Donald Edward (Don) Minton went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ while surrounded by his family in his home on November 20, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Don was born in May of 1931, in Decatur, Illinois, the son of Hildred and Emery Minton. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and was a lifelong member.
Don attended the Decatur Public Schools and graduated from Decatur High School in 1949. Donald served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War He was honorably discharged. Donald received the United States Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean Service Ribbon. Upon returning home, he married the love of his life, Frances Joan Wolke, in September of 1954.
Donald worked as a cabinet maker for a local shop and as a laborer at A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company before launching his career on the Decatur Fire Department in October of 1955. In 1961, he was promoted to Lieutenant and then Captain in 1962. During his period as Assistant Chief, he was responsible for training and the firefighting division. In April of 1974, he was promoted to Fire Chief. Upon his promotion he stated, “I’m tickled to death, and I will try to live up to the expectations of the department and the city.” He retired as Fire Chief in 1988 after 33 years of service.
In the early 1970s, Don and his wife managed the Holiday Park Swim Club and co-owned/operated the Sun Valley Swim Club. Additionally, Don loved to utilize his woodworking skills to rebuild and refinish antique furniture and to remodel the homes he and his wife owned and built.
Don and Fran took short trips in the 1960s with their young children while pulling a pop-up tent camper. In the 1970s, Don and Fran purchased a motor home. Soon, the short trips turned into long vacations. One of their favorite places to visit was Florida while stopping at every antique store along the way. Don always looked for just the right antique to buy and redo. His favorite kind of antiques were the Victorian “ball and stick” pieces. Finding their first piece of “Minton” China sparked a new type of treasure hunt. Don’s most valuable treasure was spending the time with his wife and family.
Donald always was an advocate of volunteering his time and talents in the Decatur community. Don has served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board since 1970. He was greatly involved in the “Toys for Tots” program, Toy and Food distribution, and was instrumental in putting up the Christmas Tree of Lights. The Salvation Army named Don a “Life Member” in 2005. In addition, Donald also joined the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Decatur, Division 27, and was recently named “The Kiwanian with the Longest Service to his Club and the Children of the World” in 2019. He received the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service and the Legion of Honor to recognize his 30 years as a devoted Kiwanian. Don and his wife enjoyed volunteering at the Macon County Historical Society and at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Donald served on the St. Paul’s Building Committee and helped lead the volunteer staff during the initial build out phase at the new Bachrach Court location. He continued to help patch, paint, and assist with minor construction during the second phase entitled, “NEXT.” His tireless volunteer efforts will be greatly missed.
A service to celebrate Don’s life will be at 10:00 am on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, #1 Bachrach Court, Decatur, Illinois. Visitation will be Tuesday, November 26, 2019, from 5 to 7 pm. Pastor Wray Offermann will officiate. Burial will be at Point Pleasant Cemetery in Long Creek. If desired, memorials may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Salvation Army of Decatur, or the Golden K Kiwanis Division 27 of Decatur. Tanzyus Logan Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements. The Decatur Fire Department Local 505 Honor Guard will assist the U.S. Army National Guard with the service, including a Fire Fighter Walk through at 6:30, with a line up at 6:00 pm.
Survivors include his brother, Kenneth, of Decatur; his son, Michael A. Minton and spouse, Judy, of Decatur; his daughters, Pamela M. Minton, and spouse Kelly, of Punta Gorda, Florida; Linda C. Mendenall, of Decatur; Sandra K. McCune, and her spouse Tim, of Port Byron, IL; seven grandchildren and step-grandchildren; seven great grandchildren and step-great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Don was preceded in death by his wife, parents, infant son, Daniel, and his sister, Juanita L. Griffeth.
The family would like to thank Dr. George Ansstas MD, Oncology, and his staff at Washington University School of Medicine; Dr. Jennifer Gould, Interventional Radiology, and her staff at Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri; Dr. Mario Velasco and his staff at the Cancer Care Specialists of IL, Cancer Center of Decatur; DMH Hospice Care; Drs. D. Patel and M. Kottwitz of Decatur; the U.S. Army National Guard; the Decatur Fire Department Local 505 Honor Guard; and all the faithful prayer warriors who have lifted up our family during Don’s illness.
Please sign the Family guestbook.