Donald Dean Wissmiller

Date of Birth: February 10, 1936
Date of Death: July 25, 2006


Memorial Service Bulletin: August 2, 2006  Click Here

Donald was born on February 10, 1936 in Paxton, IL. He grew up in Gibson City, IL, where he attended a little country school during his elementary years. He later attended Gibson City High School, the University of Illinois, and Wesleyan University. Throughout these years he played guard on basketball teams and also football. His mother was known to entertain the entire team with her lip-smackin' chicken dinners from time to time.

While in high school, Don was in the National Honor Society, 4-H Club, and the FFA (he won many ribbons and trophies in all of the above). While in Gibson, he helped on the family farm, worked at Central Soya Company and the Gibson City Canning Factory (later named DelMonte).

After moving to Minnesota in 1963, he met Janet Campbell while attending a cosmetology school. "It was love at first sight!" and on December 23, 1964, they were joined in marriage and exchanged vows to remain together until death would separate them (and they did)! Don brought into the union two children, Karilyn Lorene and Bryon Douglas, from a previous marriage and so started their little family. At that time, Don had two transitional jobs, the Green Stamp Company and Land-O-Lakes. Two more children were born to complete this family – Jerry Dean and Julie Marie. In April 1966, Don began working at Gabberts Family Furniture Store, where he retired from 36 years later. As all of the children became school age, Don decided he could make more than Jan and asked her to stay home with the children. Don then took on a second job, working at Taits Super Value, and so began 16 hour days for him, which he continued until Julie graduated.

Don was devoted to his family and his church, well loved by co-workers and neighbors. He was always there when anyone needed help, whether moving something, digging a car out of a snow drift, running errands, or helping a church friend clean up after a tornado. He served his church faithfully as a deacon, head deacon, elder, head elder, and sat on many committees. Don also helped repair, clean, organize, and maintain the church building.

Around the home, he could fix or create a way to fix almost anything. He was very handy and did excellent work. Don loved gardening, in which he spent many happy hours, with brought a lot of admiring compliments. Babies and children were drawn to Don's gentle smiles. He loved music. He also loved games with numbers like "Racko" and "Dominoes" – also word games like Scrabble, Boggle and crosswords. On weekends we'd go for long family rides near lakes and country areas.

Don remained gentle, kind, and content even though his last years were spent dealing with arthritis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Through each transition, as his capabilities diminished, he cheerfully accepted more and more of Julie and Jan's help. He loved to laugh and joke with Julie, be talked to one-on-one and he enjoyed singing worship until the words would not come, then he would hum. Each night, Jan and Don would hum, "Jesus Loves Me", "Braham's Lullaby" and "Silent Night, Holy Night" before he went to sleep.

He spent his last days watching T.V. – his favorite shows were: Three Angels Broadcasting Network, the Andy Griffith Show, Family Affair, Lassie, and Leave It To Beaver. He also enjoyed baby, nature, and animal DVDs and DVDs of people singing like Joe Pearles, Del Delker, and Voice of Prophecy Family Reunions.

He loved feeding and watching the pair of mallard ducks that have been coming to our front yard for about 22 years, along with the many species of other birds – some of his favorites were cardinals, chickadees, doves, nut hatches and yellow finches. He also enjoyed "Chippie", our little chipmunk who would come and eat out of our hands along with the bunny rabbits (which he called raggets when he was little) and watching the antics of the many squirrels in our yard.

Don loved attention from Jan and Julie, visits from family, Gary, our mailman, friends, and neighbors. He couldn't respond – only by his smile and that said everything!

Early on, he talked often of his life on the farm. A couple of things he talked of the most were trying to ride and stay on the buck sheep while it tried to scrape him off by running under the hayrack and he talked of spending many hours with his siblings enjoying swinging on the rope swing that hung from the ceiling of the barn – it would swing way out the front door and way out the back. Later he would name his brothers as he looked in the mirror – he still saw the resemblance.

Don never wanted to go anywhere without his wife, Jan, and stayed in love with her until he closed his beautiful eyes in peaceful sleep on July 25, 2006.

Don now waits for Jesus to return on the resurrection day when he will see his Saviour face to face, and be reunited with his family and friends.

Source: Submitted by Julie Wissmiller

Lessons of the past
Hope for the future