Donald L. Gottschalk, a genuine and charismatic personality with a quick wit and kind word for all, died October 10, 2020, surrounded by the love of his wife, four children and seven grandchildren. He was 81.
Don’s absence in this world will be acutely felt -- as a loving husband to his wife, a devoted father and grandfather to his children and grandchildren, a respected legal counselor to his clients, a devoted friend to so many, and a welcoming presence with a hearty, recognizable laugh for all.
Don was born September 28, 1939 in Hays, KS to George J. and Martha (Breit) Gottschalk. He is survived by his wife, Remigia (Midge), of 58 years, his children Michael Gottschalk, Peggy Gottschalk Rust, Jennifer & Bill Lepentis, and Megan & Tom Hammersmith, his seven grandchildren Lauren, Joshua, Morgan, Eleni, Owen, Eli, and Anna, and his brother Kenneth Gottschalk and his wife Diane. He is predeceased by his parents and siblings George Jr., Tom, Bob, and Mary Ann.
Don graduated from St. Joseph’s Military Academy in Hays, KS in 1957. After graduation, he immediately joined the United States Navy, serving his Country until 1960. Don traveled the world and returned to his fiancé Midge to start their life together and continue his education. He graduated from Fort Hays State College in 1964 and Washburn University School of Law in 1967.
Ever the entrepreneur, Don hung up his shingle and began practicing law in Hutchinson, Kansas, establishing himself as a trusted legal voice for his clients and serving as the City Attorney for the City of South Hutchinson for over 40 years. Don enjoyed a remarkable 52 years in the practice of law, while simultaneously exploring other ventures like managing the T-Bar-S Guest Ranch on Upper Bear Creek in Evergreen, Colorado, founding, designing and running the Paganica golf course in Hutchinson, KS, and, along with his brother Kenny, buying their father’s furniture company in Hays, KS and turning “The Home” into an iconic and beloved bar.
When Don wasn’t at the office, over the years you could find him on the golf course with his friends, on his tractor in the field, building something from scratch in his tool room, hanging out with his faithful dogs, telling stories from his entrepreneurial days, laughing out loud, sharing his wit, or curating the lawn at the “Ponderosa,” his own little slice of paradise. Don’s special brand of storytelling brought joy, laughter, and sometimes tears to anyone listening. His infectious laughter preceded him into every room and will forever ring in our ears.
Don’s ashes will be laid to rest at a private family burial at St. Catherine Church/Saint Catharina Cemetery in Catharine, Kansas at his wife’s childhood parish where they were lovingly married. A memorial mass celebrated at The Church of the Holy Cross in Hutchinson, KS will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be submitted to the Eli Hammersmith Trust, in support of Don’s grandson who was born with a developmental delay. True to his spirit of giving anything he could to those he loved, Don always said he would give his own life if Eli could walk. The trust will allow Eli’s family to advocate for resources on Eli’s behalf. Donations may be made by sending a check payable to the Eli Hammersmith Trust to 1441 East 30th, Ste. C, PMB 196, Hutchinson, KS 67502.
As a Catholic all his life, Don’s soul is commended to the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms.” John 14: 1-4
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be submitted to the Eli Hammersmith Trust, in support of Don’s grandson who was born with a developmental delay.
True to his spirit of giving anything he could to those he loved, Don always said he would give his own life if Eli could walk. The trust will allow Eli’s family to advocate for resources on Eli’s behalf.
Donations may be made by sending a check payable to the Eli Hammersmith Trust to 1441 East 30th, Ste. C, PMB 196, Hutchinson, KS 67502.
Donations are to a private special needs trust, not established as a charitable organization under relevant tax law.
Donations are to a private special needs trust, not established as a charitable orginization under relevent tax law
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