Don was born in Verdigre, Nebraska, on October 8, 1928, the eldest of three children to Emil & Lillian Kocina. He has a sister Rita (Hildreth) of Medford and brother, Jerome of Vancouver, Wa.
Don attended school in Verdigre, Nebraska and graduated from Fort Collins, CO in 1945. After graduation, he returned to Verdigre, Neb. and held several jobs, truck driver, heavy equipment operator and farmer.
He married Lois E. Belka in Verdigre, Neb. on October 25, 1949. To this union, four sons were born; Douglas, Brian, Ross, and Neil.
Don moved his family to the west coast where he had an airline career. He managed stations in Omak, Wa., Medford, Ore., and Redmond, Ore. for West Coast Airlines which later became Air West then Hughes Airwest then Republic Airlines and final Northwest Airlines. He retired from Northwest Airlines after 35 years of service. He loved his career and enjoyed taking Lois on many trips, like Hawaii, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, China, as well as several surprise vacations. After he retired from the airline, he owned and operated a cleaning service called The Scrub Gals in Redmond, Ore.
He and Lois loved to travel, so he purchased a motor home and they traveled in all 49 states and 9 provinces with only one fender bender…which was not his fault.
He was an active member of the St. Thomas Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and he had belonged to the Kiwanis Club and also the Rotary Clubs in Medford and Redmond.
He was also the proud owner of a 1957 BMW Isetta, which he entered in parades and shared special times and rides with his grandchildren.
His grandchildren will be honorary pallbearers. They are Heather Puksta, Heath Kocina, Jessica Darbonne, Ashtyn Kocina, Alex Kocina, and Kyle Kocina.
He has 4 great-grandchildren, Hannah and Madison Kocina, Kierra Puksta, Dillon Roark, and a great granddaughter, Ida who is to arrive in June.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lois, Bette, wife of Douglas (deceased in 1988) and their children, Heather and Heath, Brian and his son Kyle, Ross and his wife, Susan, daughter Jessica and step daughter, Jenna, and Neil and his wife, Pam and their children, Ashtyn and Alex.
Don is preceded in death by his oldest son Douglas and his parents, Emil and Lillian.
Rosary will be held Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 6pm at St. Thomas Catholic Church and a Memorial Mass will be held Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11am at St. Thomas Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers donations in Don’s name can be made to St. Thomas Catholic Church Building Fund of Redmond or Partners in Care of Bend or The American Cancer Society.