Capt. Donald James Aites
March 15, 1938
October 11, 2011
Captain Donald J. Aites , USCG ret., known as DJ to friends and family, passed away at home October 11, 2011. A memorial service was held Friday, October 21, at the Sequim Elks Lodge, followed by his interment at Holyrood Cemetery in Edmonds on Saturday.
DJ was born March 15, 1938 in Oil City, Pennsylvania to Charles and Mary (Schreckengost) Aites. He graduated from Oil City High School in 1955, enlisting in the US Coast Guard soon after graduation.
DJ married Barbara Carel-Schilling on January 15, 1971 in Traverse City, Michigan. Together they lived in Traverse City (MI), Clinton (MD), Clear Lake (TX), and finally, Westminster (CA). Barb preceded DJ in death in 1981.
He served in the US Coast Guard for 30 years, ending his military career as Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard base in Los Angeles, followed by service as the Coast Guard Liaison to Hollywood. A Vietnam Veteran, he co-authored Operation Tight Reign, the Story of the Strategic Loran C Chain in Southeast Asia (1965-1966). He was highly decorated during his service and very proud of his military career accomplishments. He officially retired April 1, 1985.
DJ earned a Bachelors Degree from the George Washington University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from the Southwestern University College of Law, completing both while he was full-time Coast Guard, husband and father. He was also a graduate of the NTSB Aircraft Accident Investigation School. After retiring from the Coast Guard, he practiced law in California until moving to Sequim in 1988. DJ then obtained his Brokers Real Estate license just for the challenge of it.
He loved to camp, hunt and fish on the West End, especially along the Hoh River. He owned a boat for salt water fishing and always enjoyed spending time on the water. He also loved to golf and once made a hole-in-one at Dungeness Golf Course. He was an avid reader and puzzle solver, doing MENSA challenges to keep himself sharp.
Capt. Aites was very service minded, and belonged to several local and national organizations including the BPOE (Elks), VFW (lifetime member), the California State Bar, the Naval Aviation Foundation, The Ancient Order of the Pterodactyl (lifetime member), MOAA (Military Officers Association of America), the International Footprint Assn. and the Foundation for Coast Guard History (lifetime member). He was a long time supporter of the Elks' Coats for Kids program, helping to supply coats and shoes to local residents in need.
He was predeceased by his Mother, Father, his wife Barbara, his sons Boyd and Eric, his sister Mary and her husband Norm Nuhfer, his brother Charles (Chuck) Aites and Chuck's wife Virginia.
He is survived by his sister Dorothy Pearl Myers and brother-in-law James A. Myers (Rouseville, PA), daughter Laurie Rivers (Sequim, WA), daughter Julie Williams and son-in-law Doug Williams (Saugus, CA), his grandchildren Matthew, Emily, Zoe, Samantha and Clarice, as well as numerous nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.
DJ's memorial service was very well attended and both daughters, as well as many friends, shared stories and memories of this great man. The opening prayer was lead by Captain Tony Hahn of the Port Angeles station. He was paid honors during the service by the Elks, the Footprinters, and the VFW. The Coast Guard provided an honor guard and flag folding ceremony, the gun salute, and ended the memorial with taps and a helicopter flyover.
Loved by his family and friends, an asset to his community and country, DJ will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Arrangements under the direction of Sequim Valley Funeral Chapel, Sequim, WA.