Donald Nyquist

Donald Irving Nyquist
March 1, 1934— August 21, 2017Don Nyquist
Beloved husband, father, and grandfather died of complications of Parkinson’s Disease.  Born on the high plains in Great Falls, Montana on March 1, 1934, Don was always a country boy at heart. The eldest of three sons born to Edna and Irv Nyquist, he spent summers working on his grandparents’ wheat farm in Dutton, instilling in him a lifelong love of the outdoors. He relished hikes in the great wildernesses of Montana, epic beachcombing strolls, and adventures around the globe with Jan, his beloved wife of 63 years.
Although young Don  dreamed wistfully of one day working his grandparents’ homestead, the encounter with the love of his life and the Korean War intervened.  While attending the University of Montana, Don met Jan Dell Dickey, a Texas beauty who stole his heart. Don and Jan wed in 1955, then moved to Fort Collins, CO for his basic training with the US Army. A near-fatal brush with pneumonia prevented his deployment and sent them back to the University of Montana to complete their degrees.
By the age of 26, Don and Jan had four children to raise, so instead of becoming a wheat farmer, he put his business degree to work and joined his parents and brothers in expanding their financial services company, first opening a branch in Glasgow, MT, then later another in Missoula, where they lived until 1979. After the company was sold in 1977, he worked as a commercial real estate and insurance broker in Missoula and later in Bellevue, WA.
In the decades that followed, Don and Jan began their travel adventures around the world, such as touring Central America on a Green Tortoise bus, navigating a barge through the canal systems of Ireland, teaching English in China, trekking in Nepal, cruising the Pacific Ocean on a working freighter, driving a rented Volkswagen Rabbit from Paris to Morocco to Croatia, and traversing the Negev Desert on camels, to name just a few.  In 2010, they lived and worked in Entebbe, Uganda as members of a mission team for Wycliffe Bible Translators USA.
Even though their travels took them far and wide for extended periods of time, Don and Jan cherished their times with their children and their families, and any occasion was cause for boisterous celebration with extravagant meals, lavish desserts, games, jigsaw puzzles, conversation, and  laughter. No winter holiday season was complete without Don’s famous Christmas Punch.
Never a man of many words, Don taught his children by example the value of perseverance and hard work. He loved to garden and grew spectacular vegetables and flowers until Parkinson’s made it impossible.
Don taught his children to fish the mountain streams  and lakes of Montana and showed remarkable patience as one child after another tangled the line in the brush or lost the bait. He passed the Montana tradition of big game hunting to his sons, and taught all of his children how to backpack and navigate the wild places of his native state.  He had a natural mechanical aptitude and could build or repair just about anything.
Don loved games of all kinds and could school all comers with his unreturnable ping pong serve and wicked badminton backhand well into his seventies.
Don was a paragon of strength, both physical and mental. There was seemingly nothing his 6-foot 6-inch frame couldn’t handle, whether carrying a 90-pound pack deep into  Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness or living fully for 23 years with Parkinson’s Disease. He had a remarkable work ethic and only quit when the job was done. He  was a man of great moral rectitude and principles, and his
word was his bond. He was profoundly loyal and devoted to his cherished wife and family and deeply committed to his Christian faith.
He is survived by his dearly loved wife Jan and their four children and their spouses, Lee Nyquist (LaVonne), Katherine Thompson (Guy), Terry Nyquist (David Garcia) and Brent Nyquist (Sarah Selleck), six grandchildren, Ben (Allison), Daniel (Jessie), Jacob (Laura Bonawitz),  Zach (Kayla Hackman), Lauren and Katherine, six great grandchildren, Colin, Max, Matthias, Tiernan, Victoria, and Aaron, his two  brothers, Morris Nyquist and Paul Nyquist,  and numerous friends around the world.
Charitable gifts may be donated in Don’s name to The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation at
A celebration of his life and love will be held at the Chapel of the Resurrection in Bothell, WA on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 2 pm.


  1. Doris Reich
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I know this is a bittersweet time for you all because you know where your father is. He was such a dear man and Marvin and I got our fiirst strawberries from them in Missoula. Marvin went Home a year ago in April and I’m sure they will be meeting in Heaven. Love you all and pray for God to comfort you. Sincerely, Doris

  2. Ross & Sharon Webb
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Don was a faithful participant in the Evergreen Medical Center Men’s Parkinson Support Group. As a fellow “Parky” I met Don in 2010 & we met Jan about a year later. I recall calling Don to go for a walk & get better acquainted, and he responded by joining me. Not aware of his knees suffering from pain, I must have walked him at least 2 miles before he informed me he needed to rest. I finally became aware of his knee condition & felt badly that I had not been more sensitive. He & I subsequently met for coffee or lunch & we kept the walking to a minimum. I always enjoyed hearing about Don & Jan’s travels & adventures, & Don was easygoing & good to spend time with to hear his stories. He & Jan always came to our Annual Picnic & Valentine Dinner & we will miss them both in the coming year events. It was a privilege to have known Don these past few years & I extend my condolences to his many family members. Ross Webb

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