May 29, 1940 - November 27, 2019
Edgerton, WI -- Donald R. Brown, 79, of Edgerton, died Wednesday afternoon, November 27, 2019 at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison after a brief but brave battle with cancer. Donald was born on May 29, 1940, in Fond du Lac, WI, the second child of Rublee and Marjorie (Barnes) Brown. He raised livestock, and played on the boys' tennis and basketball teams at Goodrich High School, where he was graduated in 1958. After high school, he attended UW-Madison, where he was a member of the Army ROTC. He was graduated with a BA in marketing in 1962. After he received his degree, Donald was commissioned as a second lieutenant and served in the Second Infantry Division from 1962 to 1964. He was stationed near Wildflecken, in the state of Bavaria, in what was at that time West Germany, and was promoted to the rank of captain shortly before he received his discharge. After returning to the United States, Donald worked as a bond salesman at Continental Bank on the Loop in Chicago. On June 4, 1966, he married Barbara E. Guell at Church of Peace in Fond du Lac. After the wedding, the couple moved to Appleton, where Donald worked as a loan officer at First National Bank. In 1971, Donald and Barbara moved to Lake Geneva, WI, where Donald worked as a loan officer at First National Bank. In 1976, they moved to Granite City, IL, where Donald had been hired to oversee the opening of a new bank, Colonial Bank. It was in Granite City that Donald picked up a tennis racket after nearly twenty years, and taught Barbara to play. In 1978, Donald and Barbara returned to Wisconsin, after Donald was hired as president of Tobacco Exchange Bank in Edgerton. Donald continued to play tennis, and took up cross-country skiing. He also became active in his community, volunteering with the Edgerton Lions Club and the Sinnissippi Council of Boy Scouts of AME. Five times in the 1980s, Donald completed the American Birkebeiner, a 55-kilometer cross-country ski race held each winter in Cable, WI. He also organized and hosted youth tennis tournaments in Edgerton and played in tournaments himself-many held in Hilton Head, SC, his favorite vacation spot. After Tobacco Exchange Bank was bought by Marine Bank in 1988, Donald struck out on his own. With several partners, he purchased Kingston/Dalton State Bank in Kingston, WI, and co-founded First Business Bank in Madison. Later, he became a certified financial planner and invested money for a growing stable of clients. In the early 1990s, Donald served as the president of the Edgerton Hospital Board of Trustees. He also served as the inaugural chairman of the Aldo Leopold Foundation's audit committee. In 1994, Donald became involved with the Bank of Milton. At the time of his death Donald was a member of the bank's board of directors and served as the bank's investment officer. During his time on the board, the bank added a branch in Edgerton. Donald added bicycling to his list of hobbies in the 1990s. He regularly went on long-distance rides (once 70 miles!) across Wisconsin, often accompanied by Barbara and other couples. Donald combined his love of bicycling with his love for international travel, and during the last 20 years of his life he and Barbara enjoyed bicycling vacations in Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Germany. Donald also loved playing ping pong with family and friends in the basement of the house he and Barbara built in the Town of Albion. He inherited a keen card sense from his mother, Marjorie, and enjoyed playing cribbage, hearts, sheepshead, and especially bridge. Donald was an active church member for most of his life. He was baptized and confirmed at First Baptist Church in Fond du Lac, and was active in the First Congregational UCC Church in Lake Geneva, WI, the Edgerton Congregational United Church of Christ, and the First Congregational Church in Milton. His favorite Scripture was Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Donald was a loyal fan of Wisconsin sports teams. Although he preferred football to baseball, he did take his family to see Game Five of the 1982 World Series at County Stadium. He attended Packers playoff games in 1983 and 2002, but he turned down tickets to the Ice Bowl in 1967 and at his wife's urging went to church instead. Twice, Donald traveled to Pasadena to watch the Badgers in the Rose Bowl; the Badgers lost both times. In 1960, he and a college buddy survived the three-day bus trip but never made it to the game. In 2010, Donald joined his son, who was living in Pasadena at the time, and watched the game from great seats near the north end zone. Donald loved basketball too. He and his son were at the MECCA in 1983 when the Bucks swept the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. He and Barbara were Badger Men's Basketball season ticket holders and made trips to Indianapolis for the Final Four in 2000 and 2015. Donald was a regular at the Buckhorn Supper Club, dining there often with his wife and children and friends. He always began the evening with a glass of red zinfandel and usually ordered the prime rib, often topping it off with a lobster tail. He rarely allowed anyone else to pick up the tab. In June of 2016, Donald and Barbara celebrated 50 years of marriage with a trip to Hilton Head. They were joined by their children and their children's spouses and their grandson, and enjoyed a week of sunsets over the ocean, seafood, and lounging by the pool. In February of 2018, Donald was honored by the Wisconsin Banking Association for his 52-year career in banking. He was inducted into the Association's 50-Year Club at a ceremony held during the Association's annual Bank Executives' Conference in Madison.
Donald is survived by his wife, Barbara; his brothers, Loren and Kenneth; his son, Jeff (Earlise); and daughter, Elizabeth (Simon) Robins; his grandson, Oliver Robins; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Rublee; and his mother, Marjorie.
A visitation will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, December 2, 2019 at Albrecht Funeral Home and Cremation Services, located at 1004 S Main St., in Edgerton, with a service following at 2 p.m. After the service, a luncheon will be held at Coachman's Golf Resort, 984 County Road A in Edgerton. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that mourners consider making a donation to the Sinnissippi Council of Boy Scouts of AME, or the Edgerton Hospital Foundation.
Donald's family wishes to thank the EMTs at the Edgerton Fire Protection District, the staff at Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, and the staff at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison-especially members of the palliative care team.