Don was born in St. George, Utah, the son of Harold J. and Doris S. Reber. He was raised on his parents’ desert farm in Littlefield, Arizona, 40 miles south of St. George on the banks of the Virgin River, where he learned the work ethic that would serve him well. One of five-year-old Don’s chores was to keep the wood chopped and the kindling box filled. He remembered for the rest of his life the weight of that first responsibility. If there wasn’t enough wood for the stove, the family didn’t eat. He never forgot the lesson.
Grade school was “District Number Nine,” a one-room schoolhouse heated by a coal furnace. Arizona summers were blazing, but the winters got plenty cold. The kids took turns stoking the coal. After high school in nearby Bunkerville, Nevada, Don left home for Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he met, courted and married Elaine Walton.
He worked his way through BYU as a radio announcer at the local radio station, KOVO, and was affectionately nicknamed “The Voice” by his listening audience. For the rest of his life he would be known for his beautiful vocal delivery.
Upon graduation, he and Elaine moved to Logan, Utah, where he continued his radio career at KVNU for three years. Although radio was in its heyday and Don’s work behind the microphone exciting, television loomed on the horizon. Also, two moves in quick succession foreshadowed a transitory life, and Don yearned for roots and stability for his young family.
He returned to college, earning a degree from USAC in Logan, then Washington University Dental School in St. Louis. After graduation, it was on to California for the then mandatory two-year stint for Uncle Sam. Don fell in love again. This time with the Monterey Peninsula. He stayed for the rest of his life.
Ever joyful and energetic, he and Elaine loved, nurtured, educated and inspired their seven children. Scrupulous in his personal integrity, Don served his profession, holding posts as Chairman of the Ethics Committee and President of the Monterey Bay Dental Society. Able, gentle and generous, he cared for his beloved patients for 49 years. He retired in February 1997.
Don personified his Christian values as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served over the course of his life as Branch President, Bishop, High Councilor, Stake President and Patriarch.
He loved his life and the people in it. He honored his faith. Earned his way. And left the world a finer place for having been here.
Funeral services and internment were held Friday, July 16, 2004, at 10am at Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah (1950 E. 10600 S.); visitation was at 9am Friday, prior to the service.
A memorial service was also held Monday, July 26, 2004, at 2pm at the LDS Chapel in Seaside, California (1024 Noche Buena Street at Plumas Avenue).
Just think of him as living
In the hearts of those he touched;
For nothing loved is ever lost,
And he was loved so much.
His memory is his keepsake
With which we'll never part;
God has him in His keeping,
We have him in our hearts.
To hear the famous "Old Shep" song his children and grand-children know and love because of Don's singing it, copy and paste the following web address into your browser.
To learn more about Don's faith, visit The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' web site at www.lds.org.