Donald James Volk admired the value of hard work and dedication to business and family. Even in his bed at Stanford Hospital Don was checking on company orders, manufacturing details and, at the same time, making sure his family’s accommodations and finances were in order. Don was organized and well prepared in life, and for death, and he passed peacefully after a brief illness on March 16 at the age of 67.
Donald Volk was born on July 1, 1948 in Salem, Oregon. The son of Anton (Tony) Volk and Corinne P. Volk, he moved to Turlock in 1951 where he attended Sacred Heart Elementary School, Turlock High School, and Modesto Junior College. Don was only 5 years old when he became one of the last children in Turlock to become afflicted with Polio, and he was featured as The March of Dimes poster child for Turlock in 1953. Even though he was housed in an “Iron Lung” for months, he came home with the bright smile and shining eyes that were to be his hallmark throughout his life. In spite of the disease he suffered as a child, his will and determination to compete and to succeed might well be that for which he is best remembered. Perhaps it was because of the disease that Don always cared for others who were disadvantaged or challenged. He was a quiet patron with a huge, soft heart.
Don began his work career at Volk Packaging Company at the age of 11. There wasn’t an official title for stenciling boxes and cleaning floors, yet his father recognized his skill when Don was still in high school and asked him to more fully engage in the family business as it grew into a substantial enterprise. He managed Turlock Feather Company and was the administrator for Volk’s Hok Lok Company. Later, as Vice President of Volk Enterprises, Don managed procurement, logistics, and specialized manufacturing for what began as a small, local company that had evolved into a nationwide business with a global footprint.
Don’s brother, Steve, introduced him to Debra Prouty in 1974 and he quickly focused on her as his soul mate. Married in 1979, they resided in Turlock, and their first child, Darin James, was born in 1985, followed by Lea Diane in 1990. Don’s oldest son, Derrick Wendell Volk, was born in 1969. Don loved spending time with his family at the cabin, and he always looked forward to the annual family and friends trip to The Dunes. Good Mexican food was high on his list as well. Don’s family was everything to him; he helped plan their trips and their meals, he bought them vitamins, and he reminded them of upcoming appointments and dates with phone calls, messages and … little tiny yellow sticky notes.
Don is survived by his wife Debra, sons Derrick and Darin, daughter Lea, and grandson Dayton. He is also survived by his siblings Sharon (Martin) Petersen of Modesto, Anthony (Teresa) Volk of Atlanta, GA, Steven (Mary) Volk of Turlock, Cynthia (Dave) Shannon of Escondido, and Dan Volk of Atlanta, GA. He also leaves many nieces and nephews, a large extended family, and many friends down at the office.
Memorial donations may be made to Turlock Gospel Mission—Hope Lives Here Campaign, P.O. Box 1231, Turlock, CA 95381 or to a favorite charity.
Services will be held at a later date.