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Don died in an auto accident near Aberdeen, Washington, on March 31, 1981, at the age of 58. He was born in Sheridan, Wyoming, on September 19, 1922. At a young age the family moved to Missoula where he graduated from high school. Don began studies in forestry at MSU in Bozeman and, at age 19, he was employed as a smokejumper and made one fire jump before registering for the draft on June 30, 1942. He served as an Army Infantry Lieutenant in the European theater during WWII. Upon his release from the Army,he returned to MSU where he was on the football team and a member of the Druids, an organization of upper-class forestry majors. Following graduation, he went on to Yale University where he earned a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology. At the time of his death he was employed at a plant pathologist for the USFS in Spokane, WA.



Publication Date

August 2020


Smokejumping; Smokejumpers -- United States; National Smokejumper Association; Wildfire fighters; Obituaries


Forest Management

Smokejumper Obituary: Leaphart, Charles Donald (Missoula 1942)