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Donald L. Gustafson - 78

7/8/1938 - 5/24/2017
Reno, Nevada
Don Gustafson, age 78, passed away on May 24, 2017, in Reno, Nevada, at St Mary’s Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. He was born on July 8, 1938, in Princeton, Illinois, to Floyd and Marjorie Gustafson. He lived in Walnut, Illinois, until he left for college in 1956. During high school, he enjoyed being class president and the captain of the football team his senior year and was always active in sports. While in high school, he met the love of his life, Marilyn Gallentine. After dating through high school and college, they were married on June 26, 1960, in Walnut. Don graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree and in 1965 with a master’s degree in geology. While in Colorado their daughter, Dawn, was born. Don’s first job took him and his family to Reno, Nevada, where he worked for the Anaconda Copper Company. While in Reno their daughter, Kimberley, was born. They moved to Yerington, Nevada, in 1966 for Don to work at the Yerington Copper Mine as a geologist. In 1971, the family moved to Butte, Montana, with Anaconda and Don worked in the underground mines and the Berkeley Pit. Four years later, Don changed jobs and went to work for Homestake Mining Company in Reno, Nevada, and started working in gold. After exploring for gold for seven years, Don was instrumental in the discovery of the McLaughin Gold Mine in Northern Napa County, California. The mine was in production from 1985 to 2004 and produced 3.4 million ounces of gold. He was a long-time member of GSN, ATPG and SME. In 1985, Don became Vice President and Director of Homestake International. His travels took him to the South Pacific, Asia, South America and North America. He had many interesting encounters with the native people of each country he visited including Indonesia, China, Mongolia and Djibouti, Africa. In 1990, Don ventured out and formed his own exploration company, Gustafson Minerals International. In 1996, Don became president of Quest Mining Company and his geology work took him primarily to Honduras, Canada and the U.S. In 2000, Don went to work for Golden Cycle Gold Corporation as the Vice President of Exploration. He worked in China and Nevada. In 2008, he decided to travel less for work and became a director for Columbus Gold out of Vancouver, Canada. He and Marilyn enjoyed traveling and cruising to many foreign countries and the U.S. He was a member of Montreux Golf Club for many years and enjoying golfing, sailing, tennis and bridge. Don was a supportive husband, father and grandfather who was always there for his family and who instilled his love for travel in his daughters and grandchildren. Don’s pride and joy were his grandchildren and he went to all of their sporting and school events while he was able. Don is preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Marjorie. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, daughters, Dawn Welsh (Cary Welsh) from Reno, NV, and Kimberley Gustafson (Nic Capule) from Larkspur, CA, his grandchildren, Connor and Amber Welsh from Reno, NV, his sister, Nancy Hopkins and brother-in-law, Dr. Jim Hopkins from Des Moines, IA, sister-in- law, Charlene Warr from Covina, CA, and several nieces and nephews. A burial service will be held on June 10 at 11:00 a.m. at the Walnut Cemetery, Walnut, Illinois. Viewing will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Garland Funeral Home, 14733 Il Hwy 92, Walnut, IL 61376. A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, June 15 at 1:00 p.m. at South Reno United Methodist Church, 200 DeSpain Lane, Reno, NV. In memory of Donald Gustafson, gifts can be made to the University of Colorado for an endowment to be used towards scholarships for students in the Geology Department. Point of contact is: Jasmin Brooks, University of Colorado, Office of Advancement, 1305 University Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302. Or, a donation may be made to the First Christian Church, 109 Red Oak Road, Walnut, IL, 61376.

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