Donald Derse ‘Don’ Counsell

Aug. 17, 1946 -  April 26, 2009


Donald Derse “Don” Counsell, 62, found eternal peace Sunday, April 26, 2009, after a truly valiant 16-year battle with multiple myeloma. He was born Aug. 17, 1946, to Donald “Huck” and Violet Counsell.  

He attended St. Jerome School and graduated from Oconomowoc High School in 1964. He attended Purdue University where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and Purdue Crew. Upon his graduation in 1968, he was hired by Wisconsin Telephone. In 1969, he married Susan White and moved to Rochester, N.Y., to attend Olympic Rowing Training Camp. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in October 1969, and served two years, including one year in Vietnam. Upon his return to Wisconsin, he resumed his career with Wisconsin Bell and its successors for the next 30 years. Over the course of his employment, he earned his Master of Business Administration from Marquette University in 1977 and a Master of Science in management from Stanford University as a Sloan Fellow in 1982. He retired in 1999 as director of corporate strategy for SBC/Ameritech.

Don was a member of St. Bruno Parish in Dousman, the Knights of Columbus, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2260 and the American Legion Bell Telephone Post 427. He volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and many other church and civic projects throughout his life. Don was the beloved husband to his wife of 40 years, Sue; the cherished father of Don (Carolyn) Counsell and Darcy Moder; and the proud and treasured “Papa” to his grandchildren, Eddie, Tommy, Davy and Megan. He was the loving brother of Al (Gloria), Jim (Linda), Jerry (Marsha), Kathy (John) Brocke, Steve (Cyndi), Tim (Sue) and Bob (Elly) Counsell and the dear brother-in-law of Pam Rhoads.

Don loved life and had an indomitable spirit. He held his faith, family and friends as his highest priorities. He enjoyed golf, trapshooting, hunting and fishing and being outdoors.

One of the highlights of his life was being an Olympic torch bearer in 2002. But the times he loved the most were those spent playing cards and telling stories with family and friends.

Our deepest thanks and gratitude go to Dr. Richard Hansen and the wonderful nurses and staff at the Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital Regional Cancer Center for their compassionate and loving care. We also want to express our sincere appreciation to all the blood donors who literally gave Don the gift of life.  

Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at St. Jerome Catholic Church, 995 Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc. Visitation continues from 11 a.m. to the noon funeral Mass on Friday, May 1, at the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Don’s name to Purdue Foundation-Purdue Crew Boathouse or to the Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital Regional Cancer Center.

Schmidt & Bartelt Notbohm-Kreutzmann Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family. For more information, call 567-4459 or visit online at www.schmidtandbartelt.com.