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Donal Ray Mullineaux

February 16, 1925 ~ January 23, 2021 (age 95)


Donal Ray Mullineaux of Arvada, Colorado died at home on Saturday, January 23, 2021. He was 95. 


He was born at the base of Mt. Shasta in Weed, California on February 16, 1925, the son of Lester Ray and Mary Lorene (Drew) Mullineaux. He met his future wife, Diana Suzanne (Charais) Mullineaux during a climb of Mt. Adams in Washington State, and the two were married on November 21, 1951. 


Don's career combined a commitment to service with a love of the mountains.  He grew up in the mill town of Camas, Washington, near the volcanic peaks of Mount St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood. He worked as a fire-spotter for the U.S. Forest Service before completing a BS in Mathematics and a MS and PhD in Geology at the University of Washington. During this time, he also served in the U.S. Navy in WWII on the destroyer USS Mulany. He was called upon again during the Korean War, where he was a gunnery officer on the destroyer USS Hazelwood. After completing his doctorate, he joined the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle, mapping mud flow deposits in the Puget Sound area to assess risk to local communities. He then moved to Colorado to work with the USGS Engineering Geology group. With his career-long professional partner Rocky Crandall, whom he met in 1953, he investigated the eruption history of Mt. St. Helens volcano, and the two wrote a paper predicting an imminent eruption. Don served as the spokesman and Chief Scientist of the USGS Emergency Response Team during the lead-up to the Mt. St. Helens eruption on May 18, 1980, and this group's risk assessment and recommendations were credited with saving lives.


He enjoyed fixing and flying old cars and airplanes, and was an avid downhill skier, a sport which he continued actively into his later years, becoming a regular at Loveland Basin. He happily supplied friends and family with used skis, snowboards, and associated gear, collected at seasonal sales and distributed from his home, known to many as Don's Ski Barn. He also was an avid birder, a devoted supporter of educational opportunities for Native American students, and passionate about civil liberties. 


Don was preceded in death by his wife Diana in 2006 and his older brother Richard Mullineaux in 2014. He leaves three children and their spouses, Peter and Leann Mullineaux of Lafayette, Lauren Mullineaux of Falmouth Massachusetts (husband Mark Grosenbaugh died in 2012), and Keith and Lisa Mullineaux of Centennial, a foster daughter Rebecca Finch, and 6 grandchildren: Tim Mullineaux, Lindsay Mullineaux, Cara Mullineaux, Andrew (AJ) Grosenbaugh, Michelle Mullineaux, and Gus Grosenbaugh. 


A celebration of life will be held at a later date. 


" The family of Don Mullineaux requests that you do NOT purchase flowers or tributes in his memory. Instead, please show your support for Don's memory and our beautiful National Parks and Forests by supporting the National Parks Conservation Association or the National Forest Foundation."



You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Donal Ray Mullineaux
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