Donald Epperson

Obituary of Donald Herbert Epperson

Donald H. "Daffy Don" Epperson passed peacefully in his sleep on Saturday July 10th. Born in Iowa on April 21, 1922 he came to Santa Cruz in 1940 where he met and married Miss Lillian Leach. They had one daughter and Don joined the Army Air Corp serving in World War II he received the European, Africa, Middle East Theater Ribbon with 3 bronze stars and a Purple Heart. He was wounded in Belgium in 1945 and honorably discharged. After discharge he started the Red Front Trading Post furniture store with his brother Larry across from the drive in theater on Soquel Drive. He was divorced from Lillian and later married Jennie who was also divorced and had a young son. Don was often referred to as "Mr. 41st Avenue", having opened Daffy Don's Furniture Outlet in 1950 with his wife Jennie, on the Soquel end of 41st Avenue. Little else stood at that end of 41st so the store was surrounded by open fields and it seemed a long long way to Santa Cruz. The store was an instant success and expansions were ongoing. A full warehouse was established behind the main store made up from Army Housing placed side by side to make a beautiful showroom. The store carried nearly everything for the home, from Carpet for the floor, appliances for the kitchen or mattresses for the bedroom; Daffy Don's was the place to go. Later, as the days of clever names waned and the high quality of the furniture demanded a more upscale name the store name was changed to Casa Villa Furniture and the business prospered for over 40 years. In 1987 Don and Jennie felt it was time to retire and the property turned over to what is now "The Home Space". In addition to the store there were several other businesses in the complex including a beauty shop, a restaurant and a shoe repair shop. Don's vision was a mall type complex with the Furniture Store as the anchor. As the store prospered Don remarried to Ruby and they converted his home into a restaurant, originally the Grape Steak and now Café Cruz, and built another structure to make the Peking Chinese Restaurant. Don and Ruby lived in Scott's Valley with Ruby passing away in 2004. Don was very active in the Optimists, Junior Chamber of Commerce, VP of the Soquel Merchants, active in the Miss California Pageant, member of the Elks and one of the original organizers of the Soquel-O-Rama. Don is survived by his daughter, Linda McPherson of Pasatiempo, two step daughters, Judy Waite of Jackson and Linda Hopp of San Clemente and a step son Mike Epperson of Overland Park, Kansas. He had seven grandchildren, Michael Huttleston, who preceded him in death, Steven Huttleston, Ty Waite, Trevor McPherson, Adam Hopp, Sara Epperson, Rachel Epperson and several great grand children. Memorial services will be held at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga, Santa Cruz at 11:00 AM on Monday July 19th. In lieu of flowers or gifts please make contributions in the name of Don Epperson to Hospice of Santa Cruz, 940 Disc Dr, Scotts Valley, CA. Please visit to express your condolences and sign the online guest registry.
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A Memorial Tree was planted for Donald
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel
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