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Obituary for Donald J. Avery 

July 16, 1937- Nov. 7, 2020

Donald J. Avery, a Camp Roberts Military Base legend, will be laid to rest Dec. 1, 2020, at 12 p.m., at the Paso Robles Cemetery. The public is welcome, COVID-19 restrictions will be in place.

Written and submitted by Amber Avery-Torrey:

The history of Donald Jay Avery and Camp Roberts Military Base

In 1935 Miss Angela Rosemary Bettencourt was married to Mr. Dorwin Jay Avery in Gilroy, California. They started a family in 1936 soon after moving to San Miguel, California.

They had six children: Pearl 1936, Don 1937 (Irish twin), Dale 1940, Dick 1941, Betty 1945, and Darlene 1950.

In 1946 the Avery Family moved to Camp Roberts Military Base, where Grandpa Dutch was a Post Engineer Supervisor and Grandma Ann was a Managing PX *Post Exchange. Grandpa Dutch would go on to work 32 years straight without ever taking a sick day, because of this a road and reservoir were named in his honor. He was called the Builder of the Base. Dad had his first job on base too, from ages 9-12 he had the duty of driving up the hill each morning to check the water tank in Grandpa’s 1938 brown Pontiac. Dad learned how to drive during that time. In 2019, dad drove me up to see where the old water tank was and we looked at the old barracks and he told me about the young boys who were runners for the base. He reminisced about his early family life and living on base at Camp Roberts and showed me the area where his house was, where now only oak trees remain.

Dad’s favorite pet was Teddy, he was a Fox Terrier and lived on base with him.

Dad’s favorite song is an old cowboy song called Lose Talk by Carl Smith. He told me about concerts on base, and how one infamous boxer came to visit the troops, as well as other musicians who performed to boost the morale of the troops during the Korean War.

In 1950 during the war, dad and his brothers, Dale and Dick, collected Coke bottles out of all the attics on the Camp Roberts base and they all bought new bikes. There was even money left over! They bought 3 new bikes at 37.00 apiece, dad recalled with delight.

In 1951 The Avery family moved to Park Street in Paso Robles, California.

Dad became a Buck Sargent in 1955-1962, that’s the same year he went to the local Polar Freeze across the street from Flamson Middle School on Spring Street and met mom, an employee who fell in love with his hands over a vanilla milkshake order.

In 1961, mom and dad (Don and Karen Avery) were married on Park Street in Paso Robles in which 300 guests attended the wedding.

Dad worked for the City of Paso Robles for 26 years.

Dad had four children: in 1962, Tess, in 1966, Lila, in 1972, Donni, and in 1976, Amber. In 1974 the Avery family moved to Chesnut Street in Paso Robles, Calif.

Dad worked for the State Hospital in Atascadero Ca for 32 years

In 1987, the Avery Moved to LaPaz Lane in Atascadero, Calif.

In 1999 dad moved to Shannon Hill, Paso Robles, Calif. where he enjoyed retirement.

Facts about Don Avery:

His best friend was Charlie Wyrick circa 1944, and then later Butch and Teen Pedia in 1950, both Paso Robles residents.

Dad’s mentor growing up was Mr. Bob Tullock, his father in law “The Templeton Blacksmith.” But his greatest teacher and role model was always his own father.

He is proud of his 8 grandchildren: Mariah, Luke, Bailey, Bella, Abbey, Donni Jr., and Ella, and one great-grandson: Asher.

Dad has volunteered for 11 years at Camp Roberts Historical Society.

On Nov. 7, 2020 Dad went to Camp Roberts Historical Museum, as usual, to report for his regular volunteer duty, during his shift, Dad fell and went into Cardiac Arrest. The ambulance took him to French Hospital, where later Dad drew his last breath, and went to heaven to join his Father, Mother, Brother Dick, and Sister Betty, as well as many, many more relatives and friends.


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