Donald Wayne Niskanen who was born on March 9, 1948, died on April 9 in Caldwell, Idaho at the home of his daughter, Robin Nolan.
Niskanen served as a med-tech in the U.S. Army at a Belgium hospital for combat soldiers wounded in Vietnam.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Niskanen lived and worked in Berkeley, CA. He was on the staff of the Rev. Dr. Hazaiah Williams, who directed Today’s Artists Concerts/Four Seasons Arts. At that time hundreds of concerts were presented in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City and abroad. In 1981, Dr. Williams founded the Yachats Music Festival, a program in which Niskanen was involved and which precipitated his eventual move to Yachats, Oregon, where he remained.
In the 1990s, Niskanen and his wife, Blythe, operated the New Morning Coffee House, as well as the Bramble and the Rose Nursery in Yachats.
A lifelong champion of racial equality and community building, Niskanen was active in the Yachats community: instrumental in purchasing the Yachats School for a community center, part of the wetlands project, President of Parks and Commons, and President of Friends of the Yachats Commons.
In this age of individual disassociation and personal gain, Niskanen was a rare man. His commitment to All of Us throughout his life will continue to benefit us all. His was an example inspiring others to volunteer on behalf of one’s beliefs to make sure their voice is heard and heeded.
Niskanen expressed no desire for a memorial service. The best thing one can do is donate in his name to The Yachats Youth and Family Activities Program.
He is survived by his wife, Blythe Collins; daughters Robin Nolan and Emily Grey Badger; granddaughter Kathryn Lori Nolan; and brothers Robert Niskanen (Judy) and James Niskanen (Valeri).