Aug. 26, 1929-Feb. 6, 2024

Our dear husband and father Donald Potter was born to Roy and Ruby Potter in Beaver, Utah, on Aug. 26, 1929. He left this mortal life to join those who have gone before him on Feb. 6, 2024. He was 94.

His final years were spent in Southern Utah with his wife Sylvia Ruth Angell Potter. They worked in the mission field of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, welcoming English learners from all nationalities into the church. They helped these converts to develop English skills, self-confidence and everyday survival skills. This was deeply satisfying work, and together they developed many meaningful loving relationships. Many of the people they taught they considered family.

Don was born into difficult times: the stock market was about to crash and the Great Depression would engulf the entire country for the first years of his life. His parents managed and Don learned to work hard from a young age. He built skills that would sustain his family throughout his life. But even in the difficulty of riding out the hard economic times, he remembered the joys of his young home life: homemade root beer, a tricycle that disappeared from the yard but then was found, and, later, the one bicycle he shared with his siblings.

Most of all he remembered his beloved Beaver, a place he called “a beautiful little town.” No matter how far he traveled, he loved the idea of returning there. He played baseball there, fished the creeks for trout and hunted as many jackrabbits as he could find because there was no hunting season for them.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1948 and it was the start of many travels. He served in the Korean War on the USS Hector, working in electronics. Though he was recommended for advancement in the Navy, he had other dreams.

Don dreamed for much of his life of owning his own business, but the lessons of the Depression kept him mostly employed elsewhere. Still, his professional life was deeply satisfying and his family never wanted for anything. Most of his professional life was in the aerospace industry working contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He was proud to have performed the meaningful and historic work of sending a man to the moon, supporting the Apollo-Soyuz program and several Space Shuttle missions.

This work enabled him and his family to re-locate to a NASA tracking station near Madrid, Spain. Some of the fondest days of his and his family’s life were lived out in Madrid. Their life there was filled with defining cultural significance. Don’s travels were throughout much of Europe, the tip of Africa and an excursion to the Holy Land, Israel. Later, his work took him to Santiago, Chile and the Ascension Islands in the South Pacific. He was always grateful that a boy from Beaver accomplished so many fulfilling and important experiences.

But in the end, it was fitting that Don would return to Southern Utah. He and Ruth started their life together in Beaver, fulfilling Don’s dream of returning there. But the wintry climate moved them eventually to St. George, Utah. Here he spent his final days, enjoying the temperate climate in the company of his wife, Ruth, and his stepchildren. They built a cabin nearby with the help of Ruth’s son, Eric, so they could slip away to the mountains Don loved.

His family is grateful for the loving care he received in the final days from the caregivers at the Southern Veterans Home in Ivins, Utah.

Don is survived by his wife Ruth; his children Randal of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Julie (Brad) Merrell of California, William of Maryland, Jeff of Virginia, Michelle (Trey) of California and their mother Helen Dunn; stepchildren Eric Miller of Sandy, Utah, Trudy Day of Salt Lake City, Utah, Ron Day, and Raelyn Davies of St. George, Utah; and stepsons Dan and Brian Munroe of Maryland. He is preceded in death by his parents Roy and Ruby Potter, his wife Nancy Munroe, an infant sister Beulah, sister Ruth Littlefield and brother Howard.

A viewing will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Picturesque Ward building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  820 North Valley View Drive, St. George Utah. The funeral will follow at 10:30 a.m. with burial at the Central Cemetery in Central, Utah.

Arrangements are under the direction of Hughes Mortuary.