Donald's Story

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It is with great sadness that the family of Donald Marion Niffenegger announces his passing after a brief illness, on July 30, 2015. Born August 5, 1930 he will be lovingly remembered by his daughters Karen and Kathi, his sister Dixie Marie Rogers Weers, numerous cousins, nephews and nieces, and many friends. Don was raised in Pleasantville, Iowa and after a tour in the Navy, returned there, married Mercedes McCoy and started a family. He then settled in California where he became a well-known chef, starting his career at the Captain’s Inn in Long Beach, CA. Moving to Oregon, he again had restaurant success at the Rodeway Inn and then started his own restaurants Scampi’s and The Terrace Café. Known to many as ‘Chef Don’, he was an executive chef for 48 years before he retired and moved to Florida, where he lived for over 20 years before returning to California.  During that time he enjoyed hosting sumptuous dinner buffets with his mother Marie Rogers and aunt Tyree Gibson Krisinger who both preceded him in death. Don was a lifelong lover of jazz.  In his teens he heard Stan Kenton orchestra and was hooked. Don followed Kenton and other musicians and had many renowned jazz artists perform at Scampi’s.  He co-produced a CD for the Dennis Noday Orchestra and enjoyed promoting live jazz in South Florida. There will be a celebration of life at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Pleasantville, IA on October 10, 2015 at 2 pm. Memorial donations in memory of Don may be made to Friends of Big Band Jazz scholarship fund.
Published on  October 8, 2015
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