In Passing: Donald Lee Margerum
Donald Lee Margerum passed peacefully at home in Montecito, California on May 24, 2020. He lived a long and beautiful life, and was ready to leave this life as his health declined.
Don was born on March 29, 1926 in Ferguson, Missouri to parents Donald Cameron Margerum and Ida Lee Nunley. His early years were spent in Ferguson with his younger twin brothers, Dave and Dale. Don was interested in science and aviation from a young age, flying model airplanes and building toys for himself and his neighborhood friends. His interests led him into a degree in electrical engineering, initially from University of Missouri, and then to Northwestern for his Master’s Degree. After serving in the Navy, Don married the love of his life, Barbara Barden, and they moved to California to start a family and a new life in Los Angeles.
Don had an illustrious career, making many bold moves that got him noticed by various aerospace engineering firms and held several microwave patents. His chapter in the book Microwave Scanning Antennas was a professional accomplishment of which he was very proud.
He eventually founded his own company, Raven Electronics, in Burbank, California where he and his team worked to develop proposals for government defense contracts.
Don and his wife Barbara moved to Santa Barbara in 1978 when Don was approached by Raytheon, where he worked until retirement. Not long after moving to Santa Barbara the family purchased a small wine shop called the Wine Cask and over the next 30 years his initial investment grew into a revered restaurant and food and wine destination.
Don was an avid tennis player and sailor, enjoyed chartering boats for family vacations and sailing competitively with his son, Doug. He loved fly fishing and pursued the outdoors every summer at their cabin in Colorado. He loved his involvement with the Aspen Institute, his passion for undergrounding electrical utilities in Montecito, his book club, his Men’s group, the Unitarian Society discussion groups and VISTAS life-long learning. Don loved all sweets, especially coconut ice cream, and always had a full cookie jar.
Don is survived by his wife, Barbara, children Hugh (and wife Carol), Doug (and wife Marni), and Amy (and husband Gilchrist), his four grandsons Lyle, Slater, Remy, and Evan.
The Visiting Nurse and Hospice providers at VNA Health in Santa Barbara provided exceptional care in Don’s final days, and in lieu of gifts, donations can be made to VNA Health or to the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara.