Donald H. Shelton

August 31, 1940 - February 9, 2022
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Donald Heitz Shelton


Don was born in St. Louis, MO, on Aug. 31, 1940 to parents, Walter H. Shelton and Margaretha Heitz Shelton. He moved to Tucson at age 8, where he grew up and raised a family.

After graduating from Amphitheater High School in 1958, he served in USAF from 1959-1963. His rank was A/1C E4 Crew Chief and aircraft mechanic on T-33 aircraft.  Once leaving the Air Force, he joined Magma Copper Company Jan. 15, 1965 where he worked 33 years, 3 mos.  Don was immediately active in union representation and later leadership, which led to being involved in important US historical events in the labor/management movement.

During his employment at Magma (later BHP), he was active in labor bargaining, beginning with the Mine, Mill Steelworkers-USWA. Don was the last surviving member of the historical merger meeting held at the Pioneer Hotel in Tucson, Feb. 1966.  He was President of the Local #937 Steelworkers from 1982-1991 and he served as President of the AZ AFLCIO from 1987-88.

Don helped lead the transformation of the BHP acquisition of Magma and extended the life of this operation, which affected so many working families and the local community.  After the mine closed, he was a Labor Management Consultant, which took him to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, bringing his expertise to multiple types of labor industries.

His hobby was wood working and he loved spending time with his family on camping trips and vacations. He was an avid Raiders fan that even involved going to live games.

He married Rosalie Redding, in 1962, in VA, where they met on a blind date on Halloween!

He is survived by 2 children, David Shelton (Teri) and Diane Shelton (Paul Brown); 3 grandchildren, Arianna Vander-Heyden (Josh), Austin Shelton and Aaron Shelton; and 2 great-grand-daughters, Adalynn and Josie Rose Vander-Heyden.  He is also survived by a sister, Margaret Lee and 2 bothers, Roger Shelton and Larry Dawson.

A service is being held at Casas Adobes United Church of Christ, 6801 N. Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ on June 2, 2022 at 9:30am.  Internment will be at AZ Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery, 15950 N. Luckett Road, Marana AZ following the service.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a favorite charity, preferably those who support veterans in need.

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Timeline for Donald H. Shelton

Born: August 31, 1940
Died: February 9, 2022

Condolences for Donald H. Shelton

Marana Mortuary & Cemetery

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Marana Mortuary & Cemetery.


Donald P Nelson (Spider) posted on 6/2/22

Just want to say, you will be missed. Thanks for being a large impact in our Magma mine community doing all you could for the workers Thanks


Gavino Borquez posted on 2/24/22

Rest easy Don. I really enjoyed being around the Steelworkers office in Oracle when you were there. You were a big part of our workforce and we will be forever grateful.


Marilyn M. Caulkins posted on 2/22/22

Uncle Don will be missed by all. He could always discuss any current political events and always gave his views and reasons for them. He was admirable in all his accomplishments in work, politics, and family. He admired people who were truthful and anguished in those who were not. I'll never forget a picture of me in his cowboy boots when I was just a toddler. In one of my last visits with him he called me "Boots". I also love a picture of him in his Air Force Uniform. Another memory I have of Uncle Don was of us playing in the Amphitheater Summer Band under the direction of our beloved Mr. Larry Wilson. Many of our family were part of the band. I think we had family in every section of the band at one time or another. Don had a great attitude during his final months battling yet another cancer he had to face. His grace and dignity in struggling with this disease was unforgettable. We will miss Don and pray he is now at peace. I can just see him and my dad sharing stories about old times together. Condolences to all of Don's immediate family. God bless all of you. Love Carl, Marilyn and Ben Caulkins


Dr Lynne Reynolds posted on 2/20/22

Please know that our hearts and prayers are with all of Don’s family and friends.


Tom and Cindy Suttle posted on 2/20/22

Our deepest condolences for your loss. Don was a good man. He and my Dad always enjoyed each other.


Suzanne Tilden-Mortimer posted on 2/20/22

I will miss my friendship with Don and his interesting emails. We graduated from Amphi together in 1958 but I lost track of him over many years and had no idea about all of his accomplishments. This is a well written obit that he would be proud of and all of us proud of him. My heartfelt condolences to his family and I am sad to know that he is gone. He was truly one of a kind.


Peggy Lee posted on 2/20/22

May my brother Don rest in peace with the angles I will miss him so much He will always be my little brother remembering all our times together we were so lucky to have each other---and spend much fun times together He is now with all our family who have gon before us until we meet again i am with you always your big sister Peg


Dave Shelton posted on 2/20/22

Dad was a pillar of a man in which honesty and integrity provided absolute respect. Our family has been forever shaped and changed by his wisdom, love and dedication. His efforts in work, adventure, Godliness and security provided us all with a safe environment in which to flourish and succeed. I know of no better way for a man to be a dad. Peace in heaven David


Roger Shelton posted on 2/19/22

My big brother Don will always be remembered by the great character he had. He was a giant of a man, with a friendly, knowledgeable personality and presence. When he entered the room, everyone noticed. His family and friends know him from his 4 terms as President of the Steelworkers at Magma Copper. His labor knowledge was unmatched. As my older brother, I always looked up to him throughout my life. Our many years at Amphi High School were rewarded by being band members, a wonderful experience. We both served in the military, Don with the USAF and mine with USN. Myself and my whole family will miss him so very, very much. Love to you Don, RIP. Your brother, Roger