Donald Josephson

Obituary of Donald Lee Josephson

Donald Lee Josephson went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the morning of October 11, 2023.  Don was born in Wilder, Idaho on January 10, 1934 to Gladys and Lawrence Josephson.  He was the fifth of six children preceded by Leonard, Florence, Betty, and Jack, his sweet sister Yvonne, born just over a year after him, passed away as an infant.  The family farmed near Wilder, and Don spent his youth working to take care of crops and chickens. He went through grade school and high school in Wilder and graduated in 1952. He played tennis for the Wildcats and won the boys doubles state championship.


After graduation, in 1953 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.  He spent two years in Japan repairing communication technology.  His travel in the Air Force took him to Guam, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima, and several smaller Asian islands. After he returned to the U.S. he was stationed in New York, but traveled frequently to Omaha, Nebraska to work on an underground communication system.  He was honorably discharged in 1957.


After his military service he enrolled at the College of Idaho, majoring in Biology with a minor in education.  He played tennis for the Yotes.  After two years at C of I, he transferred to Idaho State College and graduated with a B.A. in Biology in 1961. He had a unique ability to memorize scientific names of plant and animal species that stayed with him all of his life.


His first teaching job was in Shelton, Washington.  He taught biology, and one term of geometry which he learned right along with his students.  He stayed in Shelton for three years, then took a job closer to his family at Emmett High, where he coached tennis for two years.  He then took a year to complete his Masters of Arts in Teaching in Moscow, at the University of Idaho.  After completing his degree, he taught three more years, then decided to try something else.


Don bought a vending route, and filled the coin operated bubble gum and toy dispensing machines throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.  He continued to add new locations to his route and enjoyed traveling, often taking time to fish, look for rocks, and enjoy the scenery along the way. 


On June 8, 1977 Don married the love of his life, Virginia Tolsma, whom he met at Owyhee Lanes in Homedale, Idaho which she owned and operated.  Along with Virginia, he also gained four adult stepsons, Ron, Don, Tony, and Kim Tolsma, and five grandchildren, Rhonda (Benson) and Randy Tolsma, Kelly Tolsma (McCormick) and Danny Breach, and Margo Tolsma (Phariss).  Don and Virginia took the five grandkids on their honeymoon to Disneyland.  Two more grandchildren were born later, Carol (Profitt) and Richard Tolsma. He was very proud of all of them.  Don and Virginia  spent a lot of time traveling together on his route and took several deep sea fishing trips.  They were married for over 40 years, before she passed away in 2018. In his words “I miss her now and will until we meet again.”


Don had many athletic accomplishments.  In addition to being a tennis champion, he was an avid bowler and rolled a 297 at Owyhee Lanes.  He was also proud of his golf game and achieved an Albatross on the Fairview golf course in Caldwell, by getting a hole in one on a par four hole.  It was witnessed by a friend who was watching from a hospital room  across the street.  He ended that round of golf four under par. 


His other hobbies included collecting music, rockhounding, and playing board games.  He had an extensive collection of vinyl records, mostly of country music from the 50’s through 70’s.  He listened to music for hours a day.  One of his favorite pastimes was collecting rocks in the Owyhees and mountains in Oregon.  He made beautiful jewelry as gifts for his family from the rocks that he found, cut, and polished.  He also enjoyed board games and card games.  His favorite games were Uno and Aggravation, which he played on a handmade board.


 Don was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings and their spouses, his beloved Virginia, and his step grandson Danny Breach.  He is survived by all of his step sons, eight grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren and a few great great grandchildren. He is also survived by his nephews and many great nieces and nephews.  He will be remembered for his continuous chuckle and hearty laughs. Graveside services will be officiated by his nephew, Pastor Terrance Josephson at 2:00 p.m., on October 27, 2023 at the Wilder cemetery. 






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Graveside service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Friday, October 27, 2023
Wilder Cemetery
20431 Batt Corner Rd
Wilder, Idaho, United States
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