Donald Whitburn, 97, passed away quietly at his home in Merrill on Wednesday, April 18.
A native of Marenisco, MI, he was a Ford Mercury dealer in Merrill for 31 years. He moved his family to Merrill in 1951 after having been a Ford Tractor and Farm Machinery dealer in Schofield.
He married Ruby E. Nichols in 1937. She predeceased him in 1999. He is survived by a son, Gerald (Charmaine), Wausau, and a daughter, Jeanne Giersdorf (Gary), Bend, OR, and five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Donald had a significant role in the development of Merrill’s Pine Ridge business district, investing in and building several of the businesses. He also built a number of residences in the city and service stsations in Merrill and other North Central Wisconsin communities.
He was an avid golfer through age 90. He deer hunted in Wisconsin, Michigan and Montana, pheasant hunted in South Dakota and for 30 years hunted elk with the same guides in Wyoming. Until recently, he hiked almost daily in Council Grounds State Park with his close friend, Robert Natzke.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Merrill Meals on Wheels program or to the Council Grounds State Park. Per his wishes, a private family service has been held.