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Donald O. Flaten

Donald O. Flaten

Donald O. Flaten, of Superior, passed away on Sunday, October 1, 2017, following a lengthy struggle with lung disease associated with Asbestos.

He was born on May 15th, 1931 in Superior, the fifth of six children. He was the only son of Myrtle (Karm) and Ole John Flaten and grew up in East End in Superior. He attended Nelson Dewey and St. Adalbert's Catholic elementary schools and East High School from 7th to 12th grade, graduating in 1950. In school he participated in numerous sports including basketball and football, he was prom king in 1949 and also captain of the football team. He attended UWS for one year, playing college football until being drafted into the US Army in 1952. He was stationed in Germany serving during the Korean war. He was in the tank battalion as a tank commander stationed in Furth. Don returned home in March of 1954 to marry the love of his life, Sally Ann Charbonneau on June 19th, 1954.

Don entered the plastering trade working for Sig Lund, achieving Journeyman in 1956. His detailed work can still be seen in many of the area churches, schools and high-rise buildings today. He was excellent at fine ceiling edging. When sheetrock was introduced and plastering was on the decline, Don hired on at Murphy Oil USA in 1963. He worked his way up to head operator in the FCCU "CAT Unit."

Following open heart surgery in 1980, he retired in 1982. He was still attending the Murphy Retiree breakfast with his friends monthly.

He was a lifetime member of the VFW and a member of the Superior Bowling Association for fifty plus years, retiring in May of this year, still bowling with the seniors and King of the Hill at the Village Lanes. He had high games of 300, 299, 298 and 801 along with numerous series in the 700's. He bowled for many years with the Superior All Stars and Senior All Stars. Don was an avid Green Bay Packer and Milwaukee Brewer Fan.

Never one to sit around in retirement, he built a wood shop where he created beautiful cedar chests for all his girls, toy boxes for his grandchildren, furniture pieces for birthdays and more than 100 of those famous Green Bay Packer windmills seen across town and scattered about the United States. He combined his talents of stone work and wood to create decorative fireplaces, wishing wells, and yard pieces. He was known for being the guy who could fix anything'.

In 2015 he was honored to take part in the Honor Flight Northland trip to Washington DC. He called it the best trip of his life. He spoke of it often and encouraged every veteran he ever met to call and get the details.

He loved his date night dinners with Sally in recent years, picking up hamburgers and sitting at Barker's Island Pier, it was their special time.

He prided himself on learning to use the internet at age 82, becoming pretty proficient on his iPad to connect with family and friends on Facebook. Recently connecting with a cousin Ola Flaten in Norway despite always telling his daughter Dawn that he didn't "care about genealogy." He was always a good sport about going cemetery stomping and dirt collecting with her anyway.

The most important thing to Don was his wife and family, his instilling of good morals, values, and financial wisdom to his children and grandchildren.

In the spring he started plants in his basement greenhouse using seeds from the previous year, growing plants for family and friends. He planted gardens for Sally in and around their house, maintaining one of the most beautiful floral yards in the Village of Superior filled with geraniums. He became famous this year for his ten-foot-tall tomato plants. More than one traveler stopped to take pictures from the highway every summer. In the winter the house and yard were decorated with lights and figurines for the grandchildren to enjoy.

He loved to trout fishing with good friends Adam Cich, Herb Udeen and Tony Lao. He loved the cabin in Wascott, always found a way to get out winter or summer crappie fishing with his son in law Marv, enjoying a campfire and a fish fry. He was in the boat this spring.

Don and Sally recently celebrated 63 years of marriage. They raised two daughters, Dawn Marie and Sandra Ann. Don was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Berniece, Barbara McDermott Novack Beebe, Lorraine Thompson Hack and Corrine Grymala.

Don is survived by his wife, Sally; daughters, Dawn Marie (Marvin) Cich of Superior and Sandra Ann (Richard) Smith of Solon Springs; grandchildren, Loni Marie (Ben) Omberg, Pattrich (Christie) O'Neil, Ange (Matt) Johnson, Brandon (Laura) Pekkala-Smith, Nicholas (Amanda) Smith, and Richard Smith; great-grandchildren, Ethan, Olivia, Annalise, Gabriel, Carter and Sophia; sister, Eunice Helmer of Duluth, special nephew, Charles (Patti) McDermott; many nieces, nephews and cousins; and special friends, Chuck and Joanne DeSmet, Ken Cich and Luann Ross.

Visitation will begin from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Memorial Mass Friday, October 6, 2017 at Holy Assumption Catholic Church. Rev. Fr. Ronald Olson as celebrant. Military Honors will be accorded by the Richard I Bong American Legion Post #435.

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