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Memories & Candles

“Kathy, Such a nice service. Your daughter was great. Gary, Mary, and especially Betty's hairdresser gave nice talks. Gary Larson and siblings ”
1 of 8 | Posted by: Gary Larson - Fargo, ND - Friend

“Kathy, Brad and Morgan, You have my heart felt condolences. I wish I were able to be there, Mary will explain. Now the "gang" is all there! It...Read More »
2 of 8 | Posted by: Rich Fisher

“Where do I even begin? I lost my father when he was only 57, so being with Don for the last 4 1/2 years, gave me the chance to see what it would...Read More »
3 of 8 | Posted by: Emily Gonzalez - Fargo, ND

“I had the pleasure of knowing and working with Don on many military band performance visits to the FM area and his providing support and advertising...Read More »
4 of 8 | Posted by: E John & Brenda Carlson - Fargo, ND

“To Quote Don: To the inapplicable, in us and above us! A kind gifted man, a true gentleman! ”
5 of 8 | Posted by: joel hegerle - Fargo, ND

“I never liked the name Candace until my dad Don Witham, started calling me that. I never even knew he was my dad until my adult life. At the end of...Read More »
6 of 8 | Posted by: Candace (Candy) Hall - Fort Myers, FL

“I worked for many years at the Midweek/Davon Press that Don owned, he was an awesome boss. Easy to talk to and always upbeat. I saw him in later...Read More »
7 of 8 | Posted by: kathy legvold - former employee

“I always loved it when Don came in everyday to see us and he wore his bright red hat. I always made a remark about how pretty it was and he always...Read More »
8 of 8 | Posted by: Collette Vetsch - West Fargo, ND

Don Witham, 95, West Fargo, ND, died on Sunday, May 10, 2015, at Essentia Health, Fargo, ND.

Donovan Clair Witham was born September 20, 1919, in South Dakota. He grew up on the family farm near Britton, SD, never forgetting in his lifetime the core fundamental of hard work developed in those years of surviving the hardships of farming with his father in "the dirty thirties." He graduated from the local consolidated high school at Amherst, fully enjoying participation in sports, band, and drama. He attended a semester of college, but left to follow a greater interest of his, a career in vocal music, and chose McPhail School of Music in Minneapolis for instruction, living with, at their invitation, family friends. While there for that year and a half, he supplemented income by working in the catalog department of Montgomery Ward.

It was 1941 and war was threatening. Government letters were being received by young American men requiring their involvement in the protection of their country. Don didn't wait for his letter, but signed up at a navy recruiting office and began navy life in the fall of '41 at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station outside Chicago, IL. It was while there that all learned that Pearl Harbor had been bombed, and had to ask the location of Pearl Harbor. A crash course in gunnery training immediately followed. A young lieutenant asked Don to go with him aboard a ship in the Atlantic. Don agreed, and the two became fast friends for the rest of their lives.

Don's wartime experiences were mostly on Liberty ships, special cargo ships built for transporting supplies for the war effort. A German torpedo struck Don's ship. Life rafts saved lives while they watched their ship disappear, Don and Frank Miner on one of them. Don's navy years were spent in various areas of the war, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Mediterranean Sea.

The next twenty years were spent in an activity Don was enthusiastic about, and obtained for him by Miner. He went into communities where volunteers sold people pre-subscribed season tickets to concerts to be given in their cities. Don was acquainted with the classic artists whose concerts he sold.

Don married Beatrice Meissner (Betty) in 1950 in Barnesville, MN, and she joined Don in the enthusiasm of the concert business. A baby entered their lives. Kathleen Ann Witham joined her parents for some years of their travel. Then it was time to settle down to a home life. Don and Betty worked for about a year for a newspaper in Windom, MN, Don in sales and Betty in graphic layout. From those origins they decided to begin a newspaper business of their own, and landed in West Fargo, ND. It developed with persistent hard work from a one room venture into the West Fargo Pioneer weekly subscriber-paid newspaper, the Midweek shopper, and Davon Press, a nine-unit press using three-quarters of a semi-load of newsprint every week, all successful areas of their endeavors. Their concentration was focused on drawing the city of West Fargo citizens together by apprising them of all the wonderful activity and opportunities of the area. Don was known by all as a very kind-hearted, caring individual ready to help wherever he could.

He is survived by Brad, Kathleen and Morgan Brinkman, of Glyndon, MN and daughter Candace Hall, of Ft. Meyers, Fl.. He was preceded in death by his wife and siblings.
Visitation: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 from 5 to 7 PM at West Funeral Home, West Fargo, ND.

Funeral: Thursday at 2 PM at Touchmark at Harwood Groves Chapel, Fargo.

Burial: Rosemound Cemetery, Barnesville, MN.

West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center

Funeral Home
West Funeral Homes
226 4th Ave W West Fargo, ND 58078
Tel. (701) 282-6699