Donald Charles Wilfahrt | News, Sports, Jobs


NEW ULM – Donald Charles Wilfahrt, 96, passed away peacefully on October 8, 2021 surrounded by his family after a brief COVID-19 illness.

A private funeral service will be held at the Catholic Cemetery in New Ulm with Father Shawn Polman as officiant. The Comrades of Valor Guard of Honor of the New Ulm Region will provide full military honors at the cemetery.

A celebration of life will take place in the spring of 2022.

To leave condolences online for your family or to sign the guestbook, visit www.mvfh.org.

Donald Charles Wilfahrt was born on December 23, 1924 in New Ulm to Ernst and Louise (Soukup). He graduated from New Ulm Holy Trinity Catholic High School in New Ulm in 1942.

Don enlisted in the Navy while at St. Thomas College. He was posted as a Marine Apprentice at the School of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1945. He then attended the Midshipmen School at the University of Notre Dame. He was stationed with the Naval Airlift Service Squadron in California, Guam and the Philippines. He served in the Marine Reserve until 1959.

He was married to Florence Pinzka on September 28, 1948, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sleepy Eye. They lived in New Ulm where they raised their six children. Most of their lives they lived on Bianchi Drive where he resided until his hospitalization on September 26, 2021. Don was a co-owner of Wilfahrt Bros. Ace Hardware in New Ulm until his retirement in 1989. For 40 years he enjoyed selling home appliances, TVs, bikes, snowmobiles, Honda’s, toys and tires.

Don was a member of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity where he was a lecturer for many years, the Wanda Gag House Association, New Ulm Turner Hall, the New Ulm Lions Club, 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, New Ulm American Member of the Legion for 75 years and member of the board of directors of the New Ulm Business Development Association. He enjoyed traveling, fishing trips to Canada, hunting trips to Wyoming, pheasant hunting, and trips to Gull Lake. He still rode a snowmobile and rode his Honda scooter until he was eighty. His greatest passion was playing music which started as a young child involved in school groups playing the saxophone, clarinet and oboe.

Don performed in the Holy Trinity High School Band, Orchestra, and also for the 205th Infantry Band while in high school. He has also played alto saxophone in the Eddie Wilfahrt Orchestra and the Whoopee John Band. After the 205th Infantry was called up to service, he performed in the Pioneer Band. He joined the New Ulm Municipal Band in 1946 and was a member for over 75 years. He was one of the original members of the New Ulm German Band which started in 1985. He made several trips to Germany for group performances. His last appearance in the group was on September 19, 2021 at German Park where he was honored for 75 years with the New Ulm Municipal Band.

Don was a great father to his six children. He accepted all of their friends into his house, never judging. He has led bike rides, ice cream trips and snowmobile rides for everyone. He discreetly watched teenage parties from his chair by the front door.

He is survived by his children Mark Wilfahrt, Nisswa; MayBeth (Ed.) Sheridan, Shorewood; Julie (Dan) Soehren, New Ulm; Amy Wilfahrt, Grand Marais, James (Dawn) Wilfahrt, Oshkosh, WI; Craig (Kristy) Wilfahrt, Buffalo; grandchildren Gabriel and Andrea Soehren, Kate (Shane) Cook, Calaf Wilfahrt, Carly and Connor Wilfahrt and Tim (Meghana) Hemphill; Twin great-grandchildren Neel and Arthi Hemphill, and Sister Diane (Ken) Miller.

He was predeceased by his wife, Florence Wilfahrt; parents, in-laws, toddler grandson Ryan James Wilfahrt, Eldor & Cal Verna Wilfahrt, Marguerite & Dick Ashton, Bernadette & Al Lais, Joe & Grace Pinzka.

Memorials preferred Hospice House to Owatonna, Alzheimer’s Association, New Ulm Municipal Band, New Ulm German Band, Turner Hall or New Ulm Area Catholic Schools.

Mvfh.org


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