David Stanley Richard Zehren, 78, found peace at Harbor House – South in Kenosha on Tuesday, December 29, 2009, following a brave struggle with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dave was born on July 19, 1931, to the late Clarence and Mary (nee: Beisbier) Zehren. He was raised on the family farm until the Zehrens moved to Fond du Lac when he was 12. Following graduation from high school, Dave faithfully served our Country during the Korean War with the United States Air Force from 1951 – 1954. Shortly after, he went on to UW–Oshkosh to become a school teacher, where he received a scholarship from the Payne Art Museum for his award-winning artwork.
On May 7, 1955, in St. Louis Catholic Church in Fond du Lac, he was united in marriage with the love of his life, Donna M. (nee: DuQuette).
Dave taught English and Modern Literature at Washington Park High School in Racine for over 42 years, where he had the unique way of teaching his students the valuable lessons of “Life 101.” A different rendition of the sun was drawn daily on the blackboard, he shook hands with every student on their way out of class, and enjoyed sharing his gift of music by playing guitar and singing songs; these were just a few of his memorable trademarks.
Dave had a great love for family, music, teaching, growing iris flowers, raising pigeons (from age 7 until 2007), painting, and writing poetry verses for songs. Dave was an active member of St. Lucy Catholic Church, where he taught religion classes for over 35 years and was a founding member, along with his family, of the 9 a.m. “Mass on the Grass” Guitar Choir. With a genuinely kind and gentle spirit, to know Dave ... was to love him.
Surviving are his loving wife of over 54 years, Donna; their children, Beth (William Trojanowicz) Zehren of Germantown, Peter (Maurice Smith) Zehren of Jersey City, N.J., John (Amy “Lexi”) Zehren of Chicago, and Jennifer (Kip Howe) Zehren of Racine; son-in-law, David Paap, Jr. of Kansasville; grandchildren, Alisa (Kevin) Bendickson, Kevin Paap, Thomas (Diedre Carr) Surendonk, Laura Paap and Addison Zehren; great-grandchildren, Aidan and Brady Bendickson; sisters, Rose Diette and Margaret (Harold) Miller; sister-in-law, Carol (Ralph) Steffen; brother-in-law, Thomas (Joyce) DuQuette; nieces, nephews, other relatives, thousands of former students and friends, too numerous to mention by name.
In addition to his parents, Dave was also preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Jane Paap, on April 13, 2002; sisters, Carol Zehren, Mary Zehren and Audrey (John) Kremer; and brother-in-law, Kenneth Diette.
Visitation will be in the funeral home on Sunday, January 3, 2010, from 3-6 p.m. (with a prayer service being offered by Rev. Jeffrey M. Thielen at 6 p.m.).
Additional visitation will be held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 6400 Spring St., on Monday, January 4, 2010, from 9–10 a.m. At 10 a.m. a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated with Rev. William J. Dietzler officiating. David will be buried with full Military honors.
Private interment will take place at St. Martin’s Cemetery in Ashford, WI, on Tuesday. In memory of Dave, memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association have been suggested.
A special note of thanks to Harbor House – South (Brenda Rosenthal and all caregivers), and Hospice Alliance for the compassionate care and support that was so warmly given to Dave, and to our family. May God bless all of you!
Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home & Crematory
4600 County Line Rd., Racine 262-552-9000