Donald E. Des Jardin

Donald E. Des Jardin

March 14, 1939 - March 03, 2014

Donald E. Des Jardin

March 14, 1939 - March 03, 2014


Donald Edward Des Jardin, 74, passed away on Monday, March 3, 2014, surrounded by his entire loving family at the UCI Medical Center, located in Orange, CA, after a brief illness.

Don is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sandra Des Jardin; Sons- Bradley and Scott Des Jardin; Daughters- Denise Archer and Deanna Archer; Sons in Law- Jim Archer and Jon Archer, Daughter in Law- Denyse Des Jardin; Grandsons- Ryan Des Jardin, Colin Des Jardin, Kyle Archer, Kris Archer, Kenneth Des Jardin, Colby Archer; Grandaughters- Kaylee Archer, Melissa Des Jardin, Addison Archer, (in laws) Natalie Archer, and Angela Des Jardin; Great Granddaughter Mikayla Des Jardin. He is also survived by brothers Gerald, Lawrence and Phillip Des Jardin, and Mother Margaret Des Jardin, who resides is Palm Desert California.

Don was born in Ajo Arizona, to Myrel and Margaret Des Jardin on March 14, 1939. He was preceded in death by his father Myrle and his brother Richard Des Jardin.

Don grew up in Redwood City, CA where he attended Mt. Carmel Elementary School and graduated from Junipero Serra High School in 1957. Don entered the Navy after high school and served his country for four years. Don studied civil engineering at Heald College in San Francisco, CA.

Don began his construction career at Rudolph and Sletten, a general contractor in Mountain View California, as a project engineer and then estimator. Don moved to Reno Nevada where he worked as chief estimator for McKenzie Construction and Vasko and Associates before opening the Nevada office for S.J. Amoroso Construction, where he worked for over 20 years. Don opened the Southern California Offices for both SJ and DJ Amoroso before forming his own company, Harbor Construction, in 2003. Don loved his work and was there until the day he entered the hospital.

Don and his wife Sandy loved to travel and were able to see the world together. Their favorite place is Mexico where they spent many holidays with their children and grandchildren. Don and Sandy built their dream home in Lake Forest, where they enjoyed time on the lake with their family and many friends.

Don was loved by all who knew him and will be greatly missed; especially for his jokes.

Donations can be made to The American Cancer Society,, in his honor.

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24 responses to Donald E. Des Jardin

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  1. “Speaking of Shootouts”

    Don and I were now working in the Southern California Offices of S.J. Amoroso Construction Company. Don had picked a job in South Central Los Angeles that he felt we had a good SHOT at getting. He decided that a pre-bid site visit was in order, so we loaded ourselves into the company “Mom Mobile” (one of the names given to the vehicle), and off to Los Angeles we drove. At this point it is important to note that Los Angeles, and particularly South Central was then gripped by unprecedented gang violence. But, and I assume you are ahead of me by now, we were on top of the world, and indestructible, so why would we worry?

    Well, we were stopped at a traffic signal on the corner of Western and Adams. A single car in each of the two through lanes in front of us, and a single car directly behind us, all waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. Some forty five feet directly to our left, on the sidewalk stood a young “Gangsta”, armed with a semi-automatic pistol. He apparently had taken exception to something the occupants of the vehicle directly behind us had done. So without further ado he commenced firing upon said vehicle and more specifically its occupants. Unfortunately, he didn’t appear to be fully trained in the safe discharge of his weapon of choice, as he was spraying bullets indiscriminently throughout the intersection. I swear there was a moment that the gunman leveled the gun directly at us, thought about it for a second, then retrained his weapon on his original target, and continued firing.

    The moment the signal turned green, the cars in front of us made way, and we flew out of there like a bat outta ….. Suffice to say, neither Don nor I were injured.

    I felt that it would be an appropriate time to immediately head for the “Orange Curtain” . Not Don, whatever had happened was over, and we still had a site visit to conduct. I can say that it was one of the shortest such visits I ever attended. “Can we please go home now Don”?

    To get back on the Freeway we had to go back through the same intersection. By then L.A. Metro was swarming the site. We rolled past. Don commented, “I really didn’t believe the gun was real, I thought he was firing blanks”. “He was just a kid”.

    Don was a good person, sometimes it made it hard for him to see that others were not.

    Yet another in the long list of reasons that I love Don Desjardin.


  2. I first met Don and Sandy when Brad and I were in high school together. They immediately accepted me into their home as though I were already a member of the family.

    There are many things I’ll remember and cherish about Don, but there are a few that truly stand out, that for me, defined who this man was. The first was the way he loved Sandy. I found myself so many times marveling at how he absolutely adored her and it was obvious that she was the love of his life. He would put her happiness above his own needs, and in all the times I was with them, he always let her know that she was the most important thing in his life. There is no question that Don was accomplished, successful, and some would even say powerful. But the tenderness he displayed with his beloved Sandy made him a role model for all men in how to love your wife. He takes that love into eternity with him.

