Don Andrew Griesmeyer

March 15, 1926 ~ October 28, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old

Don Griesmeyer Obituary

Don Andrew Griesmeyer was born in Oren, Washington, to Bill and Ellen Griesmeyer.  He grew up in northeastern Washington in a family of four with his parents and his sister Jean. 

For most of his career, Don was self-employed.  His dad owned a sawmill operation and built houses with only an eighth-grade education, and Don believed he could run a business.  Don built his first house when he was 13.

He graduated from high school during World War II and joined the Army Air Corps the next day.  Don met the love of his life, Eloise McClanahan, while stationed in Denver, Colorado.  They were married 68 years.  Don also took a course in body and fender work on the GI bill in Denver.  They moved to Northport, Washington and then got an opportunity to buy a body and fender shop in Colville.  In six weeks, at the age of 23, they, “Bought the shop, bought a new car, moved to Colville and had twins.”  They owned the body shop for over seven years. 

They moved to Tacoma in 1956 and were co-owners with Eloise’s parents at a furniture store for 13 years.  Soon after moving to Tacoma, they joined a bridge club and developed friendships that lasted over 40 years.

In 1966 Don bought a 1949 city bus and converted it into a camper, or their first “RV.” The family went to Yellowstone that summer and continued to use the bus for vacations.

In 1969 Don began selling Snap-On Tools.  He told quick jokes when he made the rounds, and the managers didn’t mind because the jokes were short. 

After Snap-On, Don started building and selling houses in 1979.  When they were near retirement, they built rental properties.  He loved helping his children with home repairs and remodeling when he visited.

They bought three RVs during their retirement and traveled with the Elks RV group and bridge club friends.  They visited every state in the continental US twice.  They also went to Alaska, saw a lot of Canada, and traveled as far south as the Panama Canal.  Counting the bus and the three RVs, they logged 400,000 miles. 

Their favorite trip was six weeks in Ireland.  They enjoyed the natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle.

At his retirement center, Don was known for his kindness, sense of humor and love of dancing. He was referred to as “Don, the dancing man.”

Don says he was very lucky in life, but he made his own luck because he recognized opportunities and took advantage of them.  And he took his own advice to “Have all the fun you can,” and “Never lose your sense of humor.”

Don was preceded in death by his wife Eloise, his sister Jean Beusan, his son Mike, and his grandson Tom Coleman.  His survivors include five children and four spouses (Janice and Bill Womack, Linda Krentz, Mike’s wife Cindy Griesmeyer, Bill and Connie Griesmeyer, Donna and Jeff Snell, and Gary Griesmeyer), 10 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren.

A memorial celebration of life will be held on January 20, 2024, 3:00 p.m. at:

Gig Harbor Inn

3211 56th St NW

Gig Harbor, WA  98335


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Celebration of Life
January 20, 2024

3:00 PM
Gig Harbor Inn
3211 56th St NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98335


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