Donavan (Don) L. Potter died at home holding the hand of his 59-year-old wife, Jane, in Ocala on October 31, 2022.
Born on May 22, 1931 on the family farm in Kent County, Michigan near Cedar Springs, he was the eldest child of Merritt and Beulah Snethen Potter.
After graduating from high school and completing several years of postgraduate training in business and agriculture at the Davenport Institute, he worked briefly as an agricultural consultant, advising experienced farmers on how to increase yields and profits. He hated the work for all its pretensions. He had to learn more from the hardworking farmers than they could hope to learn from him.
Shortly before being drafted into the Korean War, he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1952. At the time of his honorable discharge as Radio Operator 3rd Class in 1956, he was serving aboard the USS Roulette. His tenure inspired him to travel and seek adventure. Life took him to Boulder, Colorado, where he became a franchisee at a Holiday Inn motel in the early days.
Shortly after marrying Jane Victoria Shadron in Boulder, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to sell real estate for an emerging development on the west side of town, which is now a separate community, Rio Rancho Estates. His success in Albuquerque earned him the title of Hidalgo de Calificada Nobleza al Servicio del Estado de Nuevo Mexico in 1970. He used his GI benefits to earn a commercial pilot’s license. Although he never sought employment in the airline industry, he loved flying to and from Mazatlán, Mexico.
Real estate brought him to Ocala in the early 1970s as Silver Springs Shores developed. He and his wife later founded several independent fire protection companies in Ocala and Gainesville and began breeding and exhibiting Great Danes.
They toured the country showing dogs and making friends in the dog breeder community. A member of the Great Dane Club of America, Don was also a past president of the Greater Ocala Dog Club. Predeceased by his parents and brothers Carl and Harold, he is survived by his wife Jane, sister Elsie (Bob) Sly and brother Merritt, known as Dan, Potter. Numerous nieces, nephews and childhood friends live in the Cedar Springs-Grand Rapids area.
A memorial service will be held at the gravesite on November 21, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at Florida National Cemetery (6502 SW 102nd Ave Bushnell, FL 33513).
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Marion County Humane Society in honor of Donavan Potter, a lover of animals large and small.
Posted November 19, 2022
Posted in Ocala Star Banner