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After spending his final weeks fighting with the strength and heart that highlighted his eighty-eight remarkable years, Donald Martin Paulsen passed away at Hospice Alliance in Kenosha on Friday.
Born in Iron River, Michigan to Olive (Unger) and Harry Paulsen, Don graduated from Milwaukee Messmer High School in 1947 before earning his Bachelor of Arts in Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fortunately for his family, this would be the extent of his bachelor days.
On October 3rd, 1953, Don was united in marriage to Dawn A. Ermann at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Milwaukee. For 64 years, Don and Dawn enjoyed each other’s company as best friends, travel companions, ski buddies, camping partners, and for an unforgettable two years, co-owners of a mildly accident-prone ice cream shop. Dawn referred to him as Mr. Wonderful, a brilliantly diverse nickname that proved adept whether the situation called for sarcasm or humor or admiration.
Don enjoyed a distinguished 29-year career as a District Manager for Wisconsin Natural Gas Company in Racine. He was an avid Rotarian and also spent time volunteering for the National Guard Reserve of Wisconsin. In retirement, Don and Dawn moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, a joy-filled period during which he focused on three things that gave him incredible happiness – Dawn, his faith, and his five iron. In Hot Springs, he was an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, serving as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. He loved to sing, church hymns particularly, and sometimes even did so on key.
A lover of nature, Don found a special inner peace whenever camping, hunting, or fishing. He loved flying kites with his kids. He loved battling neighbors in bridge. He loved tinkering; Don was not the kind to simply walk past a squeaky hinge or a dripping faucet. He loved the long car trips with Dawn back to Wisconsin every Christmas. Yet, despite his wide range of hobbies and interests, he was happiest standing in a tee box on a warm, sun-kissed day. Or a cloudy day for that matter. A wet day. A cold one. To Don, any day on the course was, in a word, perfect.
Everything this man did – from bowing his head and praising the Almighty, to teaching his children and grandchildren a life lesson – he did with the utmost conviction. However, never was this more apparent than in how he loved Dawn and the family he leaves behind; his children, Robyn O’Brien of Racine, Randy (Nancy) Paulsen of Racine, Renee (Marvin) Christensen, of Alamo, CA, and Richelle (Nathan) Post of LaGrange Park, IL; grandchildren, Brendan O’Brien, Erin Bond, Ryan Christensen, and Evan Post; great-grandchildren, Sawyer, Sullivan, and Declan O’Brien, and Evelyn, Kelan, and Kelsey Bond.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Rita’s Catholic Church, 4339 Douglas Ave with Father Bill Donnelly officiating. Relatives and friends may meet prior to the Mass 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Entombment will follow at Holy Cross Mausoleum, Hwy 32.
Don’s great-granddaughter, Kelsey, was recently diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, an extremely rare seizure disorder; in lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to assist the Bond family with their medical costs. Contributions can be made online at gofundme.com/help-the-bond-family, or by mailing a check to Dawn Paulsen in care of Kelsey, at 4235 Erie Street, Unit 404, Racine, WI, 53402.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Hospice Alliance in Pleasant Prairie for their loving and compassionate care during this difficult time.