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Donald W. Fechtner

February 5, 1936 April 5, 2022
Donald W. Fechtner
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Obituary for Donald W. Fechtner

Donald William Fechtner, age 86, died Tuesday, April 6, 2022 at home surrounded by family.

Don was born on February 5, 1936 in Madison, WI to Irma (Zimpel) and Norman Fechtner. He was baptized, had his early education, and was confirmed at St. John’s Church in Merrill, WI. He graduated in 1954 from Merrill High School.

In 1954 he enlisted in the US Navy, attending boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, IL and then reported to California for duty. He quickly became a Quartermaster and spent much of his service years as a navigator. During his 20 years in the Navy he was stationed in California, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Connecticut and served in the Vietnam War. During those years he had many adventures and special moments.

One of those moments occurred when he met the love of his life, Marlene Pankow, while home on leave in 1964. After about a year of a long distance courtship, Marlene agreed to marry Don. Marlene traveled to CA where they were married on September 18, 1965 in Imperial Beach, CA. In 1973 the family moved back to Merrill while Don finished up his last year in the Navy on the East Coast. Back home he began working with his father and later took over Lincoln County Abstract, retiring in 1998.

Don played on slo-pitch softball teams within the local bar league for many years. When he felt he was “too old” to play anymore he continued on as a manager and coach for both women’s and men’s teams in the league. He also sponsored teams for the MDA Firefighters softball tournaments for many years. Don played on various local dart teams for many years. Don enjoyed cookouts with family and friends, going to Hodag, traveling to see his grandkids in Missouri, and attending trips for the USS Southerland ship reunions. Don also loved being outdoors with visits to the camper up north and attending the Zimpel family reunions that gave him many cherished memories.

Don was an extremely avid reader who insisted on buying his books, so of course the bookstores loved him. Although he was not fond of the cold he enjoyed deer hunting for many years. Don was a huge Packer, Badger, and Brewers fan. He was a member of the VFW Post 1638 and the American Legion since retiring from the Navy.

Don was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Marlene; his parents, Norman and Irma Fechtner; mother-in-law and father-in-law Ruth and Leslie Pankow; brother and sister-in-law, Mike (Faye) Fechtner; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Nancy (Roger) Kunkel; and a grandson, Deven Schopper.

Don is survived by his three children: Lesley (David) Schopper, Patrick (Dawnn) Fechtner, and Candy Fechtner; grandchildren: Brittany Schopper and Dylan (Rachel) Schopper with a great grandchild on the way. Step grandchildren: CiJi (Tyler) Becker, Mitchel (Jenny) Becker, and Johnathon (Amie) Becker. Step great grandchildren: Avah, Wyatt, Demi, Lydia, and Daxon Becker.

Don is further survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Steve (Bonnie) Fechtner; nieces: Tina (Joel) Loomis and Tricia (Tom) Blum; nephews: Kevin (Cindy) Kunkel and Kalen Kunkel; step nephews: Levi Laine and Bruce Laine; step nieces: Evelyn Laine and Melody Laine; many great nieces and nephews and cousins.

A Memorial Service for Don will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, April 21, 2022, at the Taylor-Stine Funeral Home, Merrill. Rev. David Szeto will officiate. Burial will take place at St. Francis Xavier Veterans Memorial, Merrill, with graveside military rites conducted by V.F.W. Post 1638, Merrill. The visitation will be Wednesday, April 20, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and again after 10:00 a.m. Thursday all at the funeral home. Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Merrill, is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences may be made at www.taylorstinefuneralhome.com

To send flowers in memory of Donald W. Fechtner, visit the Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Visitation

Wednesday

20

Apr

4:00 PM 4/20/2022 4:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 4/20/2022 7:00:00 PM
Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services

903 E. Third Street
Merrill, WI 54452

Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services
903 E. Third Street Merrill 54452 WI
United States

Visitation

Thursday

21

Apr

10:00 AM 4/21/2022 10:00:00 AM
Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services

903 E. Third Street
Merrill, WI 54452

Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services
903 E. Third Street Merrill 54452 WI
United States

Service

Thursday

21

Apr

11:00 AM 4/21/2022 11:00:00 AM
Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services

903 E. Third Street
Merrill, WI 54452

Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services
903 E. Third Street Merrill 54452 WI
United States
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