Donald G. Staats
Born: May 14, 1946 in Joliet, IL
Died: January 12, 2022 in Peru, IL
Donald G. Staats, 75, a longtime Illinois Valley resident of LaSalle, Peru, Spring Valley, and Oglesby passed away Wednesday, January 12, 2022, with his family being there and helping him through to the end.
Funeral services will be held at 6:00 PM Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at the Mueller Funeral Home, Peru. Visitation will be 4-6:00 PM Tuesday at the funeral home.
Don was born on May 14, 1946 in Joliet to John and Ann (Ozias) Staats. He was the youngest of 14 total brothers and sisters. He grew up in the LaSalle-Peru area making many friends, with baseball, basketball, and later on softball became one his passions. He hiked the Vermillion and became a Brooklyn then Los Angeles Dodger fan. He was involved in many a ballgame through his youth. Don graduated LaSalle-Peru High School, played some summer baseball, then joined the U.S. Army, becoming an MP in Germany.
After his honorable discharge from the Army, Don began his softball and family career by meeting Marcia Damm, his future wife and the mother of his four boys, Matt, Ryan, John, and Luke. Don was retired having worked at Westclox, Sundstand, and even the Peru Mall for a spell. A majority of his working life was spent with Federal Express as a courier and safety manager, then Spring Valley Walmart Distribution Center in loss prevention. He somehow found the time between his family, work, and personal life to complete a bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University by the mid-1980's.
Don played hard in the evenings, playing winter basketball when younger and in the spring, summer, and fall, playing in multiple softball leagues. The core of the softball team stayed together through the years with the 10+ guys and a few long-time alternates winning numerous tournaments and leagues from the early 1970's until 1990. Teams included The LaSalle Orphans, Flo's, Peru American Legion, Play Mor, Hubs Pub, Ellie's, and The Pour House.
Don mainly played third base, like a pro. Don hit for average and power and led the team and leagues in several stats over his career along with winning an MVP. When he would swing and connect, a uniquely distinguishable sound he would make! Nicknamed Kazzie, Ned, and Moose by friends and family, #13 was his number emblazoned on his jerseys and personal items.
When the softball team ended their run, Don kept busy playing basketball on his home court, spending time in his basement lair hanging and working out, cooking all his famous Staats recipies, enjoying music, sports, traveling, and spending time with his friends, family, and grandsons. Sadly his wife, Marcia and friend of many, passed away in 2013.
A few years passed and by chance and fate, he met another widower who had gone through similar life experiences. Nancy Ptak was a long-time friend and member of the softball clan. Don and Nancy found love once again with them dating, then moving in together, and later becoming engaged in 2020. Nancy became our second mom. Both of the families had lost a son with Michael Ptak, then Ryan Staats passing too early in their lives. Some of the boy's ashes were scattered at the White Sox field. The families survived and continue carrying on the family names and traditions. Don and Nancy could be found enjoying lunches and dinners all over the Illinois Valley area and spending quiet time alone or with their families. Don and Nancy formed a wonderful team.
Don is survived by his fiancee, Nancy Ptak of Oglesby, along with his sons, Matt Staats of Spring Valley, John Staats of Chambersberg PA, and Luke Staats of Peru and his five grandsons, Jacob, Garrett, Connor, Ian, and Everett.
Don was preceded in his death by his parents; his wife Marcia; his son, Ryan Staats; and all 13 of his brothers and sisters.
The online guestbook may be viewed and remembrances shared at www.MuellerFH.com
Published by News Tribune from Jan. 14 to Jan. 15, 2022.