Don K. Wilkinson, 71, of Payette Idaho took leave of this world on March 31, 2021 at his home amid family and friends following a lengthy battle with cancer. Having semi-retired, he had settled in western Idaho in 2007. Over the years, miles and challenges, the “big guy” stockpiled many long-term friends and associates while journeying his way home.
Born to Don Keith and Pauline Wilkinson (Brown) in April of 1949 in Hanford, California, Don grew up on a diversified farm while attending local elementary and high schools. Following graduation from Hanford High School, he obtained a degree in General Agriculture/Biology from Fresno State University in 1971 and a Lifetime Teaching Credential through U.C. Davis. Don taught high school Agriculture and Technology in California, Oregon and Idaho.
Following his marriage to his wife Virginia in 1978, they relocated to western Oregon where together for 30 years they pursued a passion for mentoring and consulting in Sustainable Agriculture. Don served as an Oregon State University Extension Agent in Douglas County and was involved with various boards, producer groups, workshops and field days. Innumerable visitors shared in their sheep and cattle operations and Farm Stay experience.
As a recognized pioneer in forage production and grazing management through research and hands-on experience, Don’s credibility and enthusiasm for linking soil, forage and animal health to viable farming practices were generously shared over the years. A contributor to a number of publications and featured for his innovative practices, Don relished researching and referencing historical farming practices as nature’s resource handbook. Don loved hunting, shop projects, road trips and cruising thrift stores for old Ag books. He was a consummate stockman and Grass Farmer and was never more in his element than when investigating fields or pastures with colleagues, students and friends.
Surviving are his wife and partner Virginia of Payette, ID, children Kerry Frye (Rob) of Fruitland, ID, Denise Wilkinson of Springfield, OR, Kelly Haines of Hanford CA, Chris Ribeiro of Tulare, CA, Grandchildren Chase Waddell and Luci Stevens; Sister Carol Spoelstra/Pepper of Santa Maria, CA, nephews Gary Spoelstra, Stephen Miller, niece Stephanie Miller
Arrangements entrusted to Bowman Funeral Parlor, Garden City, Idaho. A celebration of his life, party-style as was his wish, will be held at 4:00PM on Saturday May 15th at Creekside Ranch, 7701 Elmore Road in Fruitland, Idaho.