Service


Date:

April 14, 2019

Start Time:

4:00pm

Location:

Merle Hay Funeral Home

Address:

4400 Merle Hay Rd. Des Moines, IA

Arrangements By:

Merle Hay Funeral Home

Visitation


Date:

April 14, 2019

Start Time:

3:00-4:00pm

Location:

Merle Hay Funeral Home

Address:

4400 Merle Hay Rd. Des Moines, IA

Donald Wellendorf

Donald “Don” C. Wellendorf, 84, of Winterset, passed away from congestive heart failure on Tuesday, April 9, at Mercy West Lakes Medical Center in Des Moines.

Don was born to Mayme Kelting and Arthur Wellendorf on August 30, 1934, in Davenport, Iowa, the ninth of 10 children. After suffering severe hearing loss as a child, he learned how to read lips. Don played football at Davenport High School graduating in 1954. He married Judyth Griffey in 1957 and three children were born of this union, Michael, Joseph and Mary. They divorced in 1978.

He worked for Sears Manufacturing but spent most of his adult working life as an employee of Twin City Fan, a castings foundry in Davenport that makes commercial fans. Don retired when he turned 65, but found himself quite bored, so he went back to work part-time for Twin City Fan for several more years.

Don’s hobbies included fishing, bowling and watching sports on television. He loved the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. When the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, he was over the moon. Don had an extensive hat collection, and every time one of his teams played on TV, he would wear that team’s hat while he watched the game just hoping it would bring them luck. Any time they lost, it was inevitable that he would say, “They need to fire that coach, he’s no good!”

There is nothing Don loved more than hanging out with his family, especially his brothers. Every Wednesday night for many years he and his five living brothers got together for “Brother’s Night” to play euchre and drink a few beers at the house on Ricker Hill Road.

Don loved to eat, but didn’t like to cook, so going out to eat was one of his favorite activities, especially for breakfast. And he loved sweets, especially chocolate chip cookies, apple fritters and ice cream. And Don was as frugal as the day is long, always saving as much as he could for a rainy day. He loved animals, especially his beloved cat Bootsie and his dog Dobie.

He decided to sell his house and move to Winterset with his daughter and her family in 2011 where he spent lots of time watching ESPN and old westerns on television, writing letters to his friends in Davenport, and sitting outside on the front porch on nice days. Don also loved watching “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Fire,” and “Chicago Med,” the rebooted “Hawaii Five-0” and “Blue Bloods.”

When his son Joseph needed a liver transplant in 2017, “Never Give Up” became their mantra with that being the last thing they said to each other after every conversation along with “I love you.” Joseph received his transplant in November of 2017, but they never stopped saying “Never Give Up” to each other, which took on even more meaning when Don faced his own health issues, Stage 1 lung cancer and congestive heart failure. Despite medical intervention, which included a stent, a mechanical heart valve and a pacemaker, his heart just couldn’t hold up any longer.

At the end, Don was happy surrounded by his loved ones, eating his favorite foods, watching sports on TV and being the sweet, old man everyone who ever met him knew him to be.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father, seven brothers, two sisters, and his son, Michael. He is survived by one son, Joseph A. Wellendorf (Loretta), of Des Moines; one daughter, Mary Halstrum (Kevin), of Winterset; one grandson, Joseph D. Wellendorf, of Des Moines; two granddaughters, Katharine Halstrum, of Winterset; and Rachel Halstrum, of Winterset; one great-grandson, Joseph D. Wellendorf Jr., of Des Moines; and several nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held Sunday, April 14, at 3 p.m. at Merle Hay Funeral Home at Chapel Hill Gardens located at 4400 Merle Hay Road in Des Moines. The funeral will begin at 4 p.m. Memorials may be made in Don’s name to the American Heart Association.

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