Donald Arndt (1948-2022)
Sheboygan Falls – Donald Arndt passed away at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice on January 18, 2022, with his loving family at his side. Donald struggled for many months with deteriorating health. Don was a 20-year-pancreatic cancer survivor, he was affectionately called the “miracle man” by his medical providers. Donald Arndt was born in Sheboygan on June 2, 1948, son of the late Elroy Arndt and Rosie Schmitz. Donald graduated from Kiel high school in 1966.
Donald grew up in rural Elkhart Lake on his parent’s dairy farm. He loved the country life and his love for the outdoors began at a very young age. He often told stories of growing up foraging blackberries, asparagus, watercress, and mushrooms where he would bring pails of these goodies back to his mother. His love for foraging has inspired generations of morel hunters to follow in his footsteps. He has taught many friends over the years the joy of “mushroom hunting”. Don would always say that “his church was found in the woods.” He hiked thousands of miles in the Kettle Moraine Forest and in the great north woods of Wisconsin.
Don proudly served his country in Vietnam during his time in the U.S. Navy from June 1968 to June 1970 as a Boatswain’s mate on the U.S.S. Goldsborough. Don was proud to have helped recover the capsule of the Apollo 11 in 1969, where he famously lost his hat in the Pacific Ocean while saluting President Nixon. He loved his tour in Hawaii and told his children and grandchildren many stories of his fond times in the service.
Don was united in marriage to Mary Jo Seibel on April 24, 1971 at St. George Catholic church in Elkhart Lake, WI. Donald and his late ex-wife Mary Jo had three children together and lived in Crystal Lake, WI.
Don was employed at Kohler Company for 37 years where he worked in the enamel shop. Don was a very proud member of Local UAW 833. At the core, Don always showed his children and grandchildren what true work ethic meant. He was immensely proud of his children and grandchildren’s accomplishments and bragged about them every chance he could.
He is survived by his loving children, Matthew Arndt (Carmen) Plymouth, WI; Donna Meiselwitz (Reid) Cleveland, WI; and Ryan Arndt (Stephanie) Sheboygan Falls, WI. His ten grandchildren, Chantel Dixon (Ryan), Justin Arndt (Bryanna Kulisch), Cassandra Arndt (Murad Alhakimi), Christian Meiselwitz (Tina Yang), Natalie Meiselwitz, Emma Meiselwitz, Dylan Arndt, Aidan Arndt, Ben Arndt and Liam Arndt. He is survived by 7 great-grandchildren: Kyra, Kinley, Kaden, Carter, Crew, Everett and Ariyah.
He is further survived by his loving brothers, Robert Arndt and Roy Arndt and sister Monica Arndt. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews and dear friends.
Don was a proud elder in the AA community for over 30 years, and a dedicated sponsor to many in need. He looked forward to the day when he could sit down and chat with Bill W. and Dr. Bob. He was profoundly impacted by the guidance and love of his own sponsor, mentor, and friend, Bill P. He is probably playing a game of cribbage with Bill right now.
Over his lifetime Don was a member of many different trap leagues, hunting and sportsmen’s clubs, and was a current member of the St. Anna Sportsmen club. Beyond his love of trap shooting, Don was an avid hunter and fisherman all the days of his life. His love for hunting and fishing lasted until his dying day. He was trying to make it to February to be part of the annual guys “Lake Winnie” ice fishing trip— a trip he had taken for over 20 years. And if he wasn’t spending time with his children or grandchildren, you could find him casting a line at his cabin on Lake Galilee. His cabin “up north” was his true love and his sanctuary. He loved it most when his sons and son-in-law filled the cabin on deer hunting weekends. Every summer his daughter and her family spent vacations at the cabin making priceless memories on the lake they all loved.
On his birthday in 2018 Don proudly flew on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with his son, Ryan, by his side. Don was brought to tears as the plane cabin of fellow Veterans sang for him. He was proud to be a veteran until his dying breath.
Don will be remembered for his years of service, his love of nature, and generous spirit towards his friends and family. A memorial service for Don will be held at Westview-Zimmer funeral home W2132 Garton Rd. in Howards Grove on Friday, January 28, 2022, at 12:00 pm. Family will greet visitors from 10am-12pm, at the funeral home, until the time of the service. For those who would like to watch Don’s service virtually can do so on his obituary page on the funeral home website. Don will be laid to rest at the Greenlawn Memorial Park, Kohler where his final resting place will be under the U.S. Navy flag in the Garden of Honor.