Donald Rafelson

March 5, 1930 - November 23, 2018

Donald Sydney Rafelson was born March 5, 1930. He passed to that mystery that awaits all mortals on Nov. 23, 2018.

Rafe — as those who knew him referred to him — grew up at 110 Riverside Drive in New York City, NY. He attended Brown University before transferring to North Carolina Textile Institute, earning his degree in textile engineering in 1952. Rafe served in the U.S. Army from June of 1952 to June of 1954. After his service, he worked as a textile engineer in the Garment Center of NYC, working every aspect from sales to designing weave to fashion consulting.

In 1974, Rafe left the city for Oregon, arriving in Hood River in August of 1974. He owned a home construction company between 1974 and 1978, building almost 40 homes in the Mid-Columbia area. In 1984, Rafe married Regena Bartholomew and began a Pacific Northwest adventure of mountaineering, summiting mounts Adams, Hood, St. Helens, Washington, Broken Top and most of Rainier, as well as many peaks in California and Nevada. He became an avid hiker, backpacker, mountain biker and telemark skier when most men his age were planning their retirements. In April of 2018, Rafe celebrated the “halfway mark”: 44 years in NYC and 44 years in Oregon.

Rafe is survived by his wife, Regena; his brother, Bob Rafelson of Aspen, Colo.; son, Timothy Rafelson of Carbondale, Colo.; daughter, Chia Rafelson of Portland, Ore.; granddaughter, Sabre Scout Rafelson; nephew, Peter Rafelson of Los Angeles, Calif.; and nephews E.O. and Harper Rafelson of Aspen. He was preceded in death by his parents Sydney and Marjorie (Blumenfeld) Rafelson, and niece Julie.

At Rafe’s request, there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Heart of Hospice.


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