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Donald R. Heit

Donald R. Heit

December 12, 2016

Donald R. Heit 75 of Downsville, died unexpectedly on Monday December 12, 2016 in Downsville.

Don was born May 18, 1941 in Durand, the son of Ralph and Irene (Hartung) Heit. Don grew up in the Town of Waterville, Pepin County on the home farm and was the eldest of six. Don graduated from Arkansaw High School in 1959.  After high school, he served three years in the US Army and was stationed in New Richmond in missile defense.  In 1964, he married Donna Fedie and they lived in St. Paul, MN where he worked as a welder at Linders Mfg.  In February of 1965, Don and Donna purchased a dairy farm in Downsville. He attended CVTC and received his Production Agriculture degree in 1974.  He remained on the farm for the rest of his life.

In 2001, he retired from Dairy farming, but remained crop and beef farming.  After he sold the dairy herd, he worked for Phillips Plastic in manufacturing, Brunner’s Cabinets, and at Menards building displays and setting up stores.  In addition to his previous jobs, he started a cabinet business with Kevin Manor building cabinet displays.  Most recently, he was working for Ag Source driving a route collecting and delivering milk samples.

Don was passionate about giving back to the community.  He was the Town of Dunn chairman for almost 37 years.  As the town chairman, he was influential in developing and implementing Downsville Days to promote awareness and celebrate Downsville’s heritage.  He was a strong advocate for helping the Town of Dunn purchase and restore the Empire and Pines Museum.  Most recently, he helped plan and build a new town hall facility to accommodate the growing needs of the Downsville Community.  To the Downsville community, he was “an amazing man, friend and MAYOR”. (words of Mark Smith/Cubby former owner of Cubby’s).

Don also served on County and City committees.  He served on the Environmental Services Planning and Land Use Committee.  He was on the Recycling and Solid Waste Board, and was on the The Rural and Fire Ambulance committee.

Don was a kind and caring man with a magnetic charisma. He could connect to anyone and was well respected by everyone from all walks of life. He was extremely patient with a great sense of humor and was able to provide a strong and steady presence during good and difficult times.  Don had the ability to light up a room and start a conversation with anyone from friends he new forever and ones he had just met during his travels.  He was a great mentor, teacher, friend and family man who loved his family unconditionally and was there to help anyone in need and provide a strong and steady presence.

Don had a great love and was a steward of the land.  He was an avid hunter, trapper and angler.  He loved to garden and enjoyed harvesting and canning produce.  He had an incredible sense of direction and knowledge of the hills.  He loved to tinker and could fix anything from small to large machinery.  Don enjoyed watching all sports but he especially loved the Badgers and Packers.  He enjoyed a heated debate regarding politics.  He loved History, and was an incredible storyteller.

Don is survived by his children, Dawn (Brian) Christianson of Menomonie, Julie (Patrick) Fiege of Menomonie, Jill (John) Erickson of Plum City, Daniel J. Heit of Menomonie; and his former wife, Donna Fedie Heit and special friend, Roger Wieland of Menomonie; nine grandchildren, Bethany Christianson, Brittany (Josh) Eckert, Cody Christianson, Josh (Amy Bolin) Fiege, Jackie Fiege and Nate Fiege, Sam Erickson, Janessa and Daisy Heit, four great grandchildren, Emmett and Lynley Fiege, Dexter Eckert and Sawyer Heit; three brothers, Edward (Dixie) of River Falls, Jim (Lolly) of Blaine, MN, Charles Missy-Elmore Heit of Great Falls, MT, two sisters, Lorraine Koller of River Falls and Darlene (Ron) Huppert of Arkansaw, several nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.  He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph, infant son of Ron and Darlene Huppert, and brother-in-law, Cletus Koller.

Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Monday December 19, 2016 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Menomonie with Rev. James Kurzynski officiating.  Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery in Arkansaw.

Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 8:00 PM Sunday at Rhiel Funeral Home in Menomonie and one hour prior to services at the church on Monday.

The family wishes that any memorials be made out to the Downsville Community Museum.

The family wishes to express their gratitude to the Menomonie EMT’s, Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, Downsville Post Office and Bank for their efforts and care of Don Heit. 


4:00 to 8:00 PM Sunday at the Rhiel Funeral Home in Menomonie and one hour prior to services at the church on Monday


11:00 AM Monday December 19, 2016 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Menomonie.