Joseph Donald ‘Don" Van Ness

July 27, 1911 - Nov. 27, 2005

Joseph Donald "Don" Van Ness, 94, of Marshfield, died peacefully Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005, at the palliative care unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.

J.D. was born in Seattle on July 27, 1911, a son of the late Frances Alberta (Porter) and Joseph Applegate Van Ness. The family relocated to Waukesha when Don was 6. He attended Waukesha schools, graduating in 1929. After graduation, Don attended Carroll College and graduated with a degree in mathematics.

On June 7, 1943, Joseph Van Ness was united in marriage to the former Lorraine Winters at her family home in Ladysmith. That same year, Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Portland, Maine, Norfolk, Va., and at Guantanimo Bay, Cuba.

Don worked for most of his life as an appliance sales representative for a local business and later as the sales training manager for General Electric in Milwaukee. In 1988, Don and Lorraine moved to Marshfield. Several years after Lorraine’s death, Don moved into the residence of his daughter and grandchildren.

Mr. Van Ness enjoyed playing tennis his entire life, until age 86. He also loved music, singing in barbershop quartets and the choirs of the Methodist church in Waukesha and Marshfield. Don also enjoyed rebuilding player pianos and pump organs.

Don is survived by his twin daughters, Kristin Van Ness and Gretchen Ratzloff of Marshfield; his grandchildren, Daren Ratzloff, currently serving in the Army National Guard in Kuwait, and Kyah Jo Ratzloff, a student at Marshfield High School.

His wife in 1989, son Peter in 1980, and his only sister, Jean Hawkins, predeceased him. Don was always a pleasant, honest person who loved to laugh and loved a good joke. He was a very devoted husband, father and grandfather who took great delight in his family. He lived a long life and he will be greatly missed here on Earth by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

A private family memorial service will be held in the spring.

Hansen Funeral Home of Marshfield, (715) 387-1215, is assisting the family with arrangements.