Donald John Soltero
May 5, 1946 – May 19, 2018
On May 19th, 2018, another angel got his wings. Dr. Donald "Don" John Soltero, age 72, passed away surrounded by his three daughters in Issaquah, WA. Don is preceded in death by his wife of 42 years, Sharlene (Cearlock) Soltero; and his father, Donald E. Soltero. He is survived by his three daughters, Tara Cook, Kristin Soltero and Molly Fossum; 3 grandchildren, Caden, Ashlyn and Baylee Cook; his mother, Mary A. (Steigerwald) Soltero; siblings, Dr. Michael J. Soltero, John R. Soltero, Sally A. Gore, Julie A. Linker, Kathleen M. Soltero and numerous nieces and nephews along with other loving family and friends.
He was born on May 5, 1946, in Milwaukee, WI, the son of Donald Emanuel Soltero and Mary Anne Soltero. Don lived in Wauwatosa, WI with his mother and grandparents while his dad was in the Navy as a doctor. During his childhood, his family moved to Rochester, MN. Then, when Don was 5, his family moved to Seattle, WA where his father became a very accomplished anesthesiologist. They lived in Laurelhurst where Don started kindergarten at Sacred Heart Villa. He and his siblings then attended grade school at Assumption Catholic School where he began playing baseball, grew an interest in airplane motors and participated in Cub Scouts. His mom recalls he would often jump off the school bus and run behind a bush to jump out and surprise her. He had a great sense of humor and loved making people laugh. The playfulness he displayed as a child was often seen later in life as he raised his three girls and three grandchildren. Don took time to play with and look out for his 5 younger siblings. That caretaker mentality continued as he looked out for others in all stages of his life. The kindness and love that he shared touched the lives of those he met.
Don was known for saying “Howdy” as he greeted callers on the phone and upon entering a room. His use of “Howdy” came from his favorite TV show “Howdy Doody.” He also enjoyed “Hop Along Cassidy” in his youth and expanded his interest with reruns of the “The Andy Griffith Show,” “My Three Sons,” “The Lone Ranger” and “Columbo” later in his life.
When Don’s family moved to Mercer Island in 1959, Don and his younger brother Michael were the first Alter Boys at St. Monica’s Catholic Church. This was the start of his love for the Catholic faith and the Lord as Don walked a path of service he embraced through his last breath.
Don graduated from Seattle Prep High School and went on to graduate from Seattle University with a BS in Natural Science. His initial interest was in aeronautical engineering but after two years in school, he decided to pick a profession in healthcare. He pursued dentistry and in 1972 completed his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. In 1977 he earned a Master's Degree in Science in Dentistry and a Certificate of Oral Medicine also from the University of Washington. The University liked him so much that they hired him as a teacher and he taught there for 18 years.
His professional career may have started in education but his responsibilities expanded as he began to practice dentistry at Providence Hospital and then extended to owning his own dental practice until his retirement in 2016.
Don had a passion for loving animals and was known for sneaking his own dogs a cookie from time to time. He loved the outdoors; hiking in the mountains, camping, rock hunting, mining, snowskiing, waterskiing, snowmobiling and golf. Golf really became his passion later in life.
1974 was Don’s lucky year. He met Sharlene as a TMJ patient. She caught his interest and surprised him with her homemade cookies. He didn’t know if it was the sweet sugar he couldn’t live without or the fact that she surprised him when he discovered she swallowed fire as an act in the Circus. Together they enjoyed the outdoors and often went hiking and skiing. Don played the guitar and sang with his brothers which “Shar” embraced. They were married on August 30, 1975 at St. Monica’s Church on Mercer Island, WA.
In June of 1976, Don and Sharlene moved into their first home in Bellevue, WA where they were blessed with three beautiful daughters Tara, Kristin and Molly. Don loved being a father and it was visible in the way he proudly introduced his daughters to his friends. They resided in Bellevue until 1989 when they built their forever home in Issaquah, WA. This home lasted their lifetime and will forever hold the memories shared there.
Don was a funny guy. He often cracked jokes and enjoyed making people laugh. He loved family and he loved traditions. He created and carried on phrases, words of wisdom and moments that were special to him and those to whom he shared them with.
From siblings to daughters to grandchildren, he played “chocolate ears,” “fee-fi-fo-fum” and “bread on the fridge” games. He would wake his girls up in the morning by shaking them in their beds while loudly singing the “Good Morning” song. His daughters remember visiting him at work for their teeth cleanings and how he would often “accidentally” spray them with water. There were years of riding the bus to the Husky football games, dancing around the house to music, waking up to the smell of coffee and hearing the heater come on as Don would start to read the newspaper. He strummed on his guitar and would personalize the song “She’ll Be Coming around the Mountain” as his girls and later on, grandchildren would dance, sing and play along. He taught his first grandchild to flap his arms when excited and sure enough, 14 years later, that grandson is still flappin’ away!
