Donald Gene “Donn” Walls passed peacefully November 16th, 2018. He was born April 1st, 1939 in La Grande, Oregon. His parents were Elbert and Eleanor Walls.
Donn started his education in Hermiston when the family moved here during the war. His father working on the construction of the Umatilla Ordnance Depot. Gasoline was rationed and the commute back and forth to La Grande became a hardship. Donn’s parents were forever exchanging sugar ration stamps for gasoline ration stamps in order to commute. His parents purchased 40 acres from Mr. Cooney around 1945 and built a home there that remains in the family.
Donn attended Umatilla schools and graduated from UHS in 1957, he went on to Oregon State University and graduated from there 4 years later with a bachelor’s in animal science. Donn worked for Pfizer for many years after he graduated from OSU and lived in Arizona, while living in Arizona he indulged in his love for Arabian horses, raising them and showing them.
Donn remained active with the Umatilla High School Alumni association and served as an officer and board member for many years. UHSAA is a 501 (3) s corporation whose main purpose is awarding scholarships to students desiring higher Education. Donn has repeatedly mentioned that a $50 scholarship from Union Pacific Railroad was the incentive he needed to put himself through 4 years of college.
When Donn attended OSU, he rented living space where he worked at the college greenhouse. He loved working with the beautiful plants and flowers, and he created an aviary with many varieties of birds. He was an “artist in action” and created a paradise like atmosphere. His experience while living in the college greenhouse led him to own and operate a florist shop and an additional tea house and gift shop in Danville, California.
He sold the 2 shops in California and moved back to Hermiston in 1988. He wanted to spend time with his mother during her remaining years.
Donn had a passion for real estate, so he attended the classes obtaining realtor status and went to work for Universal ERA Realty. An opportunity arose for him to purchase his own real estate company, so he became a Century 21 Office. Donn received many awards over the years from Centurion Producer 2005, to President elect of our local real estate board in 2002, then president of the board in 2003, and Realtor of the year in 2008. Donn’s genuine desire to assist clients with their real estate needs became so well known; Donn no longer needed national advertising, so he became an independent Hermiston Realty. His long-time friend Travis Rock manages Hermiston Property Management, and his staff and designated broker Sandy Allen will continue to fulfill Donn’s clients needs within Hermiston Realty.
Donn was an exchange student to British Honduras while in college and he also served in the National Guard. Donn was an avid supporter of promotions and fund-raising events that benefitted the community. He was President of Hermiston Kiwanis and looked forward to his projects planned for the year.
Donn is survived by sister Betty Nobles (Clyde) of Umatilla, brother Gary Walls (Kathy) of Ione, nieces Kimberly Nobles of Hermiston, Kristi Nobles-Fisher (Steve) of Bellevue, WA., Senie Harris (Bobby) of Irrigon, nephews, Kelly Nobles (Terri) of Umatilla and Gary Dean Walls of Ione, many grand nieces and nephews and his longtime friend Travis Rock. Donn never married or had children of his own, but his compassion and love for his family and friends and their children regarded him as their “favorite uncle”!!!
Donn was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers contributions in Donn’s memory may be made to UHS Alumni Association scholarship fund, PO Box 1144, Umatilla, OR 97882 or Kiwanis, PO Box 375, Hermiston, OR 97838
A celebration of life service will be held on Monday, November 26, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. at Burns Mortuary Chapel, Hermiston, Oregon.
Please sign the online condolence book at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon is in care of arrangements.