Donald Melvin Gustin

Donald Gustin picture for paperDonald (Melvin) Gustin passed away Tuesday, August 23rd, at home with family by his side.  He was 87 years old.

Melvin was born July 31, 1929 to Clay and Hilda (Pflepsen) Gustin in Troy, Idaho.

He grew up and lived in Helmer, Idaho attending grade school in Helmer and graduating from Deary High School in 1947.

Melvin joined the U.S. Army in July 1948 with initial training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  He served 4 years and was discharged in 1952 after serving in the Korean War.

Upon his return from military service, Melvin began work with Potlatch Forests Inc. (later known as Potlatch Corporation) in July 1952 and retired in 1991 after 39 years in logging operations based out of Bovill, Idaho.

Melvin married Mary Proctor in Moscow on December 27, 1954 making their initial home in Avery, Idaho for 2 years before settling back to Helmer.  There they raised their three children, Janice, Peggy and Michael.  In 2003, Melvin and Mary moved to Lewiston, Idaho where he lived until his death.

He was always excited to spend time with his children and grandchildren whenever possible.

Melvin enjoyed traveling in the Pacific Northwest and researching the history of the region, in particular, the history of the Native Americans and early explorers.  He also had great interest in railroads and trains which he maintained from an early age.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, of 61 years at their Lewiston home; daughter Janice (Tim) Jones of Deary, grandchildren Nikolas (Jennifer) Jones, Kamas (Tyler) Peterson and great grandchildren Anthony Schlag, Parker Jones, Hadley Peterson and Tillie Peterson; daughter Peggy (Tim) Kimberling of Kellogg, grandson Quintin Kimberling; son Michael (Loreto) Gustin, of Santiago Chile, grandsons Christian, Daniel and Lucas Gustin.

In addition to his parents, Melvin was preceded in death by his brother, Gerald Gustin; sister-in-law, Sheila Gustin and niece, Wendy Gustin.

A graveside service will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the Pinecrest Cemetery in Deary, Idaho.  Pastor Murray Stanton of the Deary Zion Lutheran Church will officiate.

Memorials are suggested to the Deary Fire Department; St. Joseph Family Hospice; or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

His cremation and service arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow and online condolences may be sent to


3 Responses to Donald Melvin Gustin


    We remember Mel as a kind and generous human, always placing family first. He and Mary raised three wonderful children and were instrumental in shaping the lives of their grandchildren. Mel was always curious about his surroundings and infected others with that curiosity. We feel privileged to have known him. No small part of his goodness can no doubt be attributed to his loving wife, Mary. We will all miss him.

  2. Sally Roberts, Helmer Store & Cafe says:

    Melvin was a delightful person and a true gentleman. I shall treasure the time he and Mary were my neighbors and always enjoy the pictures I have at the cafe on my Helmer history wall of his younger years. He will be remember

  3. Judie Halseth says:

    Claude and I enjoyed the Mel Gustin’s and his parents, too. The girls babysat for our children a few times. Melvin always brought me the weater report for Helmer to put in the Talk of the Town. Our love and prayers to his family.

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