R. Douglas Ziegler, 89
Feb. 13, 1927 — March 5, 2016
R. Douglas Ziegler, a lifelong resident of West Bend, passed away Saturday, March 5, 2016, at his home at the age of 89 years. He was born Feb. 13, 1927, in Milwaukee to the late Bernard C. and Edna H. (nee Eickelberg) Ziegler.
After graduating from West Bend High School with the Class of 1944, he went on to serve with the Merchant Marine Cadet Corps. He then attended Northwestern University, earning a degree in Business Administration in 1949.
On March 3, 1945, Doug was united in marriage to Jeanne Baumgartner. Jeanne predeceased Feb. 15, 1979.
He later married Sharon (nee Snyder) Mish on Sept. 1, 1979.
Doug had a long and distinguished business career. In February 1946, he started working with his father at the former West Bend Aluminum Co. office until his father’s death in May of that year. He worked in every department to learn about the aluminum company. His primary responsibility until 1965 was managing the outboard motor division, which he sold to Chrysler Corp. in 1965.
He merged the West Bend Co. with Dart Industries in 1968. He served as president of the consumer products group of Dart Industries until Dec. 31, 1972.
In January 1973, he left Dart Industries to become president and CEO of The Ziegler Companies Inc. Doug proudly held this position until April 21, 1989. He remained with the company, serving as chairman until March 17, 1997. From May 1991 until June 30, 2002, he served as the chief investment officer of Ziegler Asset Management Inc.
During Doug’s professional career, he served on the board of directors of 12 public companies and many private companies, including First Wisconsin Bankshares, Wisconsin Electric Power Co., Dart Industries Inc., Western Publishing Co., Globe Union Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., The Ziegler Companies Inc., Mattel Inc., Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co., Maxicare Health Plans Inc., Principal Preservation Funds Inc., Applied Power Inc., Everett Smith Group Ltd., Albert Trostel & Sons and Maysteel Corp.
He also was involved in many nonprofit, charitable and civic organizations and boards, including The Ziegler Family Foundation, Associate Board of Directors for Deaconess Hospital in Milwaukee, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Blood Center of Wisconsin, the Blood Center Research Foundation, West Bend Community Chest, Cedar Lake Yacht Club (where he served as commodore), West Bend Community Foundation (which he co-founded), Ripon College Trustee, the American Red Cross, United Way of Washington County (which he chaired or co-chaired three times), Milwaukee River Flood Control Board, various blood drives, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, West Bend Noon Rotary Club, Johnson Controls Foundation, Riveredge Nature Center, National Blood Foundation, Genetic Testing Institute, The Nature Conservancy-Wisconsin chapter, Cedar Community’s Nurturing a Vision, Cedar Community Foundation, West Bend/Regal Ware Museum, alderman for the City of West Bend and West Bend School District president. He and Sharon served as honorary co-chairs of the Cedar Community Moments to Remember Campaign in May 2013. Doug loved the challenge of raising money for many philanthropic organizations in the West Bend area, Greater Milwaukee community, and on a statewide basis. He chaired more than a dozen fund drives, always leading with his generous personal gift and always making goal. All of these efforts were recognized in 2014 in Washington, D.C., by the International Association of Fund Raising Professionals, where he received their singular Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year award.
As often as he could, including last year with his physical limitations, he visited his beloved Colorado property. There he hiked many mountain trails with his family and friends. In the winter he bombed down the slopes of the Snowmass Ski area. His first love was trout fishing in the high mountain streams and lakes and the ponds in front of his home in the Snowmass Valley. He always appreciated the natural beauty of the valley and went to great lengths to protect it.
Doug sailed on Big Cedar Lake for more than 50 years, winning many races and regattas with his intensely competitive spirit, including an Inland Lakes Yachting Association C boat championship.
Survivors include his wife, Sharon; six children, Charlotte “Cherrie” (Thomas) Catlin, Faith (Timothy) Sullivan, Peter (Joan) Ziegler, R. Scott (Yvonne) Ziegler, Deborah (James) Ziegler and Heidi (David) Vollmar; one stepson, Sean (Kimberly) Mish; one daughter-in-law, Cynthia (Tom) Ziegler-Fritz; 20 grandchildren, Todd, Tommer and Heidi, Marnie, Matt and Mark, Courtney, P.T. and Erik, Mary Katherine, Tanner and Josie, Melissa, Cody and Molly, Alaina, Lindsey and Kelsey and Kira and Zoe; 20 great-grandchildren; sister- in-law, Margaret “Peg” Ziegler; and cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
In addition to his parents and wife, Jeanne, he was preceded in death by his son, John Timothy; brother, Bernard C. Ziegler II; and sister, Barbara (John) Ziegler-Wilson.
Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, March 11, at Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church, 323 S. Fifth Ave., West Bend. Private inurnment will be in Washington County Memorial Park. The family will greet relatives and friends during a period of visitation from 2-6 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials to the West Bend Community Foundation, P.O. Box 833, West Bend, WI 53095 or the Blood Center of Wisconsin, foundation office, P.O. Box 2178, Milwaukee, WI 53201.
Doug’s family extends a sincere thank you to Dr. Robert Gibson, his caregivers and the visiting nurses from Cedar Community at Home Hospice for their compassionate care.
The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family. Online guestbook and condolences available at www.schmidtfuneralhome.com.