Upon the death of a Friend
Golden lads and girls all must.
As chimney-sweepers come to dust.
Cymbeline, act iv
Donald Grant Ralston left these Colorado mountains from his recent retirement in Texas on May 31, 2014. He was 87.
Don came down to Boulder from Jim Town in 1939 with his father and mother, Lassus and Eunice Ralston to enter Northside Junior High School. Lassus had for sometime had been prospecting for gold around Jim Town and opened a producing tungsten mine in Boulder Canyon, just above Boulder Falls.
With Don’s passing we have lost one of the last of the genuine hard-rock gold miners—all that his father had taught him of that great calling. Together they were the ideal of what it is to be an Old Timer.
Don grew up in Boulder and was educated at the university. He prepared to teach English and taught briefly in Wyoming before his long and distinguished career in California-- with his big, liberal, skeptical mind.
He married his Boulder sweetheart Donna Tomlin, who lived in the Whittier neighborhood of east Pine Street, the neighborhood that was to have such a profound effect on seven of its kids who ganged up there to hunt and fish, smoke their pipes, try to decide which was the greater music, the Wabash Canon Ball or the Overture to Tannhäuser, and to take their lives in earnest as they prepared to go to war when they graduated from Boulder High in 1944.
They belonged to each other then and always.
Let me call the roll:
Ralph Metcalf, their head man (killed on Luzon, age 18)
I, Gordon Wickstrom, make this statement about our dear friend on behalf of myself and William H. Rickard, we two from east Pine, who remain of those golden lads of Boulder that the seven of us once were.
We shall never again know that special heart’s grandeur of the old naval gunners mate Don Ralston—down in the mines, in those classrooms, on fishing trips to North Park. Nor shall we ever again rally to hear him inveigh against our national passion for wars and the injustices at home that support them.
But we had him for a lifetime.