Don Riter Ekker, our devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away on April 17, 2023, at the age of 80. He passed peacefully at home surrounded by his family following a short battle with aggressive cancer. He was born on March 9, 1943, in Palisade, Colorado, to Elora Maxfield and Charles Riter Ekker. Don was the third child of six, and a blessing born between two stillborn babies. \n \nAs a youth growing up in Hanksville, Utah, Don awoke early to complete his morning chores. Hard work, honesty and dedication were qualities instilled in him from a very young age and he exemplified these qualities all of his life. Don loved growing up as a true cowboy where weekly hunts on the Henry Mountains were essential to put food on the table. In his teens, Don and a friend were deer hunting and came across a bear, which he promptly shot dead. They ran to tell their hunting companions, who refused to believe what seemed to be a tall tale, until they retrieved and returned with the bear’s giant paw. \n\nDon moved to Springville, Utah, to work full-time and attend Springville High, where he graduated in 1961. On May 28, 1963, Don married the love of his life, Judy Jackson (whom he had met on a blind date), in the Manti Utah LDS Temple. They shared 60 wonderful years together, raising a family and creating countless memories. Don was a true family man and often stated, “all you’ve got in this life is family.” He had an infectious laugh that could light up any room and a heart full of love, honesty, compassion, and kindness. Everyone acquainted with Don knew he would give them the shirt off of his back. Don earned the nickname "Choppy" due to his short legs, but he lived a giant life of daring and adventure. \n\nAs a father, Don shared his heritage with his own children, exploring the “Henries” and slot canyons created by the Colorado and Dirty Devil Rivers. His own father had herded cattle through these canyons before the Glen Canyon Dam was built, creating Lake Powell. Don preferred exploring via ski boat to horseback. He was an avid slalom skier and never laughed harder than when he knocked his kids off a tube behind the ski boat. He enjoyed countless camping, fishing, and hunting trips, with his brothers, father, friends, and extended family—but, his most cherished trips were with his only son, Stan. \n\nDon was a devoted Chevy man and loved spending time "tinkering" under the hood of his many cars, trucks, Jeeps, boats, snowmobiles, and four wheelers. Don tried his hand at mining uranium and gold in the hills of his youth and ultimately chose a career in the trucking industry, putting in many years working graveyard shifts. His hard work enabled him to retire from Yellow Freight at the age of 55, but he remained a lifelong “Union Man.” After retirement, he hounded Judy for another twenty years to follow in his footsteps and "sell the store!” Together, they took many road trips to Vegas, enjoying their time at “The Orleans,” where they hoped to hit a “Royal Flush” or least come home “money ahead.” \n \nEach of his three daughters consider themselves his favorite, even though Don attempted to turn them into more sons by teaching them to shoot, hunt, change a tire, check the oil, and clean the house from top to bottom with Clorox. Don celebrated the birth of each grandbaby and great-grandbaby, and the joy they each added to the family he adored. Don will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him. His kind heart and infectious laughter will be forever remembered.\n\nHe was preceded in death by his brother James, sister Sadie, infant son Darrell, father Riter, mother Elora, son-in-law Kenny, brother Gary, and brother Everett. He is survived by his wife Judy, and his children—Teresa (Andy), Tami, Krista (Tom), and Stan (Kim), 14 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. \n\nFuneral services will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at Jenkins-Soffe Funeral Home, 1007 W. South Jordan Parkway (10600 So.) Viewing from 12:30-1:30 p.m., Services will begin at 2:00 p.m. Interment to follow at South Jordan City Cemetery.