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Donald Gareis

Obituary Condolences

Donald Gareis Obituary

Family-Placed Death Notice

GAREIS, Donald DONALD H. GAREIS Donald H. Gareis, 85, of Atlanta, passed away peacefully at his home on January 13, 2011. He is survived by his wife Phyllis (Ryan); his daughter Lisa G. Korslund, her husband James R. Korslund, and their children Ryan, Hannah, and Katherine, of Minneapolis, MN; his son Peter D. Gareis, his wife Mary Ann "Mert" M. Gareis and their children Grady, Nicholas, and Susan of Cochran, GA; his son Christopher R. Gareis, his wife Molly H. Gareis, and their children Hance, Isabelle, and Anne Ryan of Williamsburg, VA; his daughter Sarah G. Wilson, her husband W. Todd Wilson, and their children Jack and Luke; his sister Mary G. McMahon and her husband Thomas; his sister Carol G. Leberer and her husband James; and a host of loving relatives and friends. Don was born on March 20, 1925, in Buffalo, New York, to Herbert and Catherine (Zimpfer) Gareis. He attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Buffalo, NY. During WWII, he served in the US Army in G-Company of the 398th Infantry from 1943 to 1946, campaigning in France and Germany. While serving in the occupying allied army, he befriended the Ruperti family, setting in motion a family-to-family relationship that has spanned three generations. For his service in the Infantry, he received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart and was promoted to first lieutenant. After the war, Don earned a BA from Canisius College in Buffalo and began his 37-year career with Sears, working in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He was vice president and executive director of the Sears-Roebuck Foundation in Chicago, then served as public affairs director for Sears' 13-state southern territory, headquartered in Atlanta. During his 18 years with Sears in Atlanta, he served as vice chair and director of the Metropolitan Foundation of Atlanta and in numerous assignments with United Way, including 18 successful employee campaigns. He was a charter member of the Emory University School of Business Administration Conference Board, chair of the Atlanta University Center National Alliance Business Cluster, the first chair of Clark College board of visitors, and chair of the Georgia Tech Parents Committee. Don served as President of the Woodruff Arts Center from 1983 until his retirement in 1990. During his tenure, endowment more than doubled, property important to the Center's expansion was acquired, and the four divisions of the Alliance Theatre Company, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and High Museum of Art experienced growth in the breadth and quality of their programs. Don also served as a trustee of the Georgia Council on Economic Education and on the advisory board of the Georgia Public Broadcast System, WETV, and WAAE-FM. He was chair of the Academy Theatre through some of its most challenging years. Through the Sears years, Don was a member of the Atlanta Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America, and the Southeastern Council on Foundations. While president of the Arts Center, he was a member of the Emory University Board of Visitors and the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Don was a life trustee of the Woodruff Arts Center, a director of the Atlanta Chamber's Arts and Business Council, and a member of the Georgia Citizens for the Arts. He was a founder and director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University and served on the Arts Advisory Board of Clark Atlanta University. He belonged to the Rotary Club of Atlanta and to the Capital City Club. Following his retirement, Don continued to serve the community as a board member of the Foxfire Fund and as senior consultant at Coxe Curry & Associates, where he was a mentor in residence to the younger staff. Through more than 60 years of broad experience in business, arts administration, and volunteerism, Don was a tireless advocate for the growth and development of the arts and culture in Atlanta. He was also deeply devoted to the Catholic Church and the faith community in the city. With his family, his greatest love was to spend time at his second home on Lake Burton in the north Georgia mountains. His favorite recreation was cabin maintenance work and puttering about with plumbing, boats, repairs, and the gravity water system for the cabin. He will be missed by all who knew him. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Monday, January 17, 2011, at H. M. Patterson & Son Spring Hill in Atlanta. A memorial mass for Don will be held on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, at 11:00 a.m., at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Briarcliff Road in Atlanta. Reception will follow in the church hall. Burial will be private at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Woodruff Arts Center (http://www.woodruffcentr.org), the Aquinas Center (http://www.aqui nas.emory.edu), or the Foxfire Fund (http://www.foxfire.org) in Don's name. Online condolences may be made at Hmpattersonspringhill.com.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Jan. 16 to Jan. 17, 2011
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