American Patriotic 10

Donald Torguson

May 30, 1934 ~ April 11, 2020 (age 85)



Donald Lee Torguson from North Bend, Washington, 85, passed away Saturday, April 11, 2020.  Don was born May 30, 1934 to Martin and Edna (Judkins) Torguson in Minden, Nebraska. He graduated from Mount Si High School in 1953. He excelled in athletics and was a multiple State Champion in Track and single handedly defeated Issaquah High School Track team in all Track events. In his freshman year at Central University, the track team went to state. When the senior one miler was not able to compete, Don ran in his place. Although Don’s specialty was hurdles, he won third place at the State Championship in the one mile; impressive given that he did not even train for the event.

Don was very patriotic. He joined and trained with the Navy when he was in high school in 1952.  He attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA in 1953-54.

After one year at Central, he joined the United States Marine Corp, and served in the most top-secret Marine detachment and on the most top-secret ship in the Navy, USS Curtiss (AV-4). The Atomic Energy Commission took control of the ship in 1945.

As a member of the Curtiss Atomic Marines (A-Team), Don received the highest levels of security clearance; Top Secret and Q Clearance, the latter sometimes referred to as Queens Clearance meaning he could guard the President of the U.S.A, if needed.  There were several  major nuclear Operations including Operation Wigwam. The Atomic Energy Commission and Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer were testing and learning how powerful H-bombs were and blew up selected Marshall Islands. Since they were sworn to secrecy (failure to comply resulting in a long visit in Leavenworth!)   Don didn’t talk about his military experiences until the 2000’s when the Operations were declassified, and he attended USS Curtiss reunions.

Don met his beautiful bride and wife of almost 25 years, Betty Charlotte Paulson while stationed in San Diego where they were engaged and later married in North Bend, Washington in 1958.

In 1962, being an athlete, Don became a San Jose California Firefighter. His passion for serving others matched perfectly with his role as a Firefighter. He made a difference in people’s lives; many were touched by his courage and dedication to do whatever was necessary to rescue those who were in dangerous and perilous circumstances. Unfortunately, in 1974, he was forced to retire from the fire department early due to breaking his back when saving two women from a car accident. Don has many gifts and passions and that is what helped him recover from the loss of his love of being a Firefighter. Although he was told he would never walk again, with his 125% determination, he proved the doctors wrong.

Don found Commercial Real Estate and Appraisal-Valuation as a very intellectually stimulating industry.  He always gave his best effort studying, training, course certifications and became, in a very short time, an expert in Commercial Real Estate Appraisal earning top designations in the industry.

Apart from managing his Real Estate career, Don enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He always liked to eat out and there were many restaurants that he would frequent. He was friendly with the wait staff and everyone would smile, even if they were having a bad day, when he shared a pun with a wink and a smile. Whenever he did anything, he was all in. When Don would take on any project, he always gave 125% maximum, no-holds-barred effort.  After retiring from the Fire Department, he took up the sport of Trapshooting. In 1976, he competed in the 29th annual Del-Webb Mid-Winter Trapshoot at the Mint Gun Club. He had never run as many as 50 in a row but received a perfect score; shooting the full 200 for the win.

“While the heavyweights of trapshooting were missing, Torguson kept his cool and collected the top prize among the 645 shooters that competed in the biggest Singles event of the seven-day shoot”- Las Vegas Review Journal dated February 6, 1976.

 When he got involved in his daughter’s soccer and field hockey activities, he trained and received certificates for coaching and refereeing soccer. He was a collegiate FIFA referee for the junior colleges in the San Jose area.

Don was Suzan’s biggest fan for all her endeavors and faithfully attended all her CSU, Chico Division 1, field hockey games.  Don was loved by Suzan’s teammates as he always treated the ladies to his famous “Monster Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies” – baking over 100 cookies for the ladies, each game.

In retirement years, Don wanted to take up boating so he joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary so he could learn how to be a competent boater and of course, years later he was doing boat inspections and patrolling the Pacific Northwest waters. Always giving it 125%.

He had a motorcycle when he was in his twenties, so in his seventies, he got a Honda Goldwing Trike and joined the CMA – Christian Motorcyclist Association.  He had a passion and love in riding with others.  He rode all over Washington and Oregon with CMA and those who knew him adored him and valued his friendship.

Don loved to dance and was an enthusiastic dancer.  He joined the Elks club for Friday night dinner and swing dancing with Betty and his daughter. In his seventies he started line dancing. He was the only male in the class and if that wasn’t distinctive enough, he wore black cowboy boots, western shirt and cowboy hat. 

He also spent time volunteering to help the Urban Mission at his church, Snoqualmie Valley Alliance. Every 4th Saturday of each month Don went into Seattle to serve a warm meal and pass out needed clothing to the homeless. Don had a huge heart and compassion for those who were suffering, and this ministry fit him and his strong character perfectly.  Don was gracious to give abundantly to SVA and when the church ran out of capacity to store the clothes, he offered up storage on his property in North Bend until his passing.

Don left his footprint and legacy on many friends and family members heart’s that knew him.  His person will forever be imprinted on our souls as we acknowledge the loss of this beautiful human being.  I know Dad is with our Lord and Savior in Heaven.  I miss you Dad, but know that you have done well, good and faithful servant.  Enjoy your reward.

Don is survived by his daughter Suzan Torguson-Goldsmith and son-in-law Craig Goldsmith.  His adopted son, Darin Harrington and adopted granddaughters, Amber and Amanda Harrington. His best friend Geraldine Haugen. His stepdaughter Cindy Mikolich. His step-grandchildren Gabrielle Goldsmith-Titus (Steven), Laney Goldsmith and David Goldsmith.  His cousin Mary Ellen (Judkins) Rein as well as many cousins.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Martin, and Edna (Judkins) Torguson and the love of his life his wife, Betty Torguson.

Burial services will be held on Friday, August 21, 2020 at Los Gatos Memorial Park with military honors at 11:00 AM with Chaplain Jim Becknall .

Due to current Covid Restrictions, his Memorial Service will be held in Western Washington in April 2021.


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