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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Donald J. Holtger

A prominent area businessman, Donald Joseph Holtger, 85, of Klondike, passed away early Sunday morning, April 27 at his home, surrounded by his family.

Born Sept. 11, 1928 in Oconto County to Roland and Emily (Burish) Holtger, he grew up in Coleman where he attended school and graduated from high school with the class of 1946. In 1948 he went with his friend, Cal Compe, to Milwaukee where they worked for Evinrude Outboard Motors. When he was laid off, he purchased his own tools and went to work for Hall Chevrolet and later Nash Motors. In 1950 he joined the United States Army and was stationed in Korea with the 936th Artillery Battalion until he boarded the ship back to the US on his 24th birthday. He was a lifetime member of the Jerome Rouse VFW Post 9379 and Coleman American Legion Post 280. In 1953, his brother Kenny asked him to start a business together digging in cable, which would become Holtger Brothers, Inc., a company which has grown to have operations in seven states.

On May 12, 1956, he married Janet Lee Dieck in Suring and they had six children in their Klondike home. The couple enjoyed hunting, fishing, dancing and music and pheasant hunting trips to South Dakota. They created a loving family home where everyone felt welcomed. He also enjoyed his family hunting camp, working in the woods, rebuilding antique saw mills and seeing trees made into lumber the old fashioned way. He could always see value in old pieces of iron and had the ability to fix anything. He also enjoyed old tractors, cars, music of all kinds, especially bluegrass, singing and playing guitar in his youth. He was known for passing out $2 bills and fresh cheese curds to family, friends and complete strangers. His later life was enriched by his companionship with Phyllis Cops and the time they spent together gardening and being involved with the family Good Ole Country Band. His Catholic faith and the church in Klondike were very important to him.

Survivors are his best friend, Phyllis Cops; five children, Cathy (Dean) Radke, Donald G. (Jennifer) Holtger, Jeffrey (Kristal) Holtger, Gail (Brad) Korpi and Theresa (Brian) Schaut; 16 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and many good friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Janet Lee Holtger in 1996; a daughter, Mary Ellen Holtger-Meadke; a brother, Kenneth Holtger and a sister, Lorraine Aunty Holtger.

Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 4 at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls and will continue at 9 a.m. Monday, May 5 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Oconto Falls until time of a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Rev. Fr. Joel Sember will officiate with burial and military honors at St. Wenceslaus Cemetery, Klondike.


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