The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley


Robert Edgar Danforth


August 15, 2013

Robert Edgar (Bob) Danforth, 83, passed away on August 6, 2013 at his home in Walla Walla. He died of cancer after a courageous one year battle and was sur- rounded by his wife Barbara and other family members at the time of his passing.

Bob was born Sept. 7, 1929 in Spokane, Washing- ton to Edgar Smith and Ag- nes Pierre Danforth. He was preceded in death by his fa- ther Edgar at the age of one. His mother remarried Otto Schmitt in 1935 and they moved to the Lance Hills area of Cheney, WA. He had one older sister, Mary Frances, and five siblings younger than him including a younger brother Donnie who died at the age of four.

He attended grade school, junior high and 3 years of high school in Cheney. He was an outstanding high school athlete in boxing, football, basketball and baseball. He moved to Waitsburg in the summer of 1946 to live with his uncle Joe Pierre and their family. He graduated from Waits- burg High School in 1947.

Bob enrolled at Univer- sity of Washington in the fall of 1948 and joined the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. He loved the fraternity experi- ence with its camaraderie, brotherhood and support. His love of Phi Kappa Sigma continued until his death and his two sons and two grand- sons also joined the same fraternity in later years.

He joined the United States Marine Corp in 1950 and served for 4 years reach- ing the rank of Staff Ser- geant. Bob was also a Drill Instructor for 18 months and he served in the Korean War for 1 year. The Marines helped shape his character, perseverance, compassion and patriotism that he car- ried throughout his adult life. Semper Fi!

Bob married Barbara Cockburn on July 6, 1952 in Walla Walla. They spent their first year of marriage in California while he was in the Marines. This was followed by his time in the war. Bob and Barbara re- turned to Waitsburg in 1954 and moved to the family farm at Alto, north of Waits- burg. They farmed together from 1954 to 1996 and later moved to Walla Walla in 2006.

Bob was very active in numerous organizations in the community. He was a 50 year member of the Waits- burg Lions Club including President in 1965 and was awarded Melvin Jones Fel- low in 2000. He served on the Waitsburg School Board for 8 years. He was raised as a Master Mason in 1955 at the Waitsburg Lodge #16 F & AM. He served as Master several times and in April of 2013 he received the Grand Masters Achieve- ment Award which was one of his greatest personal achievements. He was also a member of Royal Arch Masons, Knight Templar, Scottish Rite Masons and El Katif Shrine Temple in Spo- kane and the Blue Mountain Shrine Club.

Bob and Barbara have been very active in the Waits- burg Presbyterian Church where he was an ordained Elder and a Deacon. He was also on the Columbia REA Board, WWCC Foundation Board, the Baker Boyer Farm Board and the Whit- man College Farm Board.

One of his favorite ac- tivities was supporting the University of Washington football team and other athletics such as UW crew. Bob was a lifelong supporter of Waitsburg High School athletics. In later life his hobbies included golf with his children and grandchildren as well as fishing. They traveled extensively and enjoyed history and geneal- ogyhellip;and especially family gatherings.

Bob is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara and their three children. These are son and daughter- in-law Robert Jr. and Les- lie Danforth of Issaquah; daughter and son-in-law Susie and Mitchell Payne of Dayton and son and daugh- ter-in-law David and Nancy Danforth of Redmond. Bob and Barbara have 8 grand- children: Jonathan, Nicholas & Cameron Danforth; Andrea & Molly Payne; and 2nd LT Christopher, Amanda & Ashley Dan- forth. He is also survived by siblings Raymond and Ronald Schmitt and Arlene Mowatt of Cheney and nu- merous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father and mother and also his older sister Mary Danforth Heffner and half-sister Laura Schmitt Berggren.

The memorial service was Saturday August 10 at 11am at the Waitsburg Presbyterian Church. This was followed by grave side service at the Waitsburg City Cemetery. Memorial contri- butions should be made in lieu of flowers to the Shri- ners Hospital for Children in Spokane or Walla Walla Community Hospice.


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