Donald N. Koepp

Oct. 23, 1927 — June 15, 2014


Donald Neil Koepp, 86, an entrepreneurial Waukesha County businessman and charitable fundraiser, died on June 15 of lung disease. Koepp had owned and operated ABC Outdoor Advertising, one of the largest billboard companies in Wisconsin, from 1950 until its sale in 1997 to Clear Channel Outdoor. Soon after its sale, Koepp and business partner Chuck Goetsch founded and built Scenic Self Storage on Silvernail Road in Pewaukee, a facility so deceptively gracious, Koepp once noted, that many passers-by called to ask about renting an apartment in the complex. During his time as head of ABC Outdoor, Koepp served on the board of directors of the former First National Bank of Waukesha, which later became part of JPMorgan Chase.

Among his philanthropic works, Koepp led a major fundraising campaign beginning in 2010 for LifeStriders Therapeutic Riding Center, enabling the equine-therapy group to acquire and renovate a stable and indoor riding center on Summit Avenue in Waukesha. LifeStriders provides horseback- riding experiences for people with a range of conditions including brain injury, autism and post-traumatic stress. Koepp also funded projects for communities in inner-city Milwaukee and was recently the recipient of a community-service award from the Waukesha County chapter of the NAACP.

Koepp and his brother Jack, founder of Koepp Realty in Pewaukee, were the sons of Pewaukee businessman Harry Koepp (and his wife, Hazel), who served as village president and owned Koepp Motors, a Cadillac dealership that sold cars to such Waukesha luminaries as Les Paul. Don Koepp attended Pewaukee High School, where he played varsity football at a time when the team had only 11 players on the entire roster. He attended Carroll University in Waukesha and then Northwestern University, where he graduated with a business degree in 1949. In the 1950s, he helped run the former Waukesha Beach amusement park in the Town of Delafield, which his father, Harry, had purchased and later redeveloped into the Pewaukee Lake subdivision now known as Beach Park. Koepp lived most of his years on the lakeshore.

In the 1940s and ’50s, Koepp was an avid pilot of small planes like the Mooney Mite and Piper Cub, performing stunts in air shows at Waukesha County Airport, where he was a contemporary of local flying pioneer Dale Crites.

Don Koepp is survived by his brother, Jack; his wife, Linda; children Cathy Maki of Minneapolis, Jeff of Eagan, Minn., and Dave and Steve of New York City; stepson Ed Minter of Wauwatosa and stepdaughter Laura Burns of Delafield; as well as 13 grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place on Sunday, June 29, at Church and Chapel Funeral Home, 380 Bluemound Road, Waukesha. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m., a memorial service at 4 p.m., and a reception at 5 p.m. at the 5 O’Clock Club at N28W26658 Peterson Drive, Pewaukee.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent directly to LifeStriders at S11-W29667 Summit Ave., Waukesha, WI 53188. Donations should note that they are in memory of Don Koepp.

Church and Chapel Funeral Home Waukesha is serving the Koepp family. For more information, visit www.churchandchapel.com or call 262-827-0659. To receive this obit/directions text 1391182 to 414-301-6422.