Donald (Don) Sarazin McLellan, one of the old time sign painters and artists of Nampa, died in his sleep at the ripe old age of 96 on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
Don was born in Nyssa, Oregon on August 27, 1923 to Elmore and Mattie McLellan. He attended Nampa schools and graduated from Nampa High School in 1941. During high school, Don worked at the Majestic and Adelaide Theatres where he ushered and was an assistant manager, and at one point, fired a young girl named, Phyllis Stone. Little did Don know that one day, Phyllis would become his wife.
Following graduation, Don worked in the Portland, Oregon Naval Shipyards before enlisting in the United States Army in 1943. After transferring to the Army Air Corp, Don received an honorable discharge due to medical reasons and, shortly thereafter, using the GI Bill, enrolled at Woodbury Art Institute in Los Angeles, California where he studied fine art.
Upon returning to Nampa, Don joined his father at McLellan Sign Company and in April of 1948, he married that young girl he had fired years earlier, Phyllis Stone. Don and Phyllis were married in Reno, Nevada and resided in Nampa where they raised their three children. Marty (Connie) McLellan, Scott McLellan, and Cheryl (Derek) Deeter.
During those years, Don, Phyllis, and family spent many vacations on the Oregon Coast where Don enjoyed painting seascape watercolors. In addition, the family also enjoyed the Stanley Basin area, where again, Don captured the beauty of our would in his paintings. Don was a long time member of the Caldwell Art Association, and for many years participated in the U of I Art Workshop on Wheels. Don’s artwork has been displayed in community and professional buildings, private homes, and art shows throughout Southern Idaho.
At the time of his death, Don was the oldest living member of Nampa’s United Methodist Church and a lifetime member of the Nampa Elks Lodge.
Before retiring in 1998, Don was fortunate to have the opportunity to use his creative talents to earn a living. Don was a talented sign painter whose work has graced the entire valley at one time or another. Locals may recall seeing his sign work on the old, green, Snake River Stampede Stadium where he would change dates yearly and letter the name of each year’s musical guest star. His sign work could be seen in local baseball outfields, downtown business windows, and on local company vehicles to name just a few. Some of Don’s signs can still be seen around town today, over fifty years later.
During the time McLellan Sign Company was located at 9 Wall Street downtown Nampa, unknown to many, Don ran a silent lending business. He accommodated many of downtown Nampa’s colorful characters with short-term loans for the upcoming weekend or for a few days just to get by. Don claimed, almost without exception, the he was always paid back in full. Don was well thought of by many. He was a kind and respectful man and a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. In addition to their three children, Don and Phyllis were blessed with eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Don is survived by his wife, Phyllis, of 72 years, his three children, and sister, Ermagene Gorley.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Maxine Hickox.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please donate to your favorite charity.
A graveside service will be held for Don at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 1:00 pm.
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