Donald Conrad Lucas passed away January 7, 2022 at the age of 91, holding the hand of his dear wife of 62 years, Beverly, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and a short battle with Covid-19. He will be greatly missed by his wife, their four children, and their nine grandchildren, ages 40 to 4 1/2. Don was the last surviving child of Charles Elias Lucas, a railroad safety officer, and Alma Lauritze Hansen, a homemaker and immigrant from Norway, and he’s no doubt being joyfully greeted by his parents and all five of his siblings.

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Don was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 18, 1930, the middle child between two sets of twins. He grew up in Depression-era Salt Lake City and Southern California, where he fondly recalled picking and eating fresh oranges, straight out of the plentiful groves. He loved his mother’s freshly baked bread (so much that he was known to sneak home from church to cut off the heel of the bread and scoop out and eat the insides, replacing the crust to hide his crime).

At age 17, he followed his thirst for adventure and traveled across the United States with a friend, working odd jobs along the way. They made it as far as St. Louis, and after about a year, he headed back home, where his dad got him a job with the Union Pacific Railroad.

At age 21, Don enlisted in the Navy and was stationed on the USS Bairoko, where he served as an electrician’s mate during the Korean War. In 1954, he and his shipmates witnessed the Castle Bravo thermonuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands, and he vividly recalled the experience of trying to (unsuccessfully) outrun the nuclear fallout.

After he was discharged from the Navy, Don briefly studied commercial art at the University of Utah, where he finished several abstract paintings that would hang in his family home for decades. Realizing the limitations of a career in art, Don quite literally shifted gears and started driving for IML trucking, where he worked for 28 years, cementing his lifelong habit of rising well before the crack of dawn and going to bed hours before nightfall. He relished the solitude of the early morning hours, where he’d enjoy a cup of coffee, a chocolate-chocolate donut, and the Salt Lake Tribune, which he’d read in its entirety before heading off to work at IML, or later at PIE, CCI, or Yellow Freight.

Still a bachelor at the age of 29, Don attended the Greater Salt Lake car races one summer with his brother, Willy, where they were lounging on the hood of Don’s red 1959 Corvette. A young telephone operator and hairdresser strolled by on the arm of another man. Willy was already acquainted with the young lady, so he gave Don her phone number. Don called her a few days later. Within the month, Don and Beverly had eloped to Elko, Nevada, where the county judge took a break from a murder trial in order to marry them in the basement of the courthouse on August 28, 1959.

Nine and a half months later, on June 15, 1960, they welcomed their first daughter, Karste. Shortly thereafter, the young family purchased their forever home in Sandy, Utah—a brand-new, white-brick rambler with weeping mortar and a price tag of $14,500. They welcomed another daughter, Lynsey, in 1962. When the girls were ages 10 and 8, respectively, they were blessed with a mischievous little brother, Travis, followed two years later by a baby sister, Jennifer. Don worked tirelessly at a physically demanding job to provide for his family, exhibiting a strong work ethic and bedrock integrity that his children are forever grateful for.

In his spare time, Don loved taking his children water skiing on Deer Creek Reservoir and Utah Lake, swimming at the White Tower Swim Club, and embarking on road trips all over Utah. He was also an avid reader, devouring hundreds of mysteries, westerns, and thrillers, which he kept track of in a series of spiral notebooks, eventually running out of fresh material at the Sandy Library. He also helped keep at On the road again. Goin places that I’ve never been…I can’t wait to get on the road again. least five car magazines in business long past their heyday, reading them cover to cover before passing them along to other gear heads, including his son and grandsons.

After his retirement in 1991 (thanks Teamsters!), Don spent those early morning hours (post-coffee and donut) working out at a nearby gym, a habit he maintained well into his 80s. He also loved cruising around Sandy on his recumbent bicycle, working on Old Bess (his vintage Jeep truck), going on long walks, puttering in the yard, going to classic car shows, shooting at targets in the West Desert, organizing his tool shed, taking his grandchildren out for hamburgers and ice cream cones, and spoiling his grand-dogs with hand-cut apples and club crackers. On Sunday mornings, you could often find Don walking through a car lot in Sandy, inspecting all the new arrivals. At one point in his career, Don drove one of the car carriers that delivered those new vehicles, even backing them off the trailer and onto the lots—one of the more dangerous duties he shouldered, always without complaint.

Don and Beverly also went on a series of adventures in their retired years, attending country concerts, signing up for bus tours, and looking for historic trains to ride. Don’s love for trains rivaled his love for cars, but both were eclipsed by his love for his grandchildren, who will always remember his crisp button-down shirts worn with cowboy boots for fancy occasions, and his sweatshirts with the sleeves cut off for everyday. They’ll remember his love for classic rock and country music, the glider loveseat on his patio, his bright yellow truck, the wooden rubber band guns he carved for them and their friends, his homespun wisdom and old timey aphorisms (something about a bear and some buckwheat), and his artistry with a well-placed swear word.

Don was a man of few words, but he had a ready laugh—an unforgettable laugh. And you could see how much you meant to him just by the look in his eyes when he’d greet you. We all look forward to seeing that look again someday.

Services

Graveside Service

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park
17111 South Camp Williams Road
Bluffdale, UT 84065

Family

  • Survived By
  • Travis Lucas, Son
  • Beverly Lucas, Wife
  • Karste Lucas, Daughter
  • Lynsey Kemp, Daughter
  • Jennifer Lucas, Daughter
  • Magen Kuddes, Granddaughter
  • Carson Kuddes, Grandson
  • Eric Johnson, Grandson
  • Cameron Johnson, Grandson
  • Conrad Lucas, Grandson
  • Zachary Walker, Grandson
  • Riley Walker, Granddaughter
  • Keira Lucas, Granddaughter
  • Wyatt Lucas, Grandson
  • William Houston, Brother-in-Law
  • Marian Lyman, Sister-in-Law
  • Preceded in Death By
  • Charles Elias Lucas, Father
  • Alma Lauritze Hansen, Mother
  • Kenny Lucas, Brother
  • Bob Lucas, Brother
  • Rosemary Fawson, Sister
  • Willy Lucas, Brother
  • Wally Lucas, Brother

Life Story Info

Author

Travis Lucas

Post Date

Jan 14, 2022

Personal Info

Born

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Died

Sandy, Utah, United States

Cause of Death

Coronavirus

Age

91

Gender

Male

Religion and Beliefs

Latter-day Saint

Occupation

Truck Driver

Military Affiliation

  • Navy

Veteran

  • Korean War

Education

  • High School
    West High School
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Guestbook

Whoever wrote his obituary did a fantastic job. So wonderful to learn more of my neighbor since 1972. I used to be his home teacher for a few years. Always felt welcome. I was surprised he was 91. He never looked even close to that age. Even before he had a lawn service take care of his lawn it always looked great. I can still picture him either driving his truck or riding his three wheeler.

Douglas Shingleton , Sandy, UT, US Jan 15, 2022

What a wonderful tribute to your dad Jen and Family! I learned so much, what an amazing father an man! Sorry for your loss, thinking of you all! Many memories of your home and of your family. Thank you for the good times!

Love, Carrie

Carrie Wilson , West Jordan, UT, US Jan 15, 2022

We love this beautiful tribute for our Uncle Don! What an amazing and wonderful life!

Thank you for sharing the life photos, and life history. We so appreciated seeing them, documenting the incredible things he accomplished in his life.

We are grateful for your great family.

May you all be blessed with peace and comfort in your loss.

Karen (Fawson) and Dee Johnson and Family

Dee & Karen Johnson , North Ogden, UT, US Jan 14, 2022

What a beautiful tribute to your dear husband and father, and loving memories to carry you through. May the love of our Savior surround you during this time of sorrow you’re in our thoughts and prayers we love you.

Susan Kemp , Sandy, UT, US Jan 14, 2022

This is an amazing tribute to Don, such a great man that will be missed. Love to all his family

Jim , Provo, UT, US Jan 14, 2022

Timeline


  • 1931

    Robert, Kenneth, Don, Rosemary

  • 1932

    Robert, Rosemary, Don

  • 1936

    (back row) Robert, Charles, Alma, Kenneth (front row) Wall, Will, Don, Rosemary

  • 1939

    Rosemary, Robert, Kenneth, Donald, Wallace, Willis with Christmas treasures

  • 1940
  • 1940

    Wall, Don, Rosemary, Will, neighbor

  • 1948

    CE Lucas Family - (back row) Ken, Wall, Bob, Don, Will, (front row) Rosemary, Charles and Alma Lucas

  • 1948

    Ken, Wall, Don, Robert, Will

  • 1950
  • 1951

    USS Bairoko (CVE-115)

  • Jan 1951

    Don enters the Navy

  • 1959

    Don and Beverly's Wedding

  • 1959

    Don and Beverly's parents at their wedding reception

  • 1960
  • 1960

    Don with his daughter Karste

  • 1970
  • 1973

    IML Freight Inc.

  • 1980
  • 1983

    Yellow Freight Co.

  • 1988

    Don and Rosemary, late 80's

  • 1989

    Don and his family

  • 1990
  • 1995

    Wall, Rosemary, Don, Robert, Kenneth, Aunt Betty (in front)

  • 2000
  • 2008

    Beverly, Carol, Don, Rosemary, Robert

  • 2020
  • Jun 2021

    Don Lucas