Don Witte passed away at his home in Altus, Oklahoma on Saturday morning, November 19, 2016 at the age of 80.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 26, 2016, 2:00 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, Elmer, Oklahoma with the Rev. Mark Muenchow officiating, assisted by Pastor Lynn Rudd. Burial and graveside service will be held at a later date at St. Mary's Cemetery, Winona, Minnesota. Services have been entrusted to Lowell-Tims Funeral Home and Crematory, of Altus.
Donald Henry Witte was born to Paul and Delphina Witte on July 30, 1936 in Waterloo, Iowa. He grew up in Fairmont Minnesota, graduated from Fairmont High School and attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
He began his career as a mechanical engineer in 1954, with Baker Engineering, Minneapolis, Minn. and continued in engineering and machine design with American Can Company, designing machinery for packaging and automatic assembly equipment for the food industry.
From 1970 – 1979, Don held the position of director of engineering and product development for Fox Pool Corporation, a manufacturer of in-ground vinyl liner swimming pools. He founded Pooltech Inc. in 1979 and continued design and manufacturing in the swimming pool industry.
In 1984, Don began a 30-year career as an expert witness and consultant for personal injury litigation involving swimming pools, spas and other aquatic environments.
Don married Jacqueline Thaggard on December 23, 1986 in Dallas, Texas. They enjoyed traveling for both business and pleasure. Don especially enjoyed his time spent "wintering" in their home in Big Pine Key, Florida.
Don served the swimming pool and spa industry tirelessly for over 40 years, serving as Chairman of numerous committees of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals or APSP whose focus was writing and improving national standards and codes.
Throughout the course of his career he was also an inventor and was issued fifteen U.S. patents, most of which related to swimming pools.
On November 1, 2016, just two weeks before his passing, he was named a "fellow" of APSP. A coveted honor, nominated by peers, the Fellows Award recognizes leaders whose contributions have enhanced professionalism of the pool, spa and hot tub industry through intellectually inspired leadership.
Safety in all aquatic environments was his personal mission.
His most valued work was through studies and research to improve safety regarding suction entrapment which was responsible for an increasing number of accidents and fatalities in aquatic environments. As a result of his efforts, equipment requirements were modified which ultimately resulted in a substantial decrease in accidents.
Don also served as a member of the board of directors of the National Swimming Pool Foundation and was a member of the Military Affairs Committee in Altus.
Don was predeceased by his parents, nephew, Jeff Shouts and father-in-law, Jack Thaggard.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jackie; sister and spouse, Pauline and Eugene Shouts of Bemidji, Minnesota; daughter Shannon Witte-Albrecht; daughter and spouse, Heidi Witte and Bud Groth; daughter and spouse, Gretchen and Mike Martin; grandchildren, Evan Nenkov, Dillon Nenkov and Celeste Witte; mother-in-law Mary Jane Winsett; extended family, Gary and Phyllis Winsett, Luke and Kelley Winsett; and sons, Grey, Rawley and Nash Winsett; Zack Winsett, Jake Winsett, Jack and Ann (Winsett) Hawkins and family, and a host friends throughout the United States.
His friends and family were honored to know this proud conservative and patriot, avid reader and scholar of world history.
Online tributes and memories may be made to the family at www.Lowell-Tims.com.