July 7, 1931 – April 15, 2014
From the very beginning, Don Frodsham was a man of faith. Born to Kenneth and Ella Frodsham on July 7, 1931 in Tacoma, Washington, Don was the 10th of 16 children. The Frodshams were a strong Catholic family and regularly attended Mass together, with Don participating in worship as an altar boy. A deep commitment to faith and service remained a key tenant throughout Don’s life.
Don began school in Waverly, Washington, attending the same school as his father. Don had fond memories working with his father in the fields with a horse and plow. Years later, the Frodsham family moved to Bremerton where Don attended junior high and high school.
This is where the family lost their father, leaving Ella and the children to work odd jobs, split up chores, and grow their own vegetables in order to support the family. Although Don was the 6th boy born, he was the oldest male in the household at the age of 12 when his father passed away. By then, his older brothers had gone into the service in support of World War II. The responsibility of being the oldest male in the household at such a young age had a significant influence on how Don would carry out his family responsibilities later in life.
During his school years in Bremerton, Don played the baritone horn in the junior high and high school bands. While a junior in high school, he was even able to play in the Rose Bowl parade. In addition to playing an instrument, Don loved to sing. His whole family was musically-inclined and they frequently sang together – a tradition that Don would later instill in his own children.
Prior to completing high school, his family moved to Spokane where Don worked as a busboy to help support his family. However, the pay was not enough for the family's needs, leading Don to depart school so he could join the United States Air Force. He served in the Air Force for 3 years as a Military Policeman in San Antonio, Texas.
Upon discharge he spent 3 months in Alaska, and then returned to his family in Spokane. It was there where he met the love of his life, Betty Elmore. He discovered her waitressing in the local Triple X restaurant and after relentless prodding she agreed to go on a date. It was love at first sight for Don and soon after Betty. They met in the summer of 1953 and were married by January of 1954.
Don and Betty shared a busy life. While Don worked full time and attended school, Betty delivered and raised 5 children. Don completed his high school diploma at Edison Tech in the midst of working for Kenworth. He then went on to finish 2 years at the University of Washington. Don began his Boeing career in the late 1950's, which provided a tremendous boost to the family finances as he and Betty were blessed with twins.
During this time, Don's civic calling came to fruition. He collaborated with other concerned parents to create "Citizens for Wedgwood, Inc.", a group chartered to make kindergarten available to the children of Wedgwood. Don resided as president of the group which was successful in their mission. In addition to local civics, Don also turned his eye towards national politics. Don and Betty strongly supported John F. Kennedy’s campaign. In fact, Don was elected as a district delegate for the Democratic Party, which earned him and Betty a trip to the Democratic State Convention.
The family lived in the Portland area for about 3 years, as Don had another career opportunity with Tectonics. But the passion he had for Boeing and his family roots in Washington called Don, Betty, and kids back to the Seattle area. The family relocated to Renton, Washington, which would become Don and Betty's home for the next 50 years.
Don continued to pursue his passions in his faith, family, career, and civic duties for the rest of his life in Renton. Starting with his faith, he and his family joined the St. Matthew's congregation in 1964. Here, he served the Lord and the congregation in many different roles, including president, treasurer, choir member, several committees, and participating in countless activities.
His growing family was always a priority for Don. First and foremost, he was a role model for his children and their friends, guiding with a strong but loving hand. He was very active with his children and their activities in scouting, sports, music and scholastics. He also supported his community as a parent volunteer and served as PTA president. Despite his many commitments, Don always made time for family outings, hiking, vacations, and other adventures.
His career at Boeing was spent in the area of Computing and Systems Design. Don was active with industry groups in Systems Management, which was an emerging field at the time. He was involved in implementing computing systems that supported both the commercial and military organizations within Boeing. He enjoyed his work and the people he worked with. Proudly reflecting on the projects he worked on, he retired from Boeing in 1992 with over 30 years of service.
Once retired, life did not slow down. It gave Don more time to support his immediate and extended family as well as his other passions. He thoroughly enjoyed being a grandfather and once again acting as a role model to a new generation of young people. Don also found time to do a bit of traveling with his wife Betty, exploring the United States as well as embarking on a trip to Frodsham, England where he learned more about his heritage.
Throughout his 82 years, Don happily supported his family and friends, whether they sought spiritual, emotional, or financial assistance. Everyone knew they could count on Don for comfort, counsel, and love.
- Inurnment & Commital Service Friday, April 25, 2014
- Celebration of Life Friday, April 25, 2014
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May 10, 2014
Dear Betty and Family,
I was deeply sorry to hear of Don's death. Don was my boss when I worked at Boeing Renton (1964 - 1969). We remained friends for years after that until we lost touch. He was my mentor and my friend. Don was a master at negotiating and getting along. To this day, I think of him often and how he showed me how to really work with people.
April 27, 2014
Dear Betty and Family,
Knowing Don was a real pleasure, always smiling and always eager to help. Don was a man of deep faith who never gave up on anyone. He picked the perfect person, Betty, to spend his life with. Don's Memorial was a beautiful tribute to his life.
Wendell and Cleo Forgaard, (Renton, Wa.)
Karen & Donnie Lafleche
April 26, 2014
Aunt Betty, Rick, Deb, Dena, Tom & Tim and families,
Although we can't physically be with you during this time of great loss, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you from afar.
April 25, 2014
Thinking of you, Betty. Bobby and I only met Don two or three times, but it was apparent that he was a very special person - you too! I know your family will be a great comfort to you, and you to them.
April 25, 2014
Aunt Betty and family, I am very sorry for your loss. I enjoyed the time spent together on your visits out here. Uncle Don will be missed and is in our thoughts on the east coast. Lots of love, Snow Girl
April 24, 2014
Dear Aunt Betty, Rick, Tom, Tim, Deb, Dena and families, I'm so sorry for the loss of Uncle Don, your dear husband and father/grandfather. Uncle Don was the Patriarch of a very special family, and how could it be otherwise? He and my lovely Aunt Betty were "at the helm". He was a positive force in the world, and left behind a wonderful Legacy in each of you. He will be forever loved and missed.
April 19, 2014
Tom, Deb, and family,
I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father, Don. From viewing the photo album, reading his obituary, and from knowing you two, I can see what an amazing father you had. I see the twinkle in his eye and the warmth of his smile that tells me he enjoyed life to the fullest. I know he will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
You are in our prayers and thoughts - blessings on you,