At the age of 99, loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Don Morgenstern passed away peacefully in his home on December 14, 2022, in Holt, Michigan. As a World War II veteran, he was a member of “The Greatest Generation.” He is remembered as a hard-working man of integrity whose loyalty to family and friends was unwavering.
Don was born at home on October 1, 1923, in Graafschap, a suburb of Holland, Michigan, to Frank Morgenstern and Henrietta Brinks. Don and his wife, Margaret, lived in Roscommon from 1954 to 1997 where Don worked as a switchman for General Telephone and Electronics Company (GTE) for over 40 years.
Don’s childhood was spent on family farms in the Holland area, and he was salutatorian of the Hamilton High School class of 1941.
Don served in the Pacific Theater of WW II as a Cryptographic Technician for the 975th Signal Corps and was the last known living member of the unit. He applied the signal skills he acquired during the war to his career as a switchman with GTE.
He was a founding and lifetime member of the VFW post 7581 of Wayland, MI. He addressed telephone employee concerns as an active member and shop steward of IBEW 1106 for 40 years and honorary member for 30 years. He volunteered 18 years on the Crawford County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Don met Margaret Meska in Dowagiac, Michigan, and were married in 1953. The following year, they moved to Roscommon where they raised their four daughters. He and Margaret enjoyed 48 years of marriage, until Margaret’s passing in 2002.
His favorite hobby was gardening, having spent summers on his grandpa’s farm. He always had a large garden with beans, squash, potatoes, and corn. Don was a lifelong learner, and he strongly supported his daughters’ educational journey from Gerrish-Higgins Schools onto advanced degrees from various universities.
Six years after his retirement in 1991, Don and Margaret moved to Holt, Michigan, where they enjoyed an active retirement filled with family, neighbors, attending exercise class and volunteering at the Senior Center in Holt.
Don loved helping his daughters with home improvement projects. He found great joy in passing on his knowledge of electrical and plumbing work and was often on hand to chip in with the actual work. His strong work ethic was a legacy he passed on to his daughters.
He is survived by his daughter Jan (Tony) Quinlan, her children Nichole (Jason) Wood and Matt (Lindsay Kaske) Sarkozi, his daughter Kim (Doug) Isokait; his daughter Ruth (Scott) Miller, her children Jason Varner, Jessica (Nate) Robinson, Eric (Maria) Miller, Katie (Aaron) Darling; his daughter Lin (Mark) Marklin, her children Lukas (Jacqueline Metheny) Marklin, Tyler (Ashlee) Marklin, Macie (Dylan Fackler) Marklin, and Lacie Marklin.
Don will be missed by extended family and friends including: nephews: Steve Pinney, Jerry (Maryjane) Pinney, Dave (Pat) Morgenstern, Dennis (Deb) Morgenstern; nieces: Wendy (Jeff) Hoekje, Sandra (Randy) Richards; friend, Ann Griffin; and neighbors and caregivers, Carol and Pete McDonell. He has 13 great-grandchildren and leaves cousins as well as many other extended family members.
Don was predeceased by his parents; his wife, Margaret; his siblings, Robert and Ruth; and his great-grandson, Noah.
Family and friends will gather from 5:00-7:00 PM on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, at Wagner and Walsh Funeral Directors, 143 Lake Street, Roscommon, Michigan 48653.
The Funeral will be at 11:00 AM on Thursday, December 29, 2022, with an hour of gathering prior, at Roscommon Congregational Church, 109 South Main Street, Roscommon, Michigan 48653. Pastor Brad Williams will be officiating.
Don will be interred in the Frank Morgenstern family plot in East Elmwood Cemetery in Wayland Township with military funeral honors. Don was the last living member of his generation of Morgenstern’s from the Wayland area.
Memorial contributions may be made in Don’s name to a charitable organization of choice.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagner and Walsh Funeral Directors, Roscommon.