Donald Eugene Reha (94) died of natural causes on June 20, 2021. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 46 years, Erline, and three children, Michael of Mount Vernon, Judy Shore (Robert) of Seattle, and Megan Livingston (Brian) of Bainbridge Island. Don was predeceased by his son David and his brother Dick. He also leaves behind four grandchildren Anthea Shore (Adam) from Santa Cruz, Rachel Booth (Nick) from Issaquah, and Wyatt and Fiona Livingston from Bainbridge.
Don was born and raised in Tacoma. From his childhood, he engaged life fully as an astute observer and creative inventor. Don designed and operated machines for the air, land, and sea—the sea being his fondest inspiration. At age five, he converted an old orange crate he found into a boat. When he came across some used wheels, he affixed them to the bottom. This enabled him to tow his boat behind his tricycle for launch. In his teens, Don and his brother Dick, under the guidance of his Uncle John, built a home in University Place. Don learned to fly at 15 in Clover Park and soloed for his license at age 16. After graduating from Stadium High School in 1945, he joined the Army and was assigned to the National Security Agency. During advanced training for the Army in Washington D.C., he began a part-time charter service, flying visitors over the capital area.
After his service, Don returned to his home state as a student at the University of Washington. During his studies, he and his Uncle John found a 30-foot original ship to shore Navy boat and converted it into a liveaboard houseboat. Don graduated from the University in 1951, one of ten in the Aero Engineering class. Don was employed by Boeing from 1951 until his retirement in 1993. Most of his time there was in the Military and Missiles Division. In 1955 Don moved to Bainbridge. While raising his family on a boat, he designed and built his own dream home.
Don was a humble and generous man. He was active in the Seabold Methodist Church, for which he served as chairman of the finance committee. He helped build the addition when it was moved to its current location. He and another Boeing employee funded the first group home on Bainbridge (in Lynwood) for children 15 years and older. A mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast, he shared his lifelong enjoyment of physical activity with his children and community. Don was active with his sons in the Boy Scouts. He took his children skiing and went on hikes with friends in the Olympics. He was a chaperone on the Park District’s ski bus and a timer at swim meets. He was on the initial design committee to recommend what to incorporate in what later became the Nakata Pool. He was a Barnstormer Lifetime member of the Museum of Flight. Indefatigable, he continued to do yard work and build contraptions for hours each day until he was in his 90’s.
Don adored pets of every assortment and over his life raised dogs, chickens, and goats. He was also known to befriend and care for many neighborhood dogs. Don was particularly partial to German Shepherds. At age 10, he received his first, Rex, who served as his constant companion through countless youthful adventures.
After retirement, Don and his wife traveled the world, visiting six continents. His favorites included Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Cuba, and Vietnam.
At Don’s request, there will be no services. He would want you to hug those near and dear to you, remember those less fortunate, and donate to one of our local museums and art programs.
Arrangements are entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA