Don was born to Alva Sears Aug. 3, 1926, in the Nebraska Industrial Home, in Milford, Neb. He was adopted by Frank and Ollie Sinkey Aug. 19, 1927. Don graduated from Dayton High School in Dayton, Iowa, in June 1944, and joined the Navy to fight for his country. He trained at Great Lakes, Ill., and served aboard the mine sweeper, USS Captivate, in the Asiatic Pacific during WWII. In 1945, he entered Naval Officers Training at the University of Utah, where, because of lack of funds, the entire unit of officers was discharged. He married the love of his life, Wanda Morrison, June 27, 1946, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Don completed premedical school at the University of Utah, served in the Army Medical Corps in 1951 at Fort Sam in San Antonio, Texas, and was accepted at the State University of Iowa College of Medicine. He graduated June 6, 1952. He interned at Broadlawns Polk County Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1952 to 1953. In 1953, he entered private practice as a family doctor in Osage, Iowa. In October 1955, Don and his family moved out west to Prairie City, and then to Burns. In October 1956, he joined the practice at Burns Clinic.
He joyfully delivered nearly every baby in Harney County, including his own grandchildren. He was the traditional family doctor, making house calls all over Harney County with his black bag always ready. He performed weekly surgeries at the county hospital, often doing his own lab work at the clinic, and was always on call.
Don and Wanda loved the Harney County life; fishing, hunting, hiking, playing golf, and flying his Cessna 180 to remote airstrips for “fly ins.” Their favorite place to visit was the majestic Steens Mountain and Fish Lake.
In 1972, Wanda decided to return to nursing school, and Don was recruited by St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho, to open a new Idaho Emergency Center. They moved to Eagle, Idaho, where Wanda went to Boise State Nursing School, and Don worked at St. Alphonsus as an emergency room physician and director.
They both learned to ski at Bogus Basin, and kept on “flying in” to remote mountain airstrips to fish and hike. They enjoyed playing tennis and golf, and became snow birds in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
In 1983, Don decided to slow down and returned to part time private practice in Eagle, eventually retiring full time, and then moved to a little piece of heaven, Staffordshire, outside of Eugene, right on the banks of the McKenzie River.
Don found, and was reunited with his birth family in 1993, and met his aunts and cousins. His birth mother had passed away, but one aunt was living in Lebanon, and an uncle was in Washington. His birth family came to help celebrate Don and Wanda’s 50th wedding anniversary at Staffordshire. Don felt finding his birth family made his life complete.
Don is survived by his wife of 68 years, Wanda; daughter, Stephanie; sons, Bruce and Mark, and his wife, Marian; daughter-in-law, Carlotta Sinkey; grandchildren, Marilyn Wilber, Marea Wilber, Cody Wilber, Laura Isaacson, Caitlyn Sinkey, Shannon Sinkey, Erica Sinkey and Christopher Sinkey; great-grandchildren, Sadie and Emily Dean, Joseph, Skye, Cailyn and Sean Wilber.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 2537 Game Farm Road in Springfield.