American Veteran 01

Donald L. Atterbury

May 11, 1929 ~ January 9, 2021 (age 91)


On Saturday, January 9th, 2021, Donald Lee Atterbury of Eureka CA, passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 91.

Don was born on May 11, 1929 in Portland, Oregon to Casper and Wretha (Mc Cormick) Atterbury. After growing up in Portland, he moved to Humboldt County in the early 1950s and joined the Navy in 1952 where he was stationed in San Diego as an Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class, served on the USS Curtiss during 1954 Operation Castle atomic bomb testing in the Bikini Atolls, and then on the USS Oriskany at Atsugi Naval Air Station in Japan.

In August 1956, Don married the love of his life, Mary'l Luther in Eureka, CA. It was a marriage that would last for 61 years until Mary'l's death in 2017. They built a house in Eureka, raised three children there, and both passed in that very same home.

Don received a bachelor's degree and teaching credential from Humboldt State in 1960 and was a dedicated elementary school teacher in the South Bay Union School District until retirement in 1992.

During the nearly 70 years living in Humboldt County, Don generously gave his time to the community sharing his love of singing and Humboldt Bay. He was an avid member of the Humboldt Harmonaires chorus, sang in numerous quartets, and was presented with his 50-year pin in 2020, an accomplishment he was quite proud of.

Don was the skipper of the Sea Scout Ship Yankee for over forty years, mentoring kids in boating and life skills in and around Humboldt bay. He was one of the founding members in 1977 of the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum and volunteered until just a few years ago.

Since 1983, Don assisted with restoring and then yearly maintenance on the Madaket while she was on the ways every year up to last.

Don was a dedicated and loving husband, father, mentor and friend.

His presence will be deeply missed by so many!

Don is preceded in death by his wife, Mary'l and is survived by his three children Bruce Atterbury, Chris (Jim) Andresen, and Karen Arruda, five grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren.

Due to COVID, services will be postponed until further notice.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald L. Atterbury, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Donald L. Atterbury
© 2021 Sanders Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy