Donald James Veninga
March 8, 1939 – September 6, 2020
Elk Grove, California – Donald James Veninga passed away September 6, 2020. A lifelong Elk Grove area resident, he was born to Frank and Mabel Veninga on March 8, 1939. Don attended Franklin Elementary School and Elk Grove High School, graduating in 1957. Don was in FFA and a gifted athlete who excelled at football and baseball. A football scholarship from Fresno State College gave Don the opportunity to leave his parent’s Franklin dairy farm and pursue a degree in Business Administration. While in college, Don also enjoyed membership in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Upon his 1961 graduation from Fresno State, he spent two years in the army reserves at Fort Ord. In 1962 he married his college sweetheart, Linda Bridges of Lindsay, California. They had two children, Kristin and Stephen.
In 1966, Don put his college degree to work and founded Elk Grove Gas Company. From there he continued to seek out opportunities to start other local businesses, such as Elk Grove Answering Service, and American River Gas in Newcastle (now owned by his son Stephen). He also partnered with countless others to launch many new ventures over the years. In 1995, he even got back into the dairy business for a time when his daughter Kristin and her husband started their dairy in Wheatland. Don was deeply grateful for the education and opportunities Elk Grove had afforded him as he was growing up. Throughout his life he maintained a deep love for this community and worked tirelessly, quietly and generously to make it a place of opportunity for others.
He served as a volunteer firefighter, interim president of First Security Bank of Elk Grove (now River City Bank), Board Member of the Community Services District, and member of the Elk Grove Lions Club. Don’s love of sports grew to include golfing, tournament and deep sea fishing, and watching NASCAR. As time went on, he and Linda found that they loved traveling and entertaining friends and family in their home, especially during the holidays. Don took such delight in his grandchildren, and in cooking for them at family celebrations.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother Frank Larry, his younger sister Virginia Nancy, and Linda, his wife of 52 years. He is survived by daughter Kristin, her husband Sietse Tollenaar and their family: Katharine (Joshua) and Teddy Johnson, Conner (Christene) Tollenaar, Drew Tollenaar, and Chase Tollenaar, and by son Stephen Veninga, his wife Patti, and their children Christian and Kaylee.
Visitation will be Thursday, October 8, 2020 from 5-8 p.m. at East Lawn Elk Grove, 9189 E. Stockton Blvd. Burial will be private. A celebration of Don’s life is scheduled for Saturday, October 10. To RSVP and get information on service time and location, please call 916-685-6499, or email an inquiry to email@example.com.
Remembrances in Don’s honor may be made to the Veninga Family Scholarship through the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation PO Box 2021 Elk Grove, California 95759. (Please memo “Veninga Family Scholarship” on your gift)