    Another was his love of a good spirited debate. He would engage in a great conversation and take great joy in the process. Once Don got a hold of something he was like a dog with a bone. His eyes would light up when he knew he was about to spring the “big idea” on you, and thus end the debate – proving once and for all that he was, indeed right. 🙂

    Don was a man of deep faith, and that faith always guided him in all major decisions in his life. He passed this faith along to his family, and they love God deeply – a tribute to his influence and example.

    Finally, I remember how he loved his SF 49ers. I loved going over to their house with Brad to watch games when they lived here in Reno/Sparks. That is, until Don found out I was a NY Giants fan. From that point on, it seemed that he treated me as, shall we say, “slightly flawed”… maybe even a bit on the mentally dysfunctional side. We loved to jab each other when our teams played, and it was always a great time regardless of which one came out on top.

    He really was like a second father to me in many ways. I looked up to him and deeply respected him. I will miss him dearly, along with all those who loved him and were fortunate enough to have him in their life.

    Goodbye for now, my dear friend. My faith tells me that we will one day meet again. And I look forward to the spirited conversation that will ensue… God Bless, and may He bring comfort and solace to the entire DesJardin family and all of Don’s friends.

    Kevin Ciccotti

  3. “Unscheduled layover of the Omega”
    “Hitch Hiking through Baja”

    So, I see that Lee posted a photograph of Don and friends standing in front of an airplane in the middle of what looks to be the desert.

    That trip began some 12 or so hours earlier (2 o’clock in the morning) in Orange County California. Don and a number of friends all of whom being led by Lee, the above identified photographer, began a fishing trip that none of us would soon forget.

    At two or three a.m., we all met at Lee’s office, for a caravan to San Diego, where we hooked up with our guide. Led by our guide, we continued on our journey to the Mexican town of Ensenada.

    By the time we got to the Ensenada Airport it was around 8:00 a.m. The morning sun was already blazing. It was hot. We unloded our fishing gear on the tarmac, opened a cold beverage, and sat on the ice chest awaiting the arrival of the charter plane that would fly us to our fishing camp. Neither of us had slept the night before, but that didn’t slow Don a bit.
    On the tarmac sat a propeller powered 50 year old DC3 with a shiny new paint job. Proudly named the “Omega”
    Who in their right mind would ever board a 50 year old plane named “Omega”, in a foreign land? Of course, we would. We were indestructable.
    We loaded our gear into the overhead cargo nets, looked for any seat available, with either a seatbelt, or upholstery covered seat springs, I can’t recall both being the third choice, snuggled in and awaited takeoff.
    No pre take-off instruction, no offer of beverage service, no flight attendant, just hang on.
    Rolling down the runway the plane struggled for lift off, we wondered if it could. It did, but for a fact, we flew side by side with a flock of seagulls for probably 5 minutes before the Omega gained enough airspeed that we pulled away. To say that airplane struggled to get off the ground didn’t describe the event. The more important question became could an airplane named Omega stay in the air.

    90 minutes into a two and a half hour flight, we got the answer.

    It turns out that our particular airplane needed both of its engines turning its twin propellers to stay in the air. Apparently flame and oil spewing from an airplane engine negatively affects the engine’s ability to spin its prop. Thus: we were coming down way short of anything that resembled a runway, much less an airport.

    The pilot found a dry lake bed. Down we came, hard. The fishing and camping gear flying better than the airplane had. The pilot retained control of the plane, he muscled it through the crusted over salts that made up the surface, and the deep sand below. We were safe. No injuries. The only thing that needed immediate attention…….THE JOKE!!!

    Don grabbed a fishing rod, we stepped out of the plane, we looked at the blown engine.

    Don says “I thought we were here to fish”.

    Now take another look at Lee’s photograph, we have just crash landed, ditched, (or whatever the proper term), an airplane into the middle of Baja nowhere Mexico, and Don is having the time of his life.

    I promised five stories of my friend. This is number five. This is how I need to remember him.

    Having the time of his life.


  4. Sandy, We are so sorry to hear about Don’s passing. I just googled your name to invite you to Bob’s 75th birthday party on Feb 6, 2016 in Angels Camp. We have been living here for 28 years and think of you when we travel through San Andreas. Remember when we came there to the Des Jardin mobile home park, many, many years ago. We bought the bowling alley in Angels Camp that Don and Bob went to in the 60’s. We have lots of memories together starting in Monte Vista on Empire Ave. I’m sorry that we have lost contact. I would love to hear from you. Not sure where you are living now. God Bless you and sincere condolences.
    Carolyn Henkel

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