Donald R. Green
MADISON — Donald R. Green, age 81, passed away Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, at his home in Madison surrounded by his loving family, one week after celebrating his 59th wedding anniversary with his wife, Sylvia (Asper) Green.
Don was born Sept. 12, 1930, in Wabasha, Minn., son of Orville F. Green and Lois (McCain) Green. He grew up in Pepin, and in 1941 moved to Eau Claire, graduating in 1948 from Eau Claire High School. Through a friend he met Sylvia Florence Asper on May 13, 1951, while on a visit to her hometown of Salt Lake City; they married Aug. 5, 1953, following a romance through letters and short visits. Their love continued 59 years and lives on in their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.
A gifted baritone horn player with a love of music, Don spent much of his career as a music teacher. He graduated in 1953 with a bachelor of science degree from Wisconsin State Teacher’s College-Eau Claire. Don began his teaching career at St. Croix Falls and New Lisbon schools. He taught in the Madison school district for 38 1/2 years, beginning in 1956. He taught at West Junior High School, Longfellow School, East Junior and Senior High Schools, and Sherman Elementary and Middle Schools. From 1971 until his retirement in 1994, he taught band and strings at Schenk (later Whitehorse) middle and elementary schools. In 1956, he began graduate school in Madison and earned a master of science in music and education in 1959. Most memorable was his time as a student conductor in the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, including a trip to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1960.
From 1966 until 1967, he took a leave of absence from teaching to start a doctorate program at UW-Madison. Despite the distractions of four young children who remember him working at a typewriter, he graduated with a doctor of philosophy degree in education in 1973. From 1960 until his death, Don lived at his home in Madison, where he and Sylvia celebrated the births of their children, Michael, Shelly, Shannon and Patrick. For 20 years Don directed handbell choirs, including at First United Methodist Church (1982 until 1998) and at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ from 1998 until 2002.
Don enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard in 1947 prior to high school graduation. He was appointed from sergeant to lieutenant in 1952, became first lieutenant in 1955 and captain in 1958. His teaching career was interrupted from 1961 until 1962 with a call to active duty; he served during the Berlin Crisis with the 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Division as commander of Watertown Company C, 3D Battle Group, 127th Infantry stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. He received the division’s certificate of achievement for his performance at Hunter Leggett Reservation, Calif., in July 1962. Don was promoted to major in 1963, to lieutenant colonel in 1971 and colonel in 1975, and graduated from the Army War College in Pennsylvania in 1977. His service included a number of trips to Germany. After 34 years of service, Don retired in 1982 as commander of the 64th Support Center Rear Area Operations Command (RAOC) of the Wisconsin National Guard.
Don joined Juneau Lodge No. 105 of the Masons in 1956; he was a 32nd degree Mason. He was a member of Zor Shrine for many years. Throughout his life, Don played in numerous bands in southern Wisconsin, including Capital City Band, Monroe City Band, VFW Band, and the Zor Concert Band and Zor Noblemen. He and Sylvia enjoyed a trip to Europe with the Dual County Band. With friends Bev and Bill Payne, Don and Sylvia took several trips abroad. Among other trips, Don and Sylvia visited Germany in 1990 in the midst of reunification.
Don is survived by his wife, Sylvia; children, Michael (Julie Beck), Shelly, Shannon (Scott Johnson) and Patrick (Julie Tipple); grandchildren, Adam (Tiffiny Forde), Amelia (Adam Babler), Danielle, Jacob, Joseph, Jared and Josh; and great-grandchildren, Landen, Aubrie and Brodie.
Don was preceded in death by his father and mother; by his sister, Lola Mae (Green) Spears in 1990; and infant brother, John Harrison Green in 1940.
Funeral services will be held at Gunderson East Funeral Home, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 4 until 8 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. until the time of service on Saturday. For those seeking a memorial in his name, donations are encouraged to the American Diabetes Association, Capital City Band of Madison, and Shriners Hospitals for Children.
A loving husband, gentle father, grandfather and greatgrandfather, his sense of humor always brought smiles and was evident to the end. He will be remembered for his selflessness and generosity, his kind nature and pointed sense of humor. He touched many lives and through them, will live on forever.
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