Donald Joseph Violette, 85

| October 2, 2020 1:39 PM

On Sept. 24, 2020, Donald Joseph Violette, a loving father and husband, passed away at age 85 in his home due to natural causes.

Donald (Don) was born in Missoula on March 8, 1935, to Sherman and Josephine Violette. He was the eldest of three brothers. Don’s father, Sherman, passed away suddenly when he was 13 years old, and his younger brother, James (Jim) Violette, was 10 years of age. Josephine later met Paul Fleming, a potato farmer from Polson. Josephine and Paul were married in 1951, and Paul adopted Don and Jim. They had a son, Paul (P.J.) Fleming, Jr., who was born in 1953.

Don was an exceptional student who graduated from Polson High School in 1953. He was a varsity basketball, track, and football athlete. As a strong tight-end and linebacker, Don was selected and participated in the East-West Shrine Game during the summer of 1953, where the West defeated the East 20-0.

Don attended Montana State University and graduated in 1957 with a mechanical engineering degree. He went to work for Sperry-Rand directly out of college, working on government contracts. Don's most outstanding career achievement was being a part of the team that built the United States’ first atomic submarine navigation system.

Don had a passion for rally racing, nature photography and hiking in his early years. His work took him from New York to Texas to Utah. During his career with Sperry-Rand, he met his wife, Angelique. They were married in Syosset, N.Y., in 1964 and had their first child, Jeanne Paige Violette. After moving to Utah, they had their second child, Jean Paul (J.P.) Violette.

Don moved his family to Polson in 1972 to help manage the family farm, where he would spend the rest of his career working the farm. In 1982, his younger brother, Jim Violette, joined Don to work the farm. In 1996, Don, Jim, and their younger brother, P.J., collectively decided to donate the family farm to the St.Patrick Hospital Foundation as a charitable trust.

Don was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Angelique, in 2014. He is survived by his daughter, Jeanne, her sons, Slade and Sloan (Jessica and their daughter, Ahvessa) Couture, and Don’s son, J.P., his wife, Angie, and their sons, Austin and Ethan.

Don was a kind and strong person with a heart of gold. He was not one for many words, but when he did speak, it was with great wisdom and a little sarcasm at times. Don was a caring father, brother and son. He was the epicenter of our family, providing stability and a wonderful example for our family to follow. His family will miss him greatly.

A family gathering will be held at a later date.