Flanders, Donald R.
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Donald Ralph Flanders born on June 22, 1929, to Charles S. and Clarice (Tingley) Flanders went home to be with the Lord and his wife, LaVerne on October 23, 2012.
Don was a 1947 graduate of Fond du Lac High School and upon graduation, Don went on to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he graduated with a BA degree in history in 1951. (Go Badgers!!) He also was enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guards during this time.
With degree in hand, Don went to work in Milwaukee at A. O. Smith as an auditor. While traveling back to Fond du Lac to visit family by train, he met the love of his life, LaVerne DuFrane. They were married at St. Joseph's rectory on May 7, 1955. Shortly after their wedding, Don and LaVerne relocated to Fond du Lac, where Don went to work for Fond du Lac County. He had a long and distinguished career serving as County Auditor, Executive Secretary to the County Board and finally as Fond du Lac's first and only County Administrator. This position he held from its inception in 1973 until 1981. Under Don's leadership and his vision for the future, Fond du Lac County became "Fabulous Fond du Lac County". Many landmarks bear his imprint, Rolling Meadows Golf Course, County Industrial Park, U-W Fond du Lac Campus, the Fairgrounds Swimming Pool and our current City/County Administration Center. These along with numerous other projects are his legacy to Fond du Lac.
In 1981, Don and LaVerne relocated to Roanoke, Virginia, where he served as the County Administrator of Roanoke County until May of 1985. In Roanoke, Don brought the same leadership and vision helping to reshape the county government and effectively serving the people of Roanoke County.
Don, ever eager for new challenges, moved to Vicksburg, Michigan, in May of 1987. As Village Manager, he helped to make his new home the "Vital Vigorous Village of Vicksburg." In Vicksburg, he was instrumental in the revitalization of the Village Center, the creation of the Henry A. Leja Industrial Park and numerous other projects.
In 1999, Don "retired" as Village Manager of Vicksburg but with his lifelong desire to help communities thrive, Don became a local government consultant for Portland, Michigan. In Portland, Don worked to help revitalize and reshape their downtown where they were able to earn awards and recognition from the State of Michigan.
Throughout Don's life, he was not just active in his role in local government, but active in his community. Don was a distinguished member of Jaycees, Elks Club, Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, and Rotary International, where Don received the high distinction in 1997 of being a Paul Harris Fellow.
In addition to his work in the communities he lived in, Don was an active member of his church, St. Joseph's in Fond du Lac, and St. Martin of Tours in Vicksburg, Michigan.
Don enjoyed watching the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, and Blackhawks, playing baseball and sheepshead and most especially loved spending time with his grandchildren, bringing them donuts, taking them to A&W and to the park.
Don is survived by his four loving children, Mary (Pete) Runde and her children, Elizabeth (Carcheri Gingrasso) Konen, Alexander Konen and Jonathan (Kristin) Konen; Thomas (Lisa)Flanders and his children, Jessica Flanders and Sarah Flanders; Laura (Randy) Vadnais and their daughter, Amy (Nicholas Schneider) Vadnais; Mark (Darla) Flanders and their children, Brandon, Christian, and Andrew Flanders. He is further survived by his sisters-in-law, Dorothy Flanders, Charlotte Flanders and Patricia DuFrane; his brother-in-law, Linus Doll; as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Clarice; his father and mother-in-law, Lester and Elizabeth DuFrane; his wife, LaVerne; a sister, Cheryl Schwark; a brother-in-law, Wilbert Schwark; his brothers, William and David Flanders; a sister-in-law, Ruth Doll; a brother-in-law, Robert "Buck" DuFrane.
Visitation for Donald Flanders will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 28, 2012, at Uecker-Witt Funeral Home. The Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 29, 2012, at Holy Family Parish, 271 4th Street Way, Fond du Lac. Burial will follow in Rienzi Cemetery.
A special thank you to Pastor Dean and the Lutheran Home nurses and staff for the wonderful care they have given to our parents.
Memorials for Donald Flanders may be directed to the family.
Uecker-Witt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Additional information and guest book may be found at www.ueckerwitt.com.
Published in Fond du Lac Reporter on Oct. 26, 2012