Mississippi River Sunset, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Obituary for Donald Schiffer

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Donald John Schiffer, 72, of La Crosse, passed away on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at his home. Donald was born in La Crosse on May 8, 1946 to Joseph and Elene “Grace” (Blake) Schiffer. Donald grew up in La Crosse and attended Aquinas High School. He was enlisted in the US Navy from 1966 to 1970 and served in the Vietnam War. Donald married Theresa Ann Merrell on February 3, 1973 at St. James Catholic Church in La Crosse. Together they had 3 daughters, Christina, Jennifer and Angela. He was a devoted husband, loving father, caring brother and beloved grandfather. Don was the greatest storyteller and could captivate everyone in the room with his tales. His sense of humor was unparalleled, and family gatherings were always spent with lots of chatter and laughter. Don was smart in all matters of life and was an endless source of information. He always had the best advice and was a great listener, as well. Sometimes all you needed was his hand holding yours and you were comforted. Donald worked as a conductor for Soo Line Railroad until he was injured on the job. He worked at the juvenile detention center for a few years following his accident on the railroad. He loved his time there and truly cherished working with the young people during those rough periods in their lives. At heart, he was always a helper and gave himself selflessly to those around him. 20 some years after leaving that job, he would still from time to time, be approached by someone who just wanted him to know that he had changed their lives and helped them during their time there. That he had made a difference. Don loved music and could often be found singing or whistling a tune. If you ever got to hear his sweet baritone ring through the air, you were one of the lucky ones. He enjoyed playing golf and going to the casino. He loved sports and never missed a Brewers or Packers game. He often joked and lamented the fact that none of his daughters or grandkids inherited his love of sports. Donald was strong, kind, and compassionate and would do anything for the ones he loved. He was the greatest father that anyone could ask for or hope to have. His daughters were lucky beyond words to have his support and steadfast love. When times were difficult, Dad and Mom were always there as a united team to guide them. His grandchildren adored him and he cherished being in their lives and watching them grow up. He played a major role in each of their lives and helped shape them into the amazing young women and men that they are. The thing Don will most be remembered for is his fierce love for Theresa. His daughters were blessed to live in a home filled with their love for each other. Things weren’t always easy, but they remained a united front and were inseparable and devoted to one another. There was never any doubt that Don and Theresa were meant for one another. He was nothing short of a hero to his family. And though we had Don here for 72 years, it wasn’t nearly enough. Our lives were immeasurably changed by his presence and will be immeasurably changed by his absence. We love you. We were so lucky to have you. Donald is survived by his wife of 46 years, Theresa; his children, Christina Prairie, Jennifer Schiffer, and Angela (Jamie Brandt) Schiffer. His grandchildren, Devon, Ian, Dawson, and Lilly; and his sister, Sister Grace Ann Schiffer. He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Grace and his brothers, Joseph and Frank. Don was deeply loved by Theresa, his wife of 46 years, and his three daughters, Christina, Jennifer, and Angela. Memorial services will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at Sletten-McKee-Hanson Funeral Home (1425 Jackson Street, La Crosse, WI), with Chaplain Kristin Van Heyningen officiating. Friends may visit with the family from 4:00 p.m. until the time of service. Memorials can be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project at PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 or online at woundedwarriorproject.org. Sletten-McKee-Hanson Funeral Home of La Crosse is assisting the family with arrangements.