Donald Joseph Holtger, 85, Klondike, died early Sunday morning, April 27, 2014, at home, surrounded by his loving family. He was born September 11, 1928, in Oconto County to Roland and Emily (Burish) Holtger.
Donald grew up in the Coleman area where he attended school, graduating from high school with the class of 1946. In 1948, he went with his good friend, Cal Compe, to Milwaukee where they worked for Evinrude Outboard Motors. When Donald was laid off, he purchased his own tools and went to work for Hall Chevrolet and later Nash Motors. In 1950, he entered the United States Army where he was stationed in Korea with the 936th Artillery Battalion until he boarded the ship back to the United States on his 34th birthday. Donald was a lifetime member of the Jerome Rouse VFW Post 9379 and Coleman American Legion Post 280. In 1953, his brother Kenny asked him to join him in a venture to start a business digging in cable, which would become Holtger Brothers Inc., a company which would grow to have operations in seven different states.
On May 12, 1956, he married Janet Lee Dieck in Suring, Wis. and together they had six children in their beloved Klondike home. Together, Donald and Janet enjoyed hunting, fishing, dancing and music as well as numerous pheasant hunting trips to South Dakota. They also created a loving family home where everyone felt welcomed. Donald also enjoyed his family hunting camp, working in the woods, rebuilding antique saw mills and seeing trees made into lumber the old fashioned way. You might say Donald could always see value in any old pieces of iron and possessed a unique ability to fix anything. He was even skidding logs earlier this year. Donald also enjoyed old tractors, cars, music of all kinds, especially bluegrass, singing and actually playing the guitar in his youth. He was also known for passing out $2 bills and fresh cheese curds to family, friends and complete strangers. Donald's later life was enriched by his companionship with Phyllis Cops and the time they spent together gardening and being involved with the family "Good Ole Country Band". Donald's Catholic faith and the church in Klondike was very important to him.
Survivors are his best friend, Phyllis Cops; five children: Cathy (Dean) Radke, Donald G. (Jennifer) Holtger, Jeffrey (Kristal) Holtger, Gail (Brad) Korpi, Theresa (Brian) Schaut; 16 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and many good friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Janet Lee Holtger in 1996; a daughter, Mary Ellen Holtger-Meadke; one brother, Kenneth Holtger and one sister, Lorraine "Aunty" Holtger.
Visitation will be held 3 to 8 p.m., Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls. Visitation will continue after 9 a.m., Monday, May 5, 2014 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Oconto Falls until the time of service. Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday at the church with the Rev. Fr. Joel Sember officiating.
Burial, with military honors, will follow in St. Wenceslaus Cemetery, Klondike.