DONALD LEO SIMASKO
May 21, 1930 - August 11, 2020
“Do good, be nice.” These words were the North Star Don Simasko lived by in his big 90-year life dedicated to family, friends, and making the world a better place. Don met life with vision, creativity, gusto and a hearty laugh that crinkled his eyes. He was an entrepreneur, fearless risk taker, successful independent oilman in Alaska and western states, artist of note, adventurer, master storyteller, craftsman of intricate models, traveler, student of WWII, concertina virtuoso, whistler of classical music, bird man of Littleton, dominos aficionado, and maker of “Grandpa’s Famous Ribs.” He loved the outdoor lifestyle of the West, especially exploring all things Alaska with his four sons.
Donald was born in Milwaukee, WI to Leo and Rose Simasko. For college, he headed west to the University of Denver where he earned a degree in theater arts, then spent 2 years as a teacher and director of high school and community theater in Casper, WY. To support a growing family with his first wife Lillian (Jaeger), he launched a new career in the oil and gas industry where he thrived for 30 years, including 21 years in Alaska operating his own exploration and production company. In 1980, he was elected president of American Association of Petroleum Landmen. After retiring from that industry, Don co-founded Omega Management Education Group, a training and consulting firm, with his wife Barbara. In early 2000, Don reclaimed his artistic roots and pursued his vision of becoming an artist of note. He was a principal in The Garage Gallery & Studio in Littleton, CO.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 38 years, Barbara in Littleton, and sons Andy (Kathy) in Eagle River, AK, Joel (Marie) in Portland, OR, Steve (Wanda) in Pullman, WA and Jim (Darla) in Denver, sister Marion Benvenuto in Milwaukee, nieces and nephews, 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Don was preceded in death by his former wife, Lillian, brother Tom and granddaughter Corinne.
Life will not be the same without him.
Memorial services will be held on Friday July 16, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Drinkwine Family Chapel.
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