Donald John (1928 - 2007)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: Schiesel, Scheller, Huntzie, Weber, Dubowski
----Sources: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) Thursday, November 29, 2007
Schiesel, Donald John (11 Feb. 1928 - 16 Nov. 2007)
Donald J. Schiesel
SUN CITY, Ariz. -- Donald John Schiesel, 79, a former Marshfield and Neillsville resident, died Nov. 16, 2007, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Don was born to Laniece (Scheller) and John (Huntzie) Schiesel on Feb. 11, 1928, in Marshfield. There he spent his youth as a member of St. John's Catholic Church receiving his education, briefly interrupted in 1945 when he enlisted in the Navy, at 17 years old. After basic training at Great Lakes Naval Academy, he spent 10 months on sea duty in the South Pacific, first aboard the USS Chowanol and then the USS Lexington, both sea-going tugs. His experiences aboard ship, along with those in Guam and the Philippines, remained his most treasured memories to the end. He never tired of reveling in Navy stories and searching for others who served in the military with whom he could reminisce.
On May 28, 1949, he married the former Ardelle Weber, daughter of George and Emma, in Marshfield. Soon after, they moved to Neillsville where Don partnered with his father, proprietor of the Neillsville Maytag Store, assuming full ownership in 1964. During his Neillsville years he was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Rotary Club, Jaycees and the Knights of Columbus. He served as commander of Neillsville Haugen-Richmond American Legion Post 73 (1970) and as county commander (1971). Whether participating in service club activities, the annual deer hunt, fishing, or entertaining at home, he relished the camaraderie and friendships these activities provided.
In 1974, tiring of Wisconsin winters, Ardelle and Don moved to Arizona. They built a home and lived for several years near Wickenburg before returning to the valley and settling in Sun City. In 2000 they moved into the Royal Oaks Life Care Community occupying an independent apartment where they enjoyed the many activities offered by this facility. Here Don was in his element again, making new friends, finding ex-military personnel, and socializing in the dining room. While savoring the climate in Arizona, he never forgot his Wisconsin roots, continually searching for someone with whom he could share his love of the Packers and Badgers. He maintained his membership in the American Legion while living in Arizona eventually receiving acknowledgment of his 60 years dedicated membership through Post 62 in Peoria, Ariz. In 1990 he became a member in the National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors (NAFTS) and had several articles published about his naval experiences in their newsletter.
Although diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1998, he was able to remain relatively independent for several years. By 2004, when Ardelle could no longer care for him, he was moved to the full-time care center at Royal Oaks. Even there he managed to maintain a bit of the old Schiesel-humor, joking with the staff and providing more than a few memorable stories. Don was a hardworking, gregarious, family man who was a loving husband and father. He held fast and faithful to friendships whether formed over 60-plus years ago in high school, in Neillsville, or new friendships in Arizona.
He is survived by his mother, Laniece Schiesel in Peoria, Ariz.; a daughter, Judith (Jude) Schiesel in Madison; and a special friend and care-giver, Frances Dubowski in Sun City, Ariz. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ardelle in 2005; two infant sons; and his father. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
A memorial mass will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 28, 2007, at St. Clement's of Rome Catholic Church were he was a member. A private committal service will be held for Seaman 1st Class Schiesel in the Arizona National Cemetery with full military honors.
Memorials can be made to the National Parkinson's Disease Association or the Neillsville American Legion Post 73 Building Fund.
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