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Donald “Don” Paul Williams

July 10, 1957 - September 27, 2017

On Wednesday, September 27, our beloved Donald (Don) Paul Williams of Evergreen, Colorado, surrounded by his family, passed away after a brave and inspiring battle with cancer.  Don was born on July 10, 1957 in Denver, Colorado, and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of William Vincent Williams and Beryle Lou (Wood) Williams.  He graduated from Murray High School in St. Paul in 1975, received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hamline University in St. Paul in 1980, was awarded a competitive Fiske Music scholarship in Piano Performance for 1985-1986 at the University of Colorado, Boulder, earned a Teaching Certification from Metro State College in 1994, and completed a Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado in 1999.  Don’s life was dedicated to helping others, particularly children.  He worked for many years with troubled children at Forest Heights Lodge in Evergreen, and was a teacher of music, math, social studies, English, and physical education at several Evergreen and North and South Routt schools, receiving a Teacher of the Year award for 2016-2017. He received many awards for his piano performance, and brought his talent and love of music to people throughout his life.  He excelled at speech and acting, and performed with the Evergreen Players.  He was the music director or part of the music team at several churches over the years, including the Evergreen Christian Fellowship.  Don wrote and directed school musicals, including one that he wrote and co-directed during his bout with cancer – a children’s musical about bullying titled “RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Ninjas” performed at Center Stage. 

Don was an extraordinary athlete, competing very successfully in diving and tennis through his school years, and teaching and competing in tennis tournaments in his adult life.  He was a passionate and gifted skier, and was never happier than when the fresh powder called his name at Mary Jane.  Always up for adventure, his favorite outings with his dear life partner Diane (Din) Golden often involved great hikes and secluded mountain hot springs. Don was a hysterically funny storyteller, and often regaled family and friends with stories of his crazy misadventures.  Don’s joy and love of life was contagious, and his deep spirituality guided him and helped him provide comfort and counsel to so many people. 


Don was preceded in death by his father, William.  He is survived by his mother Beryle (Bea), his partner Din and her sons Isaac and Wyatt Manobla, his daughter Jessica Williams, his brother Michael Williams (Sally) of Phippsburg, CO, sister Blythe Williams (Richard Kay) of Durham, NC, brother Jeffrey Williams (Lisa Conley) of Seattle, his nieces and nephews Patrick and Kirsten Williams, Adam and Sylvie Kay, and Zhen Williams, and many special cousins and countless friends. The family appreciates the many kindnesses of the staff at Lutheran Hospice in Wheatridge, Colorado.  Arrangements entrusted to Evergreen Memorial Park (www.evergreenmemorialpark.com).  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sarcoma Foundation of America (www.curesarcoma.org).



5 Responses

  1. Din says:

    Thank you so much for your sincere condolences. Don and I were together for a little more than 12 years. We did everything together. Don was gifted in so many ways and I learned to love more deeply because of him. I felt like I was given a second chance at love when I met Don. He was my band partner, my tennis coach/doubles partner, ski buddy, dance partner, road trip and hot springs friend. We had a very unique relationship and we felt that the term “soulmate” trivialized what we had together. Someone like Don comes along once in a lifetime and I tried to never to take his love for granted. My life is lonelier without Don and I know that I will never forget him.

  2. Therese M. Hankel says:

    Don organically lived by the motto: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing!” And he did everything at warp speed—playing, laughing, living and loving.
    He was a remarkable athlete and being with him was like fun on steroids. Everyday obligations became raucous competitions and tournaments. As a vivid raconteur, he was imaginative, authentic, vulnerable and inspiring. He held us spellbound with his intelligence, humor, compassion and empathy. He unfailingly manifested a child-like joy and exuberance for life, and his fervent hope for a better future was contagious and magical.
    Most of all, Don spoke to us through his music—moving us, thrilling us, healing us…. Oh, my dear friend, I cherish the time we spent together and I hold you close in my heart. I will miss you and love you forever.

  3. Mark and Ed Jankus says:

    Dad and I want to pass along our deepest condolences on the passing of Don. I knew Don a little bit from meeting him at Jeff’s house a couple of times and I remember him as a very positive, cheerful, energetic, friendly, and talented person. I have a memory of seeing him at the St. Anthony Park elementary school annual carnival, performing on the piano in one of the classrooms. I remember to this day how struck I was by how talented he was at playing even then, when he himself was (I think) still an elementary school student. He was a great guy and the world is a better place because of him. He went too soon. All of our best to all of the Williams family members.

  4. The Geffner-Guzzardi Family says:

    Our hearts are heavy for Blythe, her mom, and siblings, and all the family and friends who are grieving this loss.
    The Geffner-Guzzardi Family

  5. cw says:

    I am sorry for the loss of your loved one. May you find comfort in Gods promise to care for our dead loved ones at John 5:28,29. Our loving Heavenly Father consoles us at Phillipians 4:6,7 with this soothing invitation: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God, and the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”

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