Donald Henry Oltman

Donald Henry Oltman

Donald Henry Oltman of Umatilla passed away in his home on August 26, 2014, at the age of

89. Don was born to parents Henry Dietrich and Esther Holsclaw Oltman on April 19, 1925, in

Tribune, Kansas. The family later moved to western Idaho, where Don spent most of his formative years.

At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He proudly served his country in the Pacific arena, where he was an aviation boatsman mate on the aircraft carrier USS Chenango from 1943-1946. Don and his shipmates were amongst the first U.S. servicemen to land at Nagasaki harbor following the atomic bombing that ended WWII. Don married Phyllis Bolton in 1946, and in time four sons joined their family. With his marriage to Jeanne Puntney in 1970, Don happily welcomed her six children.

For most of his adult life he was in business for himself as a general contractor, constructing seven churches, two church schools, hundreds of residential homes, two medical/dental clinics, and five skilled nursing facilities largely throughout the Northwest. He came out of retirement to build Hermiston’s Rose Arbor Assisted Living Community in 1995 (now Guardian Angel Homes). After the last child left home, Don and Jeanne set out in the 1980s on a number of mission ventures that would take them to various construction projects in Japan, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

They recall these several years as being some of their most productive and joyous. Their most recent adventure, in the year 2000, brought them back to Madagascar, where they oversaw the re-roofing of over 600 existing churches. Don always seemed happiest when he had another project in the wings — be it restoring a forsaken 1946 Dodge pickup or overseeing four grandsons build their first speculation house. His ability to make or to refurbish most anything has resulted in nearly every furniture piece in their home bearing his signature craftsmanship. His wisdom and good advice have long been sought after in frequent conversations with children and grandchildren.

Don was a devoted member of the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church. Until the time of his death, he and his wife led out in a weekly small group Bible study in their home and regularly hosted friendship dinners. Don’s last words to Jeanne were, “Be faithful. Jesus is coming soon in the clouds.”

The family extends their many thanks to the Vange John Memorial Hospice team, whose compassion and professionalism made it possible for Don to remain in his home during an extended illness. The love, devotion and fortitude of his wife Jeanne through these last difficult months are immeasurable and will never be forgotten. And to our great God who carried Don through the valley of the shadow of death, we give our praise and thanksgiving.

Don is survived by his wife, Jeanne, at their home in Umatilla; his brother, Ron Oltman of Sparks, Nev.; his children Leo and Cathi Oltman of Ellensburg, Wash., Chamalene and Dick

Johnson of Santa Paula, Calif., Guy and Paula Oltman of Hermiston, Bob and Laurie Puntney of

Grants Pass, Ore., Marlin and Tamara Oltman of Ontario, Ore., Gary and Adele Puntney of

Veradale, Wash., Terri and Bill Snapp of Winchester, Va., Ronya Taylor of Meridian, Idaho, Tonya

Townsend of Spokane, Wash., and Darrell and Tracie Oltman of Meridian, Idaho; 25 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his siblings, Marcella Atherton and Ray Oltman.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be sent to the Hermiston Junior Academy Worthy Student Fund.

A memorial service will be held at the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, August 30, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Burns Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Please send condolences at

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