Donald Kovar, 86, passed away Saturday, March 2, 2013 after a brief battle with pneumonia. Don was born in Chicago on November 25, 1926 and was the only child of Bess and Joseph Kovarsky. He attended Emmett School in Chicago where, in third grade, he met his future wife Nadine Joseph, and proposed to her on the spot although he had to wait until 1947 before she finally accepted his proposal. In the interim, Don attended, enjoyed and graduated from Austin High School. He had just returned from Champaign, IL where he had registered to attend the University of Illinois
when he was drafted into service during World War II. Don joined the Army
, became a staff Sergeant and was a photographer for the Signal Corps. After basic training, he was headed to California to participate in the invasion of Japan when the war ended. He finished his tour of duty in Honolulu, Hawaii and returned to Chicago. He and Nadine were married on November 14, 1948 at her parents' home. Together they built their family home in 1958 in Wilmette, IL where they raised their three children, Nancy (Terry) Lucht, Robert (Carolyn) Kovar and Patricia (Robert) Buchanan. He joined Nadine's family at Joseph Lumber Company, became an active member of the Young Homebuilders Association and had a successful career in contract sales for sixty years. After a brief retirement, Don re-entered the workforce in lumber contract sales for Lexington Homes for several years before finally retiring permanently. Don and Nadine shared a love of traveling the world. They skied everywhere from northern Wisconsin to Idaho to Colorado; enjoyed a houseboat on the canals of France with friends, kayaked with whales in Alaska, explored the wilds of Africa and went to Russia to find their family roots. They joined a tennis group and enjoyed trips to Mexico, northern Wisconsin and many places in between. Don explored Wisconsins' northwoods from the family home he and Nadine built in Manitowish Waters Wisconsin in 1948. Don loved fishing, sitting on the beach and especially Saturday nights at "Picnic Point" with 40 noisy relatives and friends all having fun and telling stories. Although he regretted deeply that he never finished his own college education, Don made certain that each of his children and grandchildren would have successful college educations and a solid start to whatever career they chose. Don is preceded in death by his wife Nadine, daughter Patty and Son-in-law Terry. Don and Nadine's greatest happiness was their seven grandchildren, Scott (Amanda) Sasse of Chicago, IL, Sarah Sasse of Denver, CO, Audrey Buchanan of Eden, Utah, Andy Buchanan of San Francisco, CA, Addy Kovar of Somerset, WI and Sam Kovar of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each grandchild had a special nickname and unique relationship with their grandparents. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to The Patricia Buchanan Scholarship Fund, University of Wisconsin
-Madison, Office of External Relations, School of Education, 181 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Hall, Madison, WI 54706-1326.