Don was born in Hemet, CA to Harry and Gladys Hall on December 6, 1921, and joined his wife of 61 years, Bernice, in heaven on August 18, 2014.
While in Hemet, his family raised dairy cattle and Percheron horses. Don and his family moved to Hilmar in 1935, and then to Denair in 1936. The family raised Jersey dairy cattle and Beef Shorthorns. He graduated in 1939 from Denair High School and Modesto Junior College in 1941. His studies were interrupted by four years’ service in the 8th Army Air Corps, stationed in England as an aeronautical mechanic. Don and his crew kept the planes flying to Normandy on D-Day. After his discharge, he returned to California and graduated from U.C. Davis in 1947 with a degree in Agricultural Education. Don taught at Sonora High School for 2 years before coming to Turlock High School for 30 years. He coached two State FFA Championship Farm Mechanics teams and had 50 State Farmer degree students, 7 American Farmer degree students, and numerous judging teams in Livestock and Agricultural Mechanics. He also served as the CATA (California Ag Teachers’ Association) President of the Central Region. Don was a member and director of the California Beef Shorthorn Breeders Association for years. He was instrumental in organizing the first Junior Association and starting many field days for the group.
Don was awarded the Western Fairs Blue Ribbon award at the Stanislaus County Fair in 2011. Don was instrumental in starting the Junior Livestock Auction at the Stanislaus County Fair, with the help of fellow Ag Instructor from Denair, Earl Reed.
Don was involved with the Denair Lions Club for many years, serving on local boards and the district board of directors. He also was involved with the 12:10 Lions of Turlock for several years. He was a member of W.H.E.A.T. – antique engines and tractor with renovating and restoring his engines and 3 antique tractors. He would exhibit these at Stanislaus County Fair and other exhibit days throughout the State. He truly loved his antiques. Don was a Denair Fire Commissioner for many years.
Bernice and Don travelled with their RV group, All Seasons, to many western states, New Zealand and Australia, as well as Alaska. They also did many fishing trips and deep sea fishing.
Don is survived by his daughter Marlys (Dan) Layne of Turlock, and son, Mike (Wendy) Hall of Arroyo Grande, his grandchildren – Stacy (Russell) Dietz of Shepherd, MT and Scott (Keri) Layne of Modesto. Watching his Great-Granddaughters, Amber and Allison Layne and Kolby and Lexy Dietz, become active in sports and the agricultural industry gave Don much pride. Don is preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy Larson.
A special thanks to the loving and caring staff at Covenant Village of Turlock, Care Center. Don loved you all as family.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Saturday, August 23, at 11:00 a.m. at the Turlock Funeral Home Chapel, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., in Turlock, with interment at Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave, in Hughson. Visitation will be held Friday August 22 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to Turlock High School FFA or Denair Lions Club, in his name.