He was known for his warm fires in the fireplace, coin and stamp collecting, and his supreme confidence in beating anyone in a race! His pockets were often filled with treats that he would shake around and make noise to entice and encourage anyone nearby to come discover what he had hidden. The sound of his voice as he sang “You are my Sunshine” and often said, “I love you Angel” will forever be remembered by his daughters. He found joy in making memories and in making others smile. Don was ever a “host.” He loved to invite family and friends over for Husky and Seahawk football games. He would greet them at the door and within seconds, make sure they had a drink in their hand. His go-to meals were salmon and steak and his grandchildren always looked forward to Papa’s breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and smokies. He picked up baking over the years and started with crème brulee then moved on to homemade lemon bars and cinnamon rolls for Easter. His biggest concern was always for the comfort and happiness of those around him.
Don loved being home and home is where is heart was. He wasn’t much of a traveler. Instead, he found more joy tending to his garden at home and growing and creating hybrids of Rhododendrons. His home in Sammamish is surrounded by the flourishing flowers he planted with many of them named after family. Don was always searching for seeds in life. He would plant them and watch them grow with light, love and service. His tenderness and dedication to planting reflected his love for those around him and the desire in his heart to share the Gospel with everyone he met.
Don’s faith in God carried him throughout his life. When obstacles came his way, he lifted his eyes to the Lord and knelt in prayer. He was forever grateful for his blessings and not once did he complain of hardship. He taught his daughters to love everyone, especially their enemies, and to treat others as if they were their own child. He reminded them that everyone is a child of God and only LOVE matters. His love was so deep he was often volunteering for Mary Queen of Peace in Sammamish, Wa. He was a Eucharistic minister and supported the parish in anyway he could and that was his greatest love knowing that he served God. Don also planted many of his beloved Rhododendron bushes throughout the parish grounds and helped build a grotto where people could pray and experience beauty and peace. From a life of service on this earth to a light for those in Heaven, Don had nothing but love in his heart. He freely loved, freely sacrificed and dedicated his life to God. He was a loving wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle and grandfather. He now enjoys eternal life in paradise with the Lord. He will be dearly missed, always loved and forever in the hearts of his friends and family. His earthly presence is greatly missed, but “in his presence is fullness of joy” and that knowledge will comfort all who love him until they are reunited one day in Heaven. His life is a reminder to all to dance, to love, to serve, to trust, to live and to have faith.
- Rosary Service Friday, June 8, 2018
- Memorial Mass Saturday, June 9, 2018
Donald John Soltero
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June 6, 2018
Enjoyed many years of excellent care as well as "chair-side" manner. As an amateur musician, I enjoyed frequent discussions of "Boogie-Woogie". Started missing Dr. Donald the day he retired. Dan (& Judy) Witmer
June 5, 2018
Don was a valued and trusted colleague as well as a wonderful man. We shared many coffees and lunches at the University of Washington and in Bellevue. He will be missed and may his memory be a blessing. Wendy and Michael Spektor
June 5, 2018
Don was my classmate and we sat side by side for two years in the dental school lab. He was always smilin’ always laughin’ and convinced me to drive with him down to San Francisco before the start of our Junior year. Crazy trip for two naive Seattle kids going into the heart of flower power in 1970. We made it back to Seattle with about 35 cents left between us , good enough for 1.5 gallons of gas for Dons old VW. He was always available for a phone consultation during our years of practice, and always a short reminiscence of our dental school days. God Speed Don.
Mark Siks DDS
June 4, 2018
I will always remember Don for his unwavering commitment to his life's priorities: Faith, Family, and Friends. He was an amazing gentleman who shared his calm demeanor with whom anyone he met. He was an inspiration on the golf course and was forever upbeat and positive. We will truly miss his smiling face and warm heart at the Aldarra Golf Club. May he rest in peace with the Lord.
June 3, 2018
Dr. Donald Soltero was our dentist, starting in the 1980’s in downtown Seattle. We followed him to Bellevue, until his retirement.
Don was a great, conservative practitioner, not one for hasty actions and his philosophy of “keeping an eye on things.”
He was always friendly and engaged with his patients. I first knew Don from Seattle Prep, always so smart and carrying his briefcase. He was a true gentleman!
Don you will be missed,
Jim & Mary Ann Magnano