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Donald "Don" Wilken

July 10, 1937 ~ February 27, 2019 (age 81)

Donald “Don” Mathias Wilken was born July 10, 1937 in Millerville, MN to Carl and Anna (Peffer) Wilken. Being one of eight available sets of helping hands, Don had fond memories of helping his family on the farm. In 1955, he graduated from the Alexandria High School before moving west to California for work. After one year, he moved back to Minnesota where he met his future wife, Judy Carlson, while she was working as a waitress at a restaurant called the Bus Depot in Alexandria. In 1958, the two were united in marriage and in 1959 the couple moved to Beloit, WI. While in Beloit, Don worked in sales at Beloit Iron Works, and also raised six children with Judy: Jeff, Patti, Sharon, Denise, Stephanie, and Carla. In 1968, Don lost his better half and faced parenthood alone for a while, as he worked hard to provide for his family and keep them afloat. On March 31, 1993, at the age of 56, Don retired, and in 1995, moved to the Brandon area where he spent his retirement years helping local farmers with their planting and harvesting needs.

Don was a self-proclaimed “Farmall Man” and marveled at his collection of red tractors that he loved to repair. He was a man that enjoyed the simple pleasures in life: beer, old trucks, and pretty women. He never lost his charms, enjoying flirting with his hospice nurses even in his last days. Don was also a numbers man, keeping track of everything from the daily weather temperatures on his calendar, to his calorie intake throughout the day. He put his mathematical talents to good use by becoming a mischievous card counter when playing games like Buck Euchre. He also enjoyed a good, old-fashioned game of solitaire. Don will be remembered for his wry smile, tremendous sense of humor, and laughing until his dentures fell out.

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at the age of 81, Don passed away at his home surrounded by his loving family after a courageous and long battle with cancer. He is preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Anna Wilken; wife, Judy; son, Jeff Wilken; brother, Charles Wilken; sisters, Florence Anderson, Elmyra Olsen, Margaret Augustson, Beatrice Perkins, and Leona Hopfner.

Donald is survived by daughters, Patti Wilken (special friend Randy Myrum), Sharon (Jim) Burns, Denise (Scott) Swanson, Stephanie (Matt) Warden, and Carla (Jon) Vanderheyden; grandchildren, Geoffrey and Joey Nelson, Megan Warden, Missi (Juan) Espinoza, Kelsey, Hannah, and Mikaela Burns, and Lydia Vanderheyden; 8 great-grandchildren; sister, Adeline Brozek, and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be on Friday, March 8, 2019 at 10 AM at the Anderson Funeral Home, followed by the memorial service at 11 AM. Gathering of family and friends to follow immediately after the service at the Mercantile Bar & Grill in Leaf Valley. 

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