From the very beginning, Don Frodsham was a man of faith. Born to Kenneth and Ella Frodsham on July 7, 1931 in Tacoma, Washington, Don was the 10th of 16 children. The Frodshams were a strong Catholic family and regularly attended Mass together, with Don participating in worship as an altar boy. A deep commitment to faith and service remained a key tenant throughout Don's life. Don began school in Waverly, Washington, attending the same school as his father. Don had fond memories working with his father in the fields with a horse and plow. Years later, the Frodsham family moved to Bremerton where Don attended junior high and high school....
From the very beginning, Don Frodsham was a man of faith. Born to Kenneth and Ella Frodsham on July 7, 1931 in Tacoma, Washington, Don was the 10th of 16 children. The Frodshams were a strong Catholic family and regularly attended Mass together, with Don participating in worship as an altar boy. A deep commitment to faith and service remained a key tenant throughout Don's life.
Don began school in Waverly, Washington, attending the same school as his father. Don had fond memories working with his father in the fields with a horse and plow. Years later, the Frodsham family moved to Bremerton where Don attended junior high and high school.
This is where the family lost their father, leaving Ella and the children to work odd jobs, split up chores, and grow their own vegetables in order to support the family. Although Don was the 6th boy born, he was the oldest male in the household at the age of 12 when his father passed away. By then, his older brothers had gone into the service in support of World War II. The responsibility of being the oldest male in the household at such a young age had a significant influence on how Don would carry out his family responsibilities later in life.
During his school years in Bremerton, Don played the baritone horn in the junior high and high school bands. While a junior in high school, he was even able to play in the Rose Bowl parade. In addition to playing an instrument, Don loved to sing. His whole family was musically-inclined and they frequently sang together – a tradition that Don would later instill in his own children.
Prior to completing high school, his family moved to Spokane where Don worked as a busboy to help support his family. However, the pay was not enough for the family's needs, leading Don to depart school so he could join the United States Air Force. He served in the Air Force for 3 years as a Military Policeman in San Antonio, Texas.
Upon discharge he spent 3 months in Alaska, and then returned to his family in Spokane. It was there where he met the love of his life, Betty Elmore. He discovered her waitressing in the local Triple X restaurant and after relentless prodding she agreed to go on a date. It was love at first sight for Don and soon after Betty. They met in the summer of 1953 and were married by January of 1954.
Don and Betty shared a busy life. While Don worked full time and attended school, Betty delivered and raised 5 children. Don completed his high school diploma at Edison Tech in the midst of working for Kenworth. He then went on to finish 2 years at the University of Washington. Don began his Boeing career in the late 1950's, which provided a tremendous boost to the family finances as he and Betty were blessed with twins.
During this time, Don's civic calling came to fruition. He collaborated with other concerned parents to create "Citizens for Wedgwood, Inc.", a group chartered to make kindergarten available to the children of Wedgwood. Don resided as president of the group which was successful in their mission. In addition to local civics, Don also turned his eye towards national politics. Don and Betty strongly supported John F. Kennedy's campaign. In fact, Don was elected as a district delegate for the Democratic Party, which earned him and Betty a trip to the Democratic State Convention.
The family lived in the Portland area for about 3 years, as Don had another career opportunity with Tectonics. But the passion he had for Boeing and his family roots in Washington called Don, Betty, and kids back to the Seattle area. The family relocated to Renton, Washington, which would become Don and Betty's home for the next 50 years.
Don continued to pursue his passions in his faith, family, career, and civic duties for the rest of his life in Renton. Starting with his faith, he and his family joined the St. Matthew's congregation in 1964. Here, he served the Lord and the congregation in many different roles, including president, treasurer, choir member, several committees, and participating in countless activities.
His growing family was always a priority for Don. First and foremost, he was a role model for his children and their friends, guiding with a strong but loving hand. He was very active with his children and their activities in scouting, sports, music and scholastics. He also supported his community as a parent volunteer and served as PTA president. Despite his many commitments, Don always made time for family outings, hiking, vacations, and other adventures.
His career at Boeing was spent in the area of Computing and Systems Design. Don was active with industry groups in Systems Management, which was an emerging field at the time. He was involved in implementing computing systems that supported both the commercial and military organizations within Boeing. He enjoyed his work and the people he worked with. Proudly reflecting on the projects he worked on, he retired from Boeing in 1992 with over 30 years of service.
Once retired, life did not slow down. It gave Don more time to support his immediate and extended family as well as his other passions. He thoroughly enjoyed being a grandfather and once again acting as a role model to a new generation of young people. Don also found time to do a bit of traveling with his wife Betty, exploring the United States as well as embarking on a trip to Frodsham, England where he learned more about his heritage.
Throughout his 82 years, Don happily supported his family and friends, whether they sought spiritual, emotional, or financial assistance. Everyone knew they could count on Don for comfort, counsel, and love.