Donald H. Lerum

Donald H. Lerum

Donald H. Lerum

1934 - 2009

December 28, 1934 - April 11, 2009


Donald H. Lerum (74) went home to be with the Lord on April 11, 2009. Don is survived by his wife, Verla, four sons, Donald E. (Kathy), Miles (Anna), Franklin (Kristie) & Cameron (Arleen). He has 15 grandchildren, Amanda (Owen) Dawn, Desiree (Josiah), Nathaniel, Rial, Krista, Phillip, Patrick, Bianca, Dylan, Mallory, Taylor, Kody, Jimmye, & Paul and 4 Great grandchildren, Ian, Lillian, Maren & Tristan. He is also survived by his brother, David (Shirley) and sister, Nova Haufle as well as many nephews and nieces.

Don was born in Sweetgrass, MT on December 28, 1934 to Helmer & Violet Lerum. He married his high school sweetheart, Verla (Taft) on January 13, 1956. Since there weren’t any jobs available in the area where they lived they moved out to Seattle, WA where he went to work for Boeing Aircraft Company. After 2 ½ years at Boeing Don developed bleeding ulcers that nearly took his life. He then moved his family back to MT where they lived on a ranch 50 miles East of Missoula. After a year of ranching he moved his family to Hayward, CA where he worked at many different jobs. From there they moved back to Renton, WA and he went back to work for Boeing again.

While there he and a friend decided to buy a truck and lease it out to Sunvan Moving & Storage Company. Don enjoyed the moving business but his friend didn’t, so Don bought him out and ran solo. When Sunvan was bought out by Cartwright Van Lines Don leased his truck out to them and continued to cover the Western United States. He enjoyed being on the road, meeting the people and helping them to relocate to a new area. Don liked Country Western music and usually had an 8 track tape in of Johnny Cash or Johnny Horton as he was driving down the highway.

Every summer Verla went with him for a couple of weeks while the children spent their time in MT with their Grandparents and other relatives there.

Cartwright Van Lines wanted a local agent in Tacoma so Don, Tom Jarman and two people from the van lines started Cartwright Moving and Storage, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. Don eventually bought the other people out and ran the company for many years. While running the agency, he also built up a fleet of trucks & trailers that he leased out to Cartwright Van Lines. He won many awards from the company both for performance and being the most popular agent. After selling the agency he continued to run the leased trucks and tried his hand in some other business ventures as well.

After Don retired, his passion became genealogy. He spent hours researching and contacting people and soon had a new circle of friends via the internet and phone. Whenever he received a new packet of pictures or information he would work for hours entering the new information into the computer base. He also enjoyed watching John Wayne movies and built an extensive collection of them.

Don was a person who truly loved others and was always ready to lend a helping hand. He loved the Lord and had a kind and compassionate heart. He was noted for his patience, both with his family and others. He was a loving son, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather and is missed deeply by them all.

Don was cremated and per his request his ashes will be spread over the Sweetgrass, MT Cemetery later this year. A memorial stone will be placed in the Sweetgrass Cemetery and there will be a graveside services there when we spread the ashes.

Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, April 25th at 1:00 pm at Hope Evangelical Community Church, 158 South 46th Street, Tacoma, WA. We invite you to come and celebrate his life with us.

The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Hope Evangelical Community Church as Don loved helping individual people through his church.