Don Rottle passed away peacefully with his family by his side, three days before his 90th birthday. Don was born in Montesano, Washington to A. J. and Rose Rottle. His family moved to Auburn in 1939, where his father established Rottle's Clothing and Shoes. After graduating from Auburn High School, Don attended the University of Washington and then enlisted in the Army Air Force to serve during World War II. During that time he married the love of his life, Carole L. Wright. The couple returned to Auburn in 1945 to join Don's father in the store, and began their family with daughter Pam, followed by Nancy and twins Jim and John. Don took over and built the business from the early 1950s on, later joined by his sons, retiring in 1995. Rottle's closed earlier this year, after serving the local community for 75 years.
Don was a member of Kiwanis and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, a co-founder of Auburn Valley Bank, and supporter of numerous community initiatives. He was a proud member of the King Solomon Masonic Lodge, serving as its youngest Grand Master at the age of 29. A friend to many, he was honored as the Chamber of Commerce Retailer of the Year and was named Auburn's 2009 "Pioneer Spirit."
Don enjoyed many pastimes, including boating, skiing, fishing and tennis. Don and Carole greatly appreciated the Pacific Northwest waters and mountains, and they traveled the world with family and friends. Most of all Don loved flying, earning his license at the age of 17 and piloting his private plane for many decades. He also built and flew small-scaled radio controlled model airplanes, a hobby also begun as a teenager. His love of music inspired him to learn to play the piano in his later years, strongly influencing his children and grandchildren.
Nothing was more important to Don than his family. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife Carole, with whom he was married for 64 years, and his sisters Pauline Malaspino and Diane Tamer. He is survived by his children Pam (Mike) Epeneter, Nancy Rottle (Paul Olson), John Rottle, and Jim Rottle (Tanya Rottle); brother George Rottle (Jeani Rottle); and grandchildren Jason Epeneter, Chad Epeneter, Haley Harrigan-Rottle, Jamie Rottle, Jodie Rottle, Anneka Olson and McKenna Rottle; five great-grandchildren, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to the caring staff at Wiser Care during Don's final days.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to establish an aviation scholarship in Green River College's Aviation Program (Rottle Aviation Scholarship, Green River College Foundation, 12401 SE 320th St. Auburn 98092, www.greenrivercollegefoundation.org/donate/DonRottleAviationScholarship) or to your favorite charity.
A celebration of Don's life will be held Sunday, Jan. 3, from 3-6 pm at the Auburn Golf Course, with sharing of memories at 4pm.