Ronald A. Donigain Sr. was a compassionate and strong-willed man who cared about others. His patriotism was evident and love for his family was great. Outside of work, his family was his main focus. He was very involved in the lives of his children and grandchildren. Fun-loving and funny, Ron told jokes that his family will continue to share with others for years to come.
Ronald was born July 10,1938 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during a decade of turmoil and struggle. Economic depression and an impending war put stress on many American families. James and Frances (Wendelberger) Donigain, of Irish, German and Armenian decent, supported a family of five children with his work in the stockyards and her job as a butcher. The infant death of the oldest child, James, affected the whole family and life for the four siblings- Helen, Evelyn, Thomas and Ron- was difficult. Despite the tension, Ron developed a sense of humor and a big heart.
The playfulness that was mostly channeled into joke-telling also had a sneaky quality to it. On occasion, Ron snuck away in his father’s car, and when he needed to get his dad to sign his report card, Ron approached him when he was half asleep.
Ron attended St. John’s Cathedral High School in Milwaukee, where he was a member of the choir and excelled as a singer. In fact, as an adult, he talked about how he wished he would have pursued a singing career. Instead, he focused his future on the lovely Barbara Ruth Greiten. After graduating from St. John’s, Ron married his high school sweetheart on August 13, 1959.
Out of high school, Ron enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in El Paso, Texas. Military service suited Ron well, and he wore his patriotism boldly. When he and Barbara began their family, his pride also swelled at the births of their five children: Ellen, LueAnne, Ron ll, Paul and Patrick.
For many years, Ron worked for American Motors at the car body plant and became a local representative for United Auto Workers (UAW). It was a demanding position, but Ron was committed to going to bat for his fellow workers. Yet even when he was stressed out he managed to keep his sense of humor.
Even though money was tight, that did not stop Ron from packing up the old blue station wagon and taking the family on regular camping trips. The neighbors watched as they left wondering if their car would make it back home. Ron also enjoyed taking his dogs-Kiehnau, Sam, and Coco- for a run in the “barracks”.
Ron loved parades and fireworks for their entertainment value as well as their patriotic significance. He and Barbara always made Christmas special. The freshly cut tree, with its bubble lights and tinsel, took up half the room! More than anything, Ron’s eyes would light up at the sight of his grandkids. He was especially proud of the military service that some chose.
Ron was full of life- from singing in the shower and whistling all the time, to his corny jokes and Elvis impressions. With his quivering lips and “Uhhuhhuh” he pulled off a pretty good Elvis. He was an especially sharp dresser.
In the words of his daughter, Ron “took his blue suede shoes with him to dance with Jesus on the streets of gold”.
Ronald A. Donigain, Sr., age 71, went to his eternal home on April 10, 2010. Cherished father of Ellen (Randy) Kind, LueAnne (Keith) Bestul, Ronald A. ll (Christine) Donigain, Paul (Tracy) Donigain and Patrick (Kathleen) Donigain. Loving grandfather of Robert (Jodi), Michael, Peter, Anita (Scott), Kristin, Kory, Kyle, Sandra, Ronald A.lll, Abigail, Landon, Zachary, Myah, Isabella, Wyatt, Samuel and Emily. Great grandfather of Jayden. Dear brother of Thomas (Barbara) Donigain. Further survived by former wife Barbara, other relatives and friends. Family and friends will gather at the Funeral Home Friday, April 16, from 3:00 PM until time of Memorial Celebration at 6:00PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Milwaukee Rescue Mission or Alzheimer Association. The Donigain family was served by Suminski Family Funeral Homes: Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to leave a memory for the family or to sign the guest register.