Donald Ellsworth Guenther, 95, of Knowlton, passed into eternal rest on Monday, March 2, 2020 at Mountain Terrace Senior Living in Wausau.
He was born on April 15, 1924, in Knowlton, the son of the late Charles and Laura (Whaley) Guenther.
Don attended Knowlton Grade School through eighth grade and graduated in 1943 from Mosinee High School. Even before graduation he volunteered for service to his country during WWII, enlisting in the Army. From 1943-1945 he was stationed in the Northern Pacific Theater – specifically on Adak, part of the Aleutian Islands chain just off the coast of Alaska. He served as a corporal in the Army Air Corps’ “Land, Sea, and Air Rescue” unit. He fondly remembers the day he stepped off the troop transport ship, Friday, March 13, 1943. It was a beautiful day on Adak. The sun was shining, the mountains were fantastic – an absolutely beautiful day! He thought, ‘This is going to be great!’. That was the last day he saw the sun in the next two and a half years. Welcome to Alaska.
After the war, Don returned to the Mosinee area and worked for Mosinee Paper for a few years. After leaving the mill he began working for the Mosinee Post Office as a clerk, then, for 15 years as a city mail carrier. He retired as a rural mail carrier with a total of 30 years of service.
On May 28, 1949, Don married his sweetheart, Margaret Springer at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Knowlton. A year after they were married, they bought a house ‘on the island’ right near St. Francis Xavier church. There, they lived for the next 64 years. During those years, Margaret and Don experienced many fun moments with their two children; family vacations, grilling out, being outdoors, especially waterskiing in their back yard – Lake Du Bay. (Their first boat was the “H20 A Go-Go. It was, after all, the 1960’s.)
In retirement, there was always time to ‘take the scenic route’. In 1985, Don and Margie went on a Gerry Goetche Polka Band tour to central Europe. They loved to take the Circle Route into Canada and did so several times. They visited nearly every state in the Union. Their favorite trips would be into Coulee country in western Wisconsin either to get apples in Gays Mills, or drive along The Mississippi River as far as Praire du Chien. Their favorite destination was the Twin Bluffs Restaurant in Nelson, Wisconsin. When they weren’t on the road, Don would be working in his huge garden or riding his bike for miles at a time each day. Both past times he enjoyed until he was 90 years old.
Don was a lifetime member of the Mosinee Post #8733 VFW. He was a 50-year member of the Mosinee Council # 5488 Knights of Columbus as well as a member and officeholder in the Lake Du Bay Lion’s Club. In 2013, Don took part in the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. He loved to deer hunt with his brothers, then with his son and grandson. Don participated in his church as a reader and usher as well as a premier potato peeler and pancake-flipper for the men’s society’s pancake breakfasts.
Don leaves behind two children: Lynne (John) Ahles, Wausau, and Mark (Anne) Guenther, Knowlton; two grandchildren: Emma (Christopher) Macneil, North Carolina, and Whaley Guenther, Stratford. One siter-in-law, Lillian Springer, along with many nieces and nephews.
On December 14, 2016, his wife of 65 years, Margaret, passed away in Wausau. Don is also preceded in death by his oldest son, John Guenther; a sister, Lucille Chmiel; and three brothers, Milton, Cornelius and George Guenther.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 6, 2020, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Knowlton. The Rev. James Trempe will officiate. Burial will be in St. Francis Cemetery, Knowlton. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., Friday, at the Church. Beste Funeral Home, Mosinee, is assisting the family will arrangements. Online condolences can be made at www.bestefh.com
Don’s family wish to thank the staff at Mountain Terrace in Wausau and the therapists from Genesis Rehab Services for their kindness and genuine care for Don during his stay.