Donald Wayne Severson passed of natural causes December 16, 2021. Don was the first child born to Henry “Hank” and Adlyn (Steffen) Severson in Ruthven, Iowa, on October 10, 1939. His sister Mary Jo and brother David followed. He excelled at basketball, baseball, track, and academics in his growing years. He was also an Eagle Scout and was selected to Boys State. He attended Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN for his undergraduate degree, and University of Northern Colorado for his Masters degree. He married Mary Kathleen “Kay” Fitzgerald in 1963, and to this union son Thomas John (1966), and daughter Diane Marie (1969) were born.
He began his professional career as a teacher and coach in Manilla, IA, then Emmetsburg, IA before moving to Madrid, IA to become the guidance counsellor there. It was in Madrid his children were born, and many dear, lifelong friends were made. A job as Registrar at Des Moines Area Community College followed before he accepted a senior position with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in 1972, and moved the family to Madison, WI. He would spend the next 40 years working in both the Public and Private Sectors, including TLD, Inc., Durant Engineers, Great Graphics, and the WI Department of Regulation and Licensing. He was routinely recognized, and received many awards, in his professional career as well as the many civic organizations he led and served. He had a lifelong passion for giving of his time and talents to numerous non-profits and local organizations in the communities he lived. But his proudest achievement was serving as Grandpa Don to grandsons Sam and Dante. He was also a devoted University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s basketball season ticket holder.
In 2012, Don suffered a life altering stroke. But the stroke never robbed him of his mind or positive outlook. In 2014, he moved to Missoula, MT to be near his son, daughter in law and grandson. This move also made visits by his daughter Diane and family more frequent and enjoyable. He greatly enjoyed attending grandson Sam’s athletic events, and the frequent weekend and holiday visits to his son’s home while in Missoula. He resided at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation and was doted on and cared for by the wonderful staff there.
Don was predeceased by his parents, Adlyn and Henry, sister-in-law Connie, brothers-in-law Jerry and Gene, niece Colleen, and former wife Kay.
He is survived by son Tom, daughter-in-law Barb and grandson Sam, Missoula, and daughter Diane, son-in-law Magnus, and grandson Dante, High Wycombe, UK. He is further survived by sister Mary Jo (Niece Therese, nephews Paul and Brian), brother Dave (Niece Debbie and nephew Mike), sister-in-law Margie (Nieces Rosemarie and Maureen), and many cousins, extended family, and dear friends.
The family would like to thank the staff at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation, and the staff at Providence/St. Patrick’s hospital for the care they provided Dad, Don and Grandpa. He led an exemplary life, and we are truly saddened by his passing.
Memorials can be made to the organization of the donors choice.