Cover photo for Donald J. Pehler's Obituary
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1933 Donald 2020

Donald J. Pehler

October 25, 1933 — September 21, 2020

Donald Joseph Pehler, 86 of La Crosse, Wisconsin died September 21, 2020 at Mayo Clinic Health Systems-La Crosse. Don was born in Arcadia, Wisconsin on October 25, 1933 to Joseph and Mary Ann (Kaiser) Pehler. On June 7, 1956, he married Jean Stange at St. John’s Catholic Church in La Crosse.

Don served his country during the Korean War and was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1955. It was a proud, life-changing moment for Don to attend the Freedom Honor Flight in 2014. He retired from Gateway Foods/Fleming after 31 dedicated years in 1995. Don always looked forward to family reunions, taking his children to his dad’s farm in Arcadia, and attending church dinners. Having all of his extended family together for celebrations was always close to Don’s heart. He was a great conversationalist; anyone Don met became a friend. Don enjoyed traveling including numerous trips to Hawaii, watching the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs, Polish poppy seed coffee cake, and a daily dose of Jif creamy peanut butter.

Don is survived by his loving wife Jean of 64 years; five children Pat (Tom) Dunn, Kathy (Gary) Kerska, Joe (Cyndi Dooley) Pehler, Sandy (Vicki Powell) Pehler, and Susie (nee Pehler) Thom. He is further survived by his 11 grandchildren Ryan, Jenni, Cindy, Brian, Stephanie, Amanda, Zachary, Chad, Josh, Courtney and Andrew; and 8 great-grandchildren, Everett, Dorian, Leona, Addison, Delaney, Aurora, Aimsleigh and Lincoln.

He was preceded in death by his parents, stepmother Mary (Hunter) Pehler, his sister Joan, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

His funeral mass will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 10:00am at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Onalaska, WI, with visitation one hour prior to the service from 9:00am to 10:00am. Msgr. Steven Kachel will officiate with burial to be held in French Island Cemetery with full military honors, performed by the Roy L. Vingers Post 52, following the mass. The funeral mass will also be available to live stream from St. Patrick’s Website:

A celebration of life will be held at a later date when it is safe to gather.

The family would like to thank all of the medical staff that provided care and comfort to Don.

Memorials are preferred and will be given to the Freedom Honor Flight in Don’s name.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald J. Pehler, please visit our flower store.


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