Don Meldrum Gulliford | Obituary

August 18, 1939 – March 11, 2024

Don Meldrum Gulliford, Lt. Col retired, passed away March 11th, 2024 at his home on Mercer Island, WA, narrowly missing his lifelong goal of dying in his favorite duck blind. Don was born to Dennis and Doris Gulliford on August 18th, 1939, and lived on Mercer Island his entire life. Despite his strong preference for spending time outdoors fishing or blowing things up with firecrackers, as a child Don attended the Lakeview School (Sunnybeam) and East Seattle School. He graduated from Bellevue High School in 1957.

Don went on to attend the University of Washington where he was a member of both Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and ROTC, and rowed on the UW Crew, earning his bachelors in 1961. After active duty in the United States Air Force, Don earned his Juris Doctor from the UW in 1968. Don served in the Air Force Reserve for 29 years, working as a Judge Advocate General and retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1989.

Embodying an entrepreneurial spirit allowed Don maximum time to take outdoor adventures and make friends all over Washington State. Don’s military career inspired him to establish his own defense contracting company, Mercer Products & Mfg., producing military aircraft spares out of his home on Mercer Island for 25 years and leaving a legacy of lifelong friendships and extended family that continues to this day.

Don also enjoyed a career in law in private practice for over 50 years, as a Sr. Partner in Gulliford, McGaughey and Dunlap in Bellevue, WA. He served in the WSBA and continued his law career after retirement as an arbitrator until 2021.

Despite juggling three careers, Don always managed to find time for his outdoor passions – hunting, fishing, hiking, and skiing. He was an avid explorer of the Pacific Northwest and held the North Cascades as a particularly special place to him and his family.

In 1997, Don married Sharon Setzler, also of Mercer Island. They relished their weekends at their Mutiny Bay on Whidbey Island, where Don spent many summer afternoons casting his Buzz Bomb with friends and family. Sharon’s gregarious nature was a perfect match for Don’s; you rarely met someone who didn’t know Don or Sharon through friends, and even in retirement, they were never without plans.

Don is survived by his wife, Sharon; sister, Vicki Egger; two daughters from his first marriage to Donna Gulliford (Roraback), Cindy Gulliford (Rick) and Marianne Strum (Robert); stepson Brian Setzler; granddaughters Annie Strum and Terra Setzler, and a dizzying collection of duck decoys. There will be a memorial service for Don at Mercer Island Community Center, April 27th, 2024, 3:00-6:00PM. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Ryther League (