Donald James von Rase, formerly of Madison, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at King on March 25th, 2019.
Don was born on July 11, 1930, in Chicago Illinois, to Albert and Catherine Vondrasek. He was raised in the Catholic Church, where the sisters taught the grade school to “Pray for Notre Dame” every Friday before Saturday’s football game, and he graduated from Northwestern University with a Journalism degree. During the Korean War Don served in the First Calvary Division in the Department of Public Relations. On his return from the war, he married another Chicago native, Doris Tuscher, and they moved to Detroit, Michigan where Don worked in the “Mad Men” heyday of advertising as a copywriter for the premier firm Batton, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, where he came up with clever copy for the automotive industry, such as his Valentine’s Day promotion for the Dodge Dart: “Cupid has traded in his arrow for a Dart!”
The family soon moved out of the city to White Lake Township Michigan, a large recreational area and wildlife preserve, where they enjoyed the lake across their street on Gale Road, and hiked through miles of forested hills right in their backyard.
Don’s creativity often found political outlets, such as producing an original 45-rpm vinyl record titled “Ping Pong P.O.E.” (Port of Entry), in celebration of table tennis diplomacy between the USA and China in 1971. He later created and marketed “Nixon Enemy List" certificates for Americans disappointed they did not make the famous list revealed during the Senate Watergate hearings.
Donald is survived by his daughters Lori (Craig) Conner of Madison, and Cathy (Gil) Schwarze of Livingston, Montana; as well as his siblings Al (Irene) Vondrasek, and Yolanda Hochleutner, both of Bradenton, Florida.
Funeral mass will be held at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 401 S Owen Dr. Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, March 30th. Visitation is at 10:00 am, service at 10:30 am, and burial at Resurrection Cemