Donald Richard Crouse, of Walterville, passed away on Dec. 22, 2017, after a battle with cancer. He handled it in typical Don-style, strong to the end. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
Don is survived by his wife, Darlene Crouse of Walterville; his children, Shawn Crouse of Brookings, Gina Scott of Keizer, Teresa Bosch of Creswell, Laurie Flood of Round Mountain, California, and Jeffery Fox of Springfield; his eleven grandchildren Devin, Teya, Dustin, Samantha, Coleman, Sawyer, Jarid, Jessee, Jatelyn, Ryan and Reanna; and his sisters Lorna Wilkes of Fallon, Nevada, Linda Cupps of Sherwood and Fern Dugas of Mesa.
He is preceded in death by his parents Albert and Jennie Crouse of Brookings.
Donald was born on Feb. 4, 1952, in Sandpoint, Idaho to Albert Crouse. It was there that he grew up surrounded by a family who never let life’s curveballs stand in their way. Albert and Jennie gave their children the freedom to explore and enjoy life in the country.
Donnie and his sisters enjoyed camping with their parents, participating in rodeos and family trips to places like Glacier Park and Yellowstone. As a result of spending his childhood outdoors, Don knew from an early age that he would have a career that would revolve around trucks and long hauls. No classroom or office could contain him.
Don “Mudbird” Crouse started his 45-year trucking career at the age of 18, hauling hay in the Tri-cities area of Washington. It was there that he started a family with Judy Crouse and became a father to two beautiful girls who stole his heart. They took their family to Hermiston where they welcomed their son.
Soon after, they picked up stakes and settled in Brookings for the next 22 years of his life. He enjoyed working for Gene Woods, Keith Smith, the city of Brookings and South Coast Lumber Company. He drove log trucks, chip trucks, lumber trucks and even worked as a mechanic when the logging industry slowed down.
It was in Brookings that he made lifelong friendships that made his storytelling come to life. His children often got to hear the tales of Bushy, Heavy Duty and Peanut Butter. His children have fond memories of hunting, fishing and camping with their dad. He was a teacher like no other. He became a grandfather at the age of 36, so the legacy lives on.
In 1997, Don moved to Walterville where he started the next chapter of his life. He met his wife Darlene there and they made a life together for the next 20 years. It was there that he also gained two more children, five more grandchildren and a multitude of friends to tell his colorful stories to, and gained some new tales to add to his collection. There he drove a truck for True Value until he retired in 2015. Don and Darlene started their retirement together enjoying what they loved most, the outdoors.
They became campground hosts at Blue River Reservoir, this summer being Don’s last.
When you ask people to describe the man Don was, you will get a variety of opinions. Those who knew him best will tell you he had a rough exterior and bravado but his heart was pure. He would do anything for anybody, even willing to give the shirt off his back. He was a self-appointed protector and guardian to those he loved. If you needed work done on your rig or you had an ache in your back, he was your go-to man.
Don, Donnie, Dad, Grandpa, Pappy, Mudbird … you are loved, and we miss you.
A celebration of life will be scheduled for family and close friends. Condolences can be sent to 17183 Parkview Drive, Brookings, OR 97415.
Submitted by the family.