Donald W. Schnitzler, age 85, of Marshfield, died on Friday, May 11, 2018 at Marshfield Medical Center where he was admitted on Tuesday May 8th.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am on Friday, May 18, 2018 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Marshfield, with Rev. Samuel Martin officiating. Burial will be in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Marshfield. And serving as pallbearers will be his sons, Donald (Butch), Douglas, David, Gary, Jef and Rob; son-in-law, Dick Niehaus; and godson, Mike Spencer.
The visitation will be from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Thursday at Rembs Funeral Home and from 9:00 am until service time on Friday at St. John’s Catholic Church. A Knights of Columbus rosary service will be held at 6:30 pm on Thursday at the funeral home. The Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree will form an honor guard.
Don was born March 11, 1933 in Marshfield to Roman and Eleanor (Bores) Schnitzler. He attended Sacred Heart Parochial School and Purdy Junior High School in Marshfield.
He married Gloria T. Spencer on Oct. 15, 1952, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Marshfield. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2017.
In 1952 he went to Janesville, Wisconsin where he worked for four years at Fischer Body. Then in 1955 he returned to Marshfield to open Don’s Standard Service at 200 East Fourth Street. Between 1967 and 1991 the business included U Haul truck and trailer rentals. He retired in 1998 and sons, Gary and Rob became the owners and operators of the business now known as Don’s Automotive Center.
In November 1960 he purchased the Phillips 66 Service Station at Colby converting tanks and pumps to Standard Oil. The Colby Standard Station was sold in 1965. Between 1975 and 1978 he and Dick Bushman purchased and operated the Fountain Fair Ice Cream Truck in Marshfield.
Between 1984 and 1996, Don was the “Not so Silent” partner, of Kris’ Sidewalk Café at 443 South Central Avenue. In addition to remodeling and updating the full service indoor restaurant, Don designed and built the featured outside seasonal patio area seating area for 28.
His other construction projects included two homes for his growing family. The first in1959, a three-bedroom ranch-style home at 408 West Jefferson Street, and the second in 1964, a four-bedroom split-level at 400 West Kalsched Street. He also helped build three hunting cabins in Wisconsin’s Northwoods and remodeled and enlarged several times the family cottage on the Big Eau Pleine Flowage. The cottage became a popular gathering place for friends and a large extended family for more than 30 years.
Don was member St. John’s Catholic Church and its Holy Name Society. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, John Eisen Council No. 1799 since 1960; the Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree John Eisen Assembly No. 1219 since 1988; the Elks Lodge No.665; and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Badger Aerie No 624.
He served on many committees for the Knights of Columbus and held such offices as Sentinel, Trustee, Faithful Pilot and Faithful Navigator. He also served the City of Marshfield as a member of the Business Improvement District Board and the Board of Review.
His service to the Knights of Columbus and community was recognized with the following awards: Knight of the Year (1989), Herb Meyer Top Gun Award (1990), named both the La Crosse Diocese Family of the Year and the State Family of Year (1994); and named District Deputy for the Wisconsin Knights of Columbus (1998).
In 1998 when a Madison-based group challenged the City of Marshfield’s ownership of the statue of Jesus Christ in Praschak Wayside Park, Don spearheaded the effort to establish the Henry A. Praschak Memorial Foundation. The foundation raised funds to purchase the statue, surrounding property and provide an endowment for ongoing maintenance of the site. The legal battles ended in November 2000, and today the foundation owns and maintains the statue and surrounding property.
Survivors include his wife; six sons, Donald “Butch” (Vickie), Douglas (Lorena), David (Lisa), Gary (Mari), Rob (Shannon) of Marshfield, and Jeffrey (Heather) of Stratford; two daughters, Linda, and Kris (Richard) Niehaus of Marshfield; two brothers, Charles (Beverly) and Tom (Barbara) of Marshfield; and sisters, Eileen Funk of Kaukauna, Janice “Nan” (Frank) Pekol of Neillsville and Sister Carol Schnitzler, SSND of Marshfield; 19 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
He was predeceased by a daughter, Lauri Ann in 1962, his parents, a brother, John “Jack” Schnitzler; four sisters, Bernice Volovsek, Sister Joann Schnitzler, SSND, Marlene Kennedy and Mary Jane Zimmermann; sisters-in-law, Lois (Spencer) Herkert and Joyce (Handrick) Spencer, and brothers-in-law, George Burnett, Roger Funk, William Volovsek, Leo Kennedy, James Spencer and Melvin Spencer.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Marshfield Medical Center – Emergency Room, 8 North and Palliative Care for their care of Don.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Mr. Schnitzler’s name to St. John’s Catholic Church Building Fund or Operation Smile.
Condolences may be sent online to www.rembsfh.com
In life, Donnie was a companion, comrade, confidant and friend. Described simply as a good man he possessed a good Christian soul and provided the best examples for a life well-lived. His faith in God was unwavering and his many acts of kindness appreciated. For Donnie’s family, he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. He continues to be our Hero and his memory will always be our inspiration.
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