Donald J. Barsotti, 86, surrounded by family and friends, died at his home in Salinas, Calif., on the morning of May 11, 2010.
Don visited the Ketchum/Sun Valley area with his wife, Lorrayne, four to six times a year after his sons, Brian and Brent, moved to Ketchum and started Barsotti & Benz at the base of Warm Springs in 1979. He skied and golfed with many Ketchum locals who enjoyed his banter and sense of humor.
Don was born on March 2, 1924, in Fresno, Calif. He attended grammar schools in Alameda and Jackson, Calif, graduating from Jackson High School. He attended Fresno State College then transferred to Salinas Junior College where he was the first editor of the Panther Sentinel.
His college career was cut short when he joined the Army Air Corps at the outbreak of World War II. He ultimately achieved the rank of first lieutenant as a first pilot on C-47 Troop Carriers. He was awarded the Air Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, and received Seven Battle Stars on his European theatre ribbon. Having just turned 20 years old, he was one of the youngest pilots in the European theatre operations. He flew in seven major battles from Normandy to Berlin. He also flew in the Berlin Airlift at the conclusion of the war.
Don was a charter member of both the Salinas Y's Men's Club and Salinas Jaycees. He was the first Key Man of the Jaycees. He was a member of the Salinas Toastmaster Club, past President of tbe Salinas Grower Shipper Vegetable Association and Salinas Rotary Club. He was a Paul Harris Fellow and a session leader for the California-Nevada President Elect Training Seminar of Rotary. He was the 1984 Rotarian of the Year. He was a former director of the California Rodeo, Bank of America in Salinas, Hartnell Foundation and Community Foundation for Monterey County. He was a former member of the Monterey County Sheriffs Advisory Council and a volunteer Truancy Mediator for the Monterey County District Attorney. He was a charter member of Corral de Tierra Country Club, and a 40-year volunteer for the Bing Crosby/AT&T Golf Tournament. He was a former member of the Elks and the 1912 Club. He was Little League coach for his sons and their friends for over five years. Don was an ardent golfer, avid Forty-Niner fan, tennis player, water and snow skier (averaging over 20 skier days well into his 80s).
Don is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lorrayne; three sons, Brace (Billie) of Huntington Beach, Calif., Brian and Brent of Ketchum, Idaho; grandsons, Dominic and Blake; and granddaughters, Taryn, Gianna and Stella Rose.
In his memory, donations have been made to the Bald Mountain Rescue Fund P.O. Box 370, Ketchum, ID 83340.