Donald Lee Grainger (April 1922 – January 2024)

Donald Lee Grainger (April 1922 – January 2024)

January 1st 2024 Donald Lee Grainger was called to rest. Born on April 15th, 1922, Don Grainger was a lifelong rancher. Born to his parents Bert and Mary Grainger, he grew up in Santa Paula, California and as a young boy he worked on the family ranch delivering milk for their small dairy to the residents of Santa Paula with his brothers. An avid mechanic from a young age, he would repair Model T Fords to drive around as he grew up. Graduating from Santa Paula Union High School in 1941, he quickly found himself signing up for Naval service following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served our nation from 1942 till after the close of the war in 1946, ending his service as an Aviation Machinist Mate, Third Class, Petty Officer.
That year he met the first love of his life Dorothea Grimaldi. They were married in June of 1947 and settled into a home Don had built on the family property in Santa Paula. Returning to farming, in 1951 Don and Dorothea purchased a ranch in Antelope Valley eventually moving there with their two daughters Sheryll and Darlene. There he grew alfalfa and wheat on his farm and 7000 acres of leased land with the help of his family. Active with the 4-H and FFA he taught farm equipment repair as well as working as an irrigation engineer and was an active member in the community joining the Lancaster Lodge 437 Masons. He and his family faced the challenges of farming in the Antelope Valley continually growing his farm until a new opportunity arose close to childhood home.

In 1976 the orange ranch in Fillmore come up for sale and became their home in 1977. This would be Don and Dorothea’s home for the rest of their lives. Applying all he had learned he quickly became a successful Citrus farmer and fixture amongst the Bardsdale population. The beauty of the ranch brought so much peace to Don and Dorothea; his wife would describe it as their “little piece of heaven.” With visits from their daughters and grandchildren happiness abounded on this ranch for many years. They would take many travels together seeing the world. Don would unfortunately lose Dorothea to cancer in 1990, leaving a large hole in his life.

In the following years, a friendship with an old high school friend, Virginia MacMurray, developed into a loving partnership between the two and eventually into their marriage in 1993. As the years went on Don would continue to run the farm and get to meet his great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. He and “Ginny” would take time to travel and making new friends on their travels around the world as well as great friends through the Bardsdale United Methodist Church. Ginny would pass in December 2019 leaving Don alone again. With the support of family Don would continue for another four years until his passing in January 2024. He is survived by both his daughters, his four grandchildren, six great grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren and a legacy to work hard and be a good person to those around you.