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Monday, May 22, 2023
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Tuesday, May 23, 2023
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Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Starts at 10:00am (Pacific time)
With a sadness that can only be tempered by even greater faith, we announce the passing of Donald Wayne Elholm, age 83. Donald was born to Herbert and Doris Elholm in Gustine, California, on September 4, 1939. As the only surviving child of three sons, Donald grew up on a dry land grain farm. He enjoyed working the land side-by-side with his father, carrying on a multi-generational tradition originating with the Elholm Family Farm on the island of Als in Denmark, which was eventually passed on to his own sons. This led him on a lifelong journey of praying. Mostly for rain.
Don enjoyed a childhood filled with happy memories of traveling with his parents and days on the farm with his cat. He was very involved in the Boy Scouts throughout his childhood, including obtaining recognition at the 3rd annual Jamboree of 1953. He learned to play the trumpet, most likely to impress a hot little number in the clarinet section. He had already known Joanne Reis from elementary school, but his crush began to become mutual in high school.
In High School, he was a quintessential American teen, who ran track and played football and basketball. As a young man, his hobbies included working on cars, not sprucing up hot rods, but making everyday cars run. He could often be found tinkering on his latest project in the garage.
Upon graduating from Gustine High School, Donald joined the United States Army. His exemplary military service was only second to the accomplishment of marrying Joanne. While at Cal Poly, he studied Crop Science, graduating with his Bachelor’s Degree in 1963. He and Joanne also made many lifelong friends and treasured memories. Decades later, his children would also attend Cal Poly.
By the end of college, he had begun his career in professional farming primarily in produce and later in commodities. In June of 1966, Donald became a father for the first time to his daughter, Kristina. After about two years, he moved his family to Lost Hills in Kern County from Santa Maria, where they raised their family for over a decade. There, he oversaw a large farm, growing a variety of crops, including wheat, alfalfa and cotton. His two sons, Kirk and Garett, were born in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Don considered raising his family to be his greatest achievement. He and Joanne were absolutely dedicated to their children and were marvelous, loving parents.
Eventually, he and Joanne bought their own land in the same area and moved to Wasco when their kids were more involved in high school. Now with a farm of his own, he applied his experience in large-scale farming to his own property and grew his holdings over time. He remained there, actively farming for the next forty years. Don was still a vigorous man of the land well into his seventies.
Developing agricultural properties was at the root of his passion for farming, especially ones that posed challenges to conventional methods. He found deep fulfillment in being out on his land, immersed in the process of nurturing healthy crops and discovering creative ways to cause growth in inhospitable conditions.
Serving for over 50 years as a dedicated and valued community member, Don served on many boards for various causes. For over 30 years, he served on the Lost Hills Union School Board and the Lost Hills Water District Board, serving multiple terms as president. He was a member of the Elks Lodge and served several terms as the Exhalted Ruler. He was deeply connected to the mission of the Elks. Originally initiated into Santa Maria Elks Lodge #1538 he demitted to Wasco Lodge #2419 after moving to Kern County. He was known as a dependable source of wisdom and insight. One Water Board member said, “If I came to him with a question. He had very thoughtful ideas.”
He is survived by his two adult children: daughter Kristi Spitzer, her husband Brent, son Kirk and his wife Marla. He also leaves to the world four grandchildren who he loved more than ice cream: Blake Ferini (Alyssa), Lauren, Sara and Ava Elholm, and four great-grandchildren: Lucas, Levi, Nora, and Enzo Donald Ferini. His ride or die sister-in-law Judy, and of course, many much-loved nieces and nephews, cousins and life-long friends mourn his passing. He was preceded in death by his brothers, John and Ray, his parents, Herbert and Doris Elholm, beloved son Garett Elholm who passed tragically at age 19, and his devoted wife of over 60 years, Joanne.
His humble, generous nature was a joy to experience. He was one of those rare people who would quietly and sweetly give the shirt from his own back if it would help another, and never brag about or mention having done so. In 2021, Don was baptized into the Catholic church. This opening of his heart was profoundly meaningful, especially to Joanne, a lifelong, devout Catholic.
On Monday, May 22, 2023, a visitation will be at Doughty-Calhoun O’Meara Funeral Home, 1100 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield, California, from 4:00 - 7:00 pm. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at 10:00 am at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church 12300 Reina Road in Bakersfield. The mass will be preceded by the Recitation of the Holy Rosary at 9:30 am. His final resting place will be at the Cayucos-Morro Bay Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Building Fund, or the Elks State Major Project.