Donald Lee McDonald passed away peacefully on April 29, 2023, at the age of 69.

He was born on June 25, 1954, to Donald and Vivian (Karenke) McDonald.

He graduated from Eagle River High School in 1972 and spent the majority of his life in Eagle River, Wis.

In his younger years he enjoyed hockey, hunting, hanging with his friends, and fast cars – especially his brother Bob’s maroon ’66 Le Mans. He was known by his friends as a long-haired rebel, always wearing his brother Dick’s army jacket. He loved music so much, at age 15 he played guitar in a rock n’ roll band with good friend, Jerry Burkett.

Don served proudly in the U.S. Army and Wisconsin Army National Guard for 20 years, which took him overseas to many places including Germany.

He retired in 2007 having many specialties and meeting many lifelong friends along the way.

After his time in the military, Don proudly served the police force and spent some time in real estate. He was active in serving his community ADRC and looked forward to his weekly haircuts by his good friend George at Roosters Comb in Rhinelander.

Don had two very special daughters that he cherished with Mary (Tomlanovich) Wentworth – Miranda (Fred) Wendler and Melanie (Jason) Kasten – and he had seven grandchildren that he adored so much: Victoria, Vivian, Jordan, Isabella, Declan, Gabe, and Mason. He is also survived by his brother, Chuck McDonald, whom he shared a special bond with talking and praying together daily; aunt, Marion Adamovich; several loved nieces and nephews; and many special cousins.

He married the love of his life, Sylvia (Vassar) McDonald, in 2004.

Don was preceded in death by Sylvia; his parents; infant sister, Bonnie; and his brothers, Richard and Robert. 

Don loved the outdoors! He was known for feeding deer by hand, feeding eagles with his fresh catch from Deerskin Lake and watching the stars on his pontoon.

Don will be remembered for his passion for talking about Jesus and gifting many families and friends with large-print NIV Bibles.

He most recently got back into wood-working with handmade crosses with his favorite verse, John 3:16. Don loved hearing the Word and fellowshipping at Community Bible Church, Abundant Life Church and God’s Gathering Place. He was supported, loved, and surrounded by his brothers in Christ through his men’s prayer group Friday mornings at Abundant Life and online men’s bible study. His goal was to share Jesus and spend as much time with his loved daughters and precious grandchildren. 

A Celebration of Life memorial service will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Abundant Life Church in Eagle River. All are welcome. 

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made online to:; or mailed to: Compassus Living Foundation, 503 North Euclid Avenue, Suite 9E, Bay City, MI 48706.

The family greatly appreciated the compassionate loving care Don and the family received. 

Arrangements by Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home, Eagle River. Online condolences may be expressed at