Donald Bruce Karraker passed away peacefully early Jan. 2, 2018, at his home in Jamestown. Don was born on May 7, 1933, in Anaheim, California, to John and Claire (Echert) Karraker.
Don and his wife, Ellen Blanche (Neil) Karraker, married June 19, 1953, in Bellflower, California. Don was a dragster race-car mechanic and worked for General Pump Service for 30 years. The racetrack was his passion.
Don and Ellen raised their family in Norwalk. They are the proud parents of six children; including two sets of twins. They moved to Jamestown in 1979 and opened D&E Parts and Repair, a Volkswagen Repair Shop, on Jan. 2, 1980. Don was a mechanic with a love for building motors and doing machine work. He worked well into retirement on all types of projects
Don started off his racing career with dragsters at Lyons Drag Strip in the ’40s. He moved onto motorcycle racing, including building race bikes for Norm Reese Honda, and even raced in Daytona Beach, Florida. Don then set his mind to building his first of many dune buggies, a family sport, which transformed into racing at Ascot and Corona Raceway. Their love for racing never weakened.
Don, known to many as “Papa Don” and “Big Don,” was very well known throughout the Best in the Desert and Vorra Off-Road Racing organizations. Don and Ellen were part of the pit crew for Sam Berri Racing, “Team Margarita,” for over 30 years. After Ellen’s death in 2015, racing and the racing family kept Don going. He attended all races, even one in New Mexico just a few weeks prior to his passing. Don was very knowledgeable and loved to mentor and help others on and off the racetrack. Many looked forward to listening to his years of experience.
Don is survived by his brother, Richard Karraker; children, Linda Hembree, Daniel Karraker, Donald Karraker Jr., Joyce Goss and Dale Karraker; grandchildren, Jonathan, Jodi, Richard, David Jr., Laura, Thomas, Kevin, Daniel Jr., Jimmy, Chris, Michael, Holly, Megan, Amanda, Shawn and Jeremy; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Don was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Ellen Blanch (Neil) Karraker; sister, Anne Karraker; son, David Karraker.
Family and friends will gather for a celebration of life from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Tuolumne County Sheriff Posse grounds, 19130 Rawhide Road, Jamestown, CA 95327.