Seehafer News reports that local broadcast pioneer and patriarch of Seehafer Broadcasting in Manitowoc Don Seehafer has passed away at his home.
The Marshfield native acquired local station WDLB AM1450 in 2006. (The station is now headed by Mark Seehafer.) The company also owns local stations WOSQ, WFHR, and WLJY, among many others statewide, and beyond.
His full obituary is as follows:
Donald William Seehafer, age 84, family man and pillar of the community, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, January 21, 2020 in the comfort of his home.
Don was born on April 8, 1935 in Marshfield, WI, to Bill and Clara Seehafer. He graduated from Marshfield High School with the class of 1953, where he participated in football, basketball, baseball, track, choir, state honors-winning quartet, and performing as captain of the Ship in the operetta HMS Pinafore.
Don proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy, spending the majority of his two years of active duty time in the Far East on the staff of Rear Admiral Commander Fleet Air Wing One, followed by four years of reserve duty.
Don married the former Velva “Jean” Rasmussen on September 20, 1958 at First Presbyterian Church in Marshfield. Together they raised four children and enjoyed the blessings of many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Don enjoyed supporting Wisconsin sports as well as attending Packers, Badgers, Super Bowls, Badger Rose Bowls, Brewers and World Series games, and together with Jean, they spent their winters in Cocoa Beach, FL, creating new traditions and memories with family and friends.
Don had a full and notable career in radio broadcasting, beginning during his senior year of high school when he memorably missed his own graduation ceremony to fulfill a broadcasting commitment. In 1960, Don (together with cousin, Bob Johnson) purchased their first AM radio station in St. Peter, MN. During this time, Don was given the Distinguished Young Men of America award by the Jaycees of Mankato, MN. In 1970, Don and Jean moved their family to Manitowoc, WI, with the purchase of WOMT 1240-AM. In 1976, Don separated from his partnership to form Seehafer Broadcasting, maintaining WI station and going on to establish an FM station in Wausau, WI and acquiring WQTC 102.3-FM as well as stations in Janesville, WI, Rochester, MN, Winter Haven, FL, Wisconsin Rapids, WI, and eventually Marshfield, WI, where he acquired the station that had given him his first broadcasting job.
Through the course of his life, Don was involved in many organizations both professionally and personally, including serving as church council member, board member and president of First Lutheran Churches in both St. Peter, MN, and Manitowoc, Chamber of Commerce board member and president in both St. Peter, MN, and Manitowoc, Lion’s Club member, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association board member and president, and National Association of Broadcasters board member. Don was honored to be inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame as recognition for his work in the industry, and also Lakeshore All-Sports Hall of Fame.
Don is survived by his wife of 61 years Jean, their children and spouses, Sandy & Dick Halverson of Manitowoc, Karen & Cameron Stevenson of Manitowoc, Mark & Julie (Gresl) Seehafer of Two Rivers, and Debbie Seehafer of Manitowoc; seven grandchildren, Jacob Halverson, Terry (Katie) Stevenson, Anderia (Chad) Frank, Trevor (Julie Jeske) Seehafer, Brennan (Shilah Glebke) Seehafer, Derek Stevenson, and Mateo Seehafer; five great-grandchildren, Lauren & Ethan Halverson, Harper & Halle Frank, and Wyatt Seehafer. He is also survived by a sister Dorothy Riedel, along with many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Clara Seehafer, his father and mother-in-law, Olaf and Sara Rasmussen, one sister and two brothers-in-law, Esther & Lloyd Riedel and Cliff Riedel, two brothers and sisters-in-law, Ray & Rita Rasmussen, and Vern & Joyce Rasmussen.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, January 27, 2020 at First Lutheran Church, 521 North 8th Street, Manitowoc. Pastor Jim Wilson and Pastor Jed Manders will officiate. Private family burial services will take place at a later date at Evergreen Cemetery, Manitowoc. Relatives and friends may call at the church from 11:00 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Association Foundation in Don’s name. The Jens Family Funeral Home & Crematory of Manitowoc assisted the family with funeral arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.jensreinboldandpfeffer.com
Don’s family would like to extend a very special thank you to all of Mom’s caregivers who provided Dad with a great big breakfast every morning following his three-mile walk. Your care and compassion will not go unnoticed.