Donald Alfie Ladd
Oct. 26, 1931 — April 7, 2016

Donald Alfie Ladd of Spring Green, age 84, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on April 7, 2016, and went to join his family and friends in heaven’s chorus. Don was born on October 26, 1931, which was also his mother’s birthday.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Viola; father, Alfie; and the mother of his children, Marilyn.

Don is survived by his sister, Linda Messer (Steve), brother Paul (Karen), and his three sons, Andrew (Donna), Richard (Susan) and David (Katherine). He is further survived by grandchildren Devin, Colin, Ethan, Valerie (Kyle), Emily (Thomas) and Taylor; five great-grandchildren; nephews and nieces; and his longtime, very special companion Debra.

After graduating from North Central College in Naperville, Ill., Don was drafted into the U.S. Army. During his Army stint, he married Marilyn and served in the Army band at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Once out of the service, he was hired in Horicon, teaching vocal music at the high school. From there, he went to Brown Deer High School (then called Granville High) and taught vocal music there for 14 years. He even wrote the fight song they sing to this day. In 1972, Don was hired by the Waukesha School District as the director of music, eventually becoming their director of public relations. He was instrumental in the development of the Wisconsin Honors Music Program and was part of the original planning and development group that created the Kids from Wisconsin. He served as president of the Wisconsin School Public Relations Association and created the Ladd Group, which served school districts across the state of Wisconsin helping them to win bond referendums. Just this March, Don was awarded the National School Public Relations Association’s Learning & Liberty Legacy Leader recognition award for his tireless support of public education.

Don loved his family, music (especially Frank Sinatra), hunting, collecting guns, his “paradise in the woods,” and Korbel. We will miss his sense of humor, his ability to sit down at any piano and ad lib a tune, his love of nature and his fierce positivity.

In the words of Frank Sinatra, Don Ladd can say, “I did it my way!”

Special thanks go to his good friend Darson Ott who cared for dad 24/7 during his last few weeks. Thank you, too, to the doctors and nurses in oncology and radiology at both the Madison VA and University Hospitals, and to all of the caregivers at Upland Hills Hospice. Your knowledge, judgement, kindness and patience are exemplary.

We will be celebrating Don’s life at 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 16, at Black Hawk–Bethlehem United Methodist Church outside of Sauk City.

All memorials will be donated to the Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Research Consortium.