Donald K. Sawtelle Jr.

Donald Kingsley Sawtelle Jr., 88, of Jaffrey, passed away peacefully Sunday morning, June 23, 2019, at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home.

He was born on Dec. 24, 1930, on Mountain Road in Jaffrey, the first son of Donald and Lauraette (Cutter) Sawtelle. Don attended Jaffrey Schools and graduated in 1948. Don joined the Army on Feb. 3, 1948, and was honorably discharged on Jan. 31, 1950, with the rank of private.

He worked at W.W. Cross (the “Tack Shop”) in Jaffrey for several years until getting a job with New England Telephone Company. The company split up and Donnie ended up working for AT&T from which he retired in 1986. After retiring, Don continued to work at Jaffrey Fire Protection where he invented a new lock design for 4-inch fire hose coupling.

Don served as a Jaffrey Water Commissioner for many years and enjoyed talking town politics with family. He also served 40 years on the Jaffrey Fire Department with his last eight years as chief. Don was the last man hired for the Jaffrey Center Fire Company, joining in August 1953. The two fire companies in Jaffrey merged in 1954 and Don eventually served as assistant chief from 1974 until becoming chief in 1983. He retired from the fire department in 1991.

Don took up golfing after retirement and really enjoyed the game. Pat even joined him down in Florida after taking a couple of golf lessons. Donnie loved old cars and refurbished an old Willy’s Jeep in which he cruised through town. Later in life, Don enjoyed the winters when he and Pat traveled in their RV and took extended vacations with their friends in Florida, finally purchasing a home there and becoming snow birds. Don traveled through the United States as well as Morocco, Iceland, England and Panama to visit their children stationed there, but always loved the beaches in Florida. Donnie was famous for his barbecue chicken. He also loved to sing and once won a yodeling competition in Florida.

He was predeceased by his parents; his wife of 65 years, Patricia Ann Tierney; their first-born child; his sisters, Helen S. Kemp and Dorothy Proulx Burnham; his brothers, Lyman K. Sawtelle and Kenneth C. Sawtelle; and his great-granddaughter, Arden Sawtelle.

He is survived by his daughters, Dawn (Bill) Oswalt, Kelly Sawtelle and husband, Ron Belkin, both of Jaffrey; his sons, Steven (Kathleen) Sawtelle of Lander, Wyo.; William (Cindy) Sawtelle of Lineville, Ala., Robert (Samantha) Sawtelle of Kathleen, Ga., and James (Ellen) Sawtelle of Stone Mountain, Ga.; Jorge Morales who arrived as an exchange student from Mexico and has remained another son for Don; 18 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; his sister, Stella S. Lundgren of Florida; and his brother, Arthur Sawtelle.

Family and friends are invited to calling hours on Saturday, June 29. from 10 a.m. to noon at the Jaffrey Fire Station, 138 Turnpike Road, Jaffrey, followed by a brief memorial service. Burial will follow at Cutter Cemetery in Jaffrey.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Jaffrey Fire Department Equipment Fund, 138 Turnpike Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452 or to the White Heart Foundation, P.O. Box 1911, Agoura Hills, CA 91376.

To share memories, photographs and condolences with Don’s family, please visit his online memorial at