Donald John Hoehn 1924 ~ 2016

Swan Song


Donald John Hoehn 1924 ~ 2016

SEELEY LAKE - Don was born in St. Paul, Minn. to George and Selma (Nyberg) Hoehn, joining his older siblings George and Helen. Several years later, his mother was remarried to Oscar Mood and in the coming years, Don gained three more brothers, Lawrence, Alfred and Doug.

Don spent his adolescent years in Grand Rapids, Minn. playing in the Mississippi River with the occasional swimming trip to Gooseberry Falls. As a young teenager, Don heading off to see the country by riding the rails across the Dakotas and eastern Montana, picking up work at farms and ranches along the way. Eventually Don found his way back to Grand Rapids and to his family.

Several years later and two weeks following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Don joined the United States Navy and served on the troop transport ship USS J Franklin Bell. Assigned to the west coast, Don participated in the retaking of the Aleutian Islands and invasions on Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, Leyte and Okinawa, receiving a total of six battle stars.


After the war, Don returned and stayed in Grand Rapids for several years before finding his way to western Montana to explore opportunities working in the timber industries. Eventually, he started working at the newly formed sawmill Pyramid Mountain Lumber, founded by his step-father Oscar Mood and Fred Johnson.

Several decades later, he became one of the co-owners of the mill along with his brothers, Alfred and Doug Mood and Fred's son, Roger Johnson.

After arriving in Montana to begin his sawmill career, he met and married Ethel Chaffin. Soon after their marriage, Don began the construction of the family home on Riverview Drive in Seeley Lake, which he built mostly with his own two hands, with help from family and friends at times. Don and Ethel raised their children, Niki, Richard, Nanci and Curt in that home.

Don loved Seeley Lake and its many opportunities to hunt, fish and, of course, cut firewood. It was said by neighbors you could judge the coming winter harshness by the size of Don's woodpile.

In later years Don was blessed with many grandchildren, in which he found his greatest joy. Don and Ethel enjoyed traveling to Minnesota, California and Maine to visit family and friends. They eventually purchased a winter home in Yuma, Ariz. where they enjoyed the warmth and meeting new friends. Unfortunately, this was cut short with the untimely illness and loss of his wife Ethel in 2008.

Preceding him in death were his parents; spouse Ethel; siblings George, Lawrence and Helen; and sons David and George.

Surviving and missing Don greatly are: his brothers Alfred (Betty) and Doug (Marian) Mood; children Niki, Richard (Jill), Nanci Marx (Dave) and Curt (Laurie); grandchildren Eric, Elan, Ethan and Kyle Sager; Arrow, Ramsey and Tatum Hoehn; Daniel, Andrew and Timothy Marx; Teresa Parker and Curtis Hoehn; and many cute and handsome great-grandchildren.

A Gravesite service will be held Thursday, July 28 at the Seeley Lake Cemetery at 11 a.m. All are welcome.

Sunset Funeral Home of Missoula is assisting with arrangements. Condolences for the family may be left at


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