On Friday, January 20, 2023, Don passed away at the age of 91. Donald Otto Mielke was born in his parents home in Bowdon, North Dakota on December 11, 1931. He was the youngest of four children of Otto and Lillian Mielke. In 1945, when Don was a teenager, the family moved to Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. He met his future wife, MaryAnn, in the neighboring town of New Ulm. She worked at the local movie theater. His brother, Ray, encouraged him to ask out the pretty blond that served him popcorn. He married MaryAnn on February 6, 1953, just prior to his graduation from college.
He attended the University of South Dakota and graduated with a BS in accounting. Upon graduation, Don took a job with his brother Ray as an accountant at Ray’s accounting firm in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Next, he went on to work at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Fargo, North Dakota. They moved to Racine, Wisconsin in 1962 where he worked for the J.I. Case Company for 30+ years as an auditor and accounting manager. Don and Mary Ann retired to Spring Hill, Florida in 1993.
From the eighth grade on, Don was always diligent in contributing his time and talents to the church. He held various titles such as treasurer, financial secretary and Vice President in different congregations including Forest Oaks Lutheran Church in Spring Hill. He was also seen over the years trimming all the hedges at Forest Oaks.
Don loved golfing and playing card games. He and MaryAnn belonged to many golf groups and card groups in the Timber Pines community. He was an amazing score keeper and even kept score playing cards with his granddaughter a few days before his death. He enjoyed the fresh air and the games but also cherished his friendships and the laughter that arose from those activities.
Don loved cars and he loved to cruise the open roads. When his children were young, the family regularly hit the road with their pop-up camper in tow. As empty nesters, Don and MaryAnn loved to take car trips to visit family and friends in locations all around the United States. They also traveled to Europe, Australia, Israel and the Panama Canal.
Don and MaryAnn were married 59 years before she passed away in 2012. He was a devoted Christian, husband and father. Later in life he made a point to visit friends that were ailing. He will be remembered for his very quick wit and his love of teasing. He was also a big teddy bear inside and was often described as a sweetheart by those that came in contact with him.
He is survived by his children: Michael and Christy Mielke of El Paso, TX, Ann Mielke and John Eicher of Hernando Beach, FL, Peter and Beth Mielke of Hot Springs Village, AR, Amy Hillenbrand and Bob Brock of San Antonio, TX, 6 Grandchildren: Kirstin and husband Jason, Nathan and wife Lisa, Aaron and wife Tiffany, Mary, Caroline and Samuel and 5 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Ann, his parents, his brother Ray and sisters Elvira and Myrtle.
There will be a Memorial Service held at 3:00 P.M. on February 5, 2023 at Forest Oaks Lutheran Church, 8555 Forest Oaks Blvd, Spring Hill, FL 34606
In lieu of flowers, the family asks those who wish to make a donation to designate it to a charity that was a part of Don’s life: Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, which helps at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ, or the Hospice organization that cared for Don.