Donald Merritt Crofts-Andersen, 75, passed away Thursday, January 26, 2012 at his home in Iona, Idaho surrounded by family.
Don never met a stranger, whether in cities or on the highest mountain tops! Yet, he was a "stranger in our midst," as no one really knew the caring sensitive, generous man he was.
Don was born May 25, 1936 in Twin Falls to Marvin Merritt Crofts and Eva Larsen Crofts, the 10th of 12 children. His mother died when he was 5 years old. Don was adopted by James Andersen of Rigby from the Boise Children's Home when he was 9 years old. His siblings include had 11 biological brothers and sisters, 4 adopted brothers and sisters, and 5 foster brothers and sisters. At 16 he left home to make his own life. His chosen safe haven and second family were Les and Phyllis Franklin. Their children, Gloria, Patti, Judy, and Jim, were very much his sisters and brother. Howard Rutledge was also like a second dad to Don and has diligently checked on him since he has been sick.
He married Wavaline Windle in Dillon, Montana in 1954. They had a daughter Dawn Rosemarie and a son Marvin Eugene. In 1956 they were divorced. On April 13, 1957 he married the love of his life, Gloria Sharleen Kruse, in Idaho Falls. They had a daughter Tina Marie and son Bradley Don. On May 16, 1978 they were sealed for time and all eternity in the Idaho Falls Temple.
Don moved to Iona in 1957, where he raised his family. In 1985, Don and Gloria bought a cabin on the Idaho-Wyoming border close to Alpine. It was their little piece of heaven on weekends until they both retired in 1995. They then lived at the cabin full time until September 2005. They then returned to Iona.
Don served in the US Air Force in 1955-1956 as an airframe repairman and shortly after his discharge he joined the Teamsters Local 983. He was a lifetime member, retiring 37 years later in 1993. Don worked construction at various locations in Idaho and Wyoming, including the Ririe Dam, the American Falls Dam rebuild, many highway projects, and many projects at the INL.
He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Don served many years as the ward softball coach where Brad's senior year they were the consolation champions in the church area tournament. He loved to hunt, fish, and ride horses with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, adoptive parents, brothers – Max Crofts, Bernard Crofts, Dale Croft, and Ronald Grove; sisters – Gwen Sogn, Opal Stevens, Darlene Conley, and Nadine Cunningham; adopted brothers – Lloyd Andersen and Marvin (Swede) Andersen. Survivors include his wife Gloria of Iona; sisters – Bonnie Ambrose of Livermore, California, Janace Pershing of Idaho Falls and Joyce Novosad of Blackfoot; adopted sisters – Cloy Wilde of Roberts and Beverly Coles of Idaho Falls; foster brothers – James Andersen of Rigby, Albert Andersen of Ririe, and Joseph Andersen of Idaho Falls; foster sisters – Elizabeth Smith of Pleasant Grove, Utah and Julie Shumway of Shelley; children Tina (Mike) Caldwell of Idaho Falls and Bradley (Dana) of Iona; grandchildren – Mandy (Mike) Bell of Hurricane, Utah; Ty (Maggie) Caldwell of Boise, Mallary (Wade) Banner of Rancho Cucamonga, California; Chelsie (Ryan) Moore of Iona; Whitney (BJ) Lott of Ucon, and Sharlee Andersen of Iona; and 4 great-grandchildren, Brevin, Jace, Ashlyn, and Kylee Bell.
His wife and children would like to thank Doctors Dickson, Hancock, Gambles, Maley, Morton, and Teton Oncology of Rexburg, Idaho; their exceptional caring nurses; the 911 paramedics – in particular two special guys who helped him on January 8, at 1:00 a.m. in the morning; and Hospice of Eastern Idaho (especially Don's granddaughter Whitney).
What a joyous reunion he will have with his birth family, after being separated 69 years ago. We are sure you are having a great time visiting everyone. Chico, Tawny, and Chans must be elated to see you. All of you have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Winter's snow and cold will no longer cause you to shiver with dread! "Please save us a spot."
Don, you ran quite an endurance race with multiple myeloma for over 4 years. You are free at last and whole once more. God gave us four days on the Salmon River in October where JT and Bill sent you a steelhead! Elk graced our view going and coming.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, February 4, 2012, at Buck-Miller-Hann Funeral Home, 825 E.17th Street in Idaho Falls. Burial will follow at the Iona Cemetery with Military Rites under the direction of the Bonneville Veterans Team. A viewing for family and friends will be at from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday and one hour prior to the services on Saturday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in Don's name to www.multiplemyeloma.org
, 51 Locust Avenue, Suite 201, New Canaan, Ct 06840 or the Snake River Animal Shelter Dog Park at snakeriveranimalshelter.org.