Sunday, June 17, 2001

Obituary: Donald Gasser - Class of 1948

WESTPORT [Wisconsin] - Donald Gasser died unexpectedly on Friday, June 15, 2001, at his home. He was 71 years old. Don was born on May 24, 1930, to Rufus and Jeanette Gasser in Prairie du Sac. A 1948 graduate of Madison Central High School, Don served in the United States Navy during the Korean War. He married Jessie Lou Freiling on October 24, 1953. Don worked a number of years for Texaco and the State of Wisconsin's DILHR Petroleum Inspection Division, retiring in 1993. He was a member of Madison Elks Lodge 410. Until recently, Don lived on Madison's beautiful east side, where he hosted many swimming pool parties and gatherings during the past 28 years. He enjoyed going out for breakfast, with friends at the Cottage Cafe and Coffee Clutch. Since retiring, he and Jessie Lou enjoyed spending their winters in Nevada. Don is survived by his wife, Jessie Lou; three sons, Donald (Nancy) Gasser of Oregon, Stephen (Ann Schroeder) Gasser of Monona, and Kevin (Lisa) Gasser of Cottage Grove; six grandchildren, Logan and Nathan Gasser, Kelsey and Graham Schroeder-Gasser, and Kyle and Luke Gasser; two sisters, Rosemary Cunningham and Carol Wigdal; and five nieces and nephews. His parents preceded him in death, as did his brother, Laverne "Bud" Gasser; and his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Jessie and Louis Freiling. Don, a man of quiet dignity, loved sports and attending UW football and high school athletic events. A history and History Channel buff, he recently immersed himself in reading all he could about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Don volunteered to coach youth sports teams in the 1960s and 1970s, and helped in the formation of the Lancer League youth baseball program. Don loved attending his children's and grandchildren's school and athletic programs and events, and was a longtime member of the Plaza Whippets Fan Club. Don's funeral service will be held on Tuesday, June 19, 2001, at ST. STEPHEN'S LUTHERAN CHURCH, 5700 Pleasant Hill Rd., Monona, at 11:00 a.m., with the Rev. Bruce Burnside officiating. Burial will follow at Highland Memory Gardens, with military graveside rites conducted by the Madison Area Veteran's Firing S quad. Family and friends are welcome to attend a visitation on Monday, June 18, 2001, at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL HOME, 5203 Monona Dr., from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Don's family thanks Waunakee EMS, specifically Mark Bennett, Julie Hellenbrand, Barb Kalscheur and Martha Stewart and members of the Dane Waunakee EMS, specifically Mark Bennett, Julie Hellenbrand, Barb Kalscheur and Martha Stewart and members of the Dane County Sheriffs Department, who responded to our call for help. We appreciate your efforts, compassion and respect, during that extremely difficult time. Thanks also to Dr. Lawrence Ozers of Dean Clinic, Fish Hatchery for his special care. Instead of flowers, we ask that you consider a memorial to St. Stephen's Lutheran Church or the YMCA of Dane County Strong Kids' Campaign. Thanks for being such a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. We will miss you. Gunderson East Funeral Home (608) 221-5420

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on June 17, 2001; submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968)

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