposa Hay Market, which they operated for 20 plus years. Don, Doris and the boys moved off the ranch and into the town of Mariposa in 1957 so Don could be closer to their business.
The store evolved over the years but never lost its core founding base of being a feed and hay supply store for the residents of Mariposa. Don also started doing light construction work and even built a cement plant to provide another source for Ready Mix cement in Mariposa. As the local business environment changed, so did Don. He then started a western wear clothing store and leather shop. With the ever changing business environments, Don and Doris sold the store in the early 70s.
With a new found freedom, they had the time to travel the U.S. and do their favorite trip riding the riverboat Delta Queen on the Mississippi River. Don then opened “Don Van Meter’s Shop” in the garage at their home. He taught himself to sew and do shoe repairs so he could provide a custom upholstery and cobbler shop for the Mariposa community. During this time, Don got into real estate development and rental properties. Don had an eye for finding a run-down property and seeing the potential in it. He would buy these properties and fix them up and turn them into rentals. He did this so much that he became a source for knowing if there was a rental house available.
One other passion Don had was to buy old equipment, like tractors, trucks and cars. He would fix them up and resell them. This passion continued until the day he died.
His last major business adventure was the development of PD Quick Car Wash and Laundry Mat. Don and Doris built this business from the ground up and ran it for close to 20 years. He sold the business in 2006 but kept his finger in the rental properties partnered with his son Gary until he died.
Don humbly and quietly helped those he felt deserved it. He believed in a win-win; not a hand out, but always a hand up.
Don was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Doris (2018) and his son, Ron Van Meter (1980).
Don leaves behind a son, Gary (Ginger) Van Meter; four grandchildren, Kim ( John) Sheets, Kristen (Scott) Faulkner, Jacob Van Meter and Kelsey Van Meter; six great-grandchildren; plus step grandkids Cari (Dan) Cassady, and Scott ( Jill) Messer; and six more great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson.
There will be memorial service at 10:30 a.m. to honor both Don and Doris on Saturday, July 28, 2018 starting at the Masonic Cemetery in Mariposa followed by a catered gathering at Building A at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or any charity of your choice.