Donald Kovar, 86, passed away Saturday, March 2, 2013, after a brief battle with pneumonia.
Donald was born in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 25, 1926, and was the only child of Bess and Joseph Kovarsky. He attended Emmett School in Chicago where, in third grade, he met his future wife, Nadine Joseph, and proposed to her on the spot. Unfortunately, Donald had to wait until 1947 before she finally accepted his proposal.
In the interim, Don attended, enjoyed and graduated from Austin High School. He had just returned from Champaign, Ill., where he had registered to attend the University of Illinois when he was drafted into service during World War II.
Don joined the Army, became a Staff Sergeant and was a photographer for the Signal Corps. After basic training, he was headed to California to participate in the invasion of Japan when the war ended. He finished his tour of duty in Honolulu, Hawaii, and returned to Chicago.
He and Nadine were married Nov. 14, 1948, at her parents’ home. Together they built their family home in 1958 in Wilmette, Ill., where they raised their three children, Nancy (Terry) Lucht, Robert (Carolyn) Kovar and Patricia (Robert) Buchanan. He joined Nadine’s family at Joseph Lumber Company, became an active member of the Young Homebuilders Association and had a successful career in contract sales for 60 years. After a brief retirement, Don re-entered the workforce in lumber contract sales for Lexington Homes for several years before finally retiring permanently.
Don and Nadine shared a love of traveling the world. They skied everywhere from northern Wisconsin to Idaho to Colorado; enjoyed a houseboat on the canals of France with friends, kayaked with whales in Alaska, explored the wilds of Africa and went to Russia to find their family roots. They joined a tennis group and enjoyed trips to Mexico, northern Wisconsin and many places in between.
Many summers were spent enjoying the Northwoods of Wisconsin, fishing, water skiing, and a weekly picnic table with 40 noisy relatives and friends on Saturday nights.
Though he regretted deeply that he never finished his own college education, Don made certain that each of his children and grandchildren would have successful college educations and a solid start to whatever career they chose.
Don and Nadine lost their beloved daughter, Patty, to cancer in 1991 and dearly loved son-in-law, Terry, to cancer in 2008.
Don was preceded in death by Nadine, who passed away peacefully in their Wilmette home May 1, 2012.
Don and Nadine’s greatest happiness was their seven grandchildren, Scott (Amanda) Sasse of Chicago, Ill., Sarah Sasse of Denver, Colo., Audrey Buchanan of Eden, Utah, Andy Buchanan of San Francisco, Calif., Addy Kovar of Somerset, and Sam Kovar of Minneapolis, Minn. Each grandchild had a special nickname and unique relationship with their grandparents.
The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Autumn Leaves Living in Vernon Hills, Ill., where Don spent the last eight months of his life being loved, coddled, cared for and spoiled.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to The Patricia Buchanan Scholarship Fund, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Office of External Relations, School of Education, 181 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Hall, Madison, WI 54706-1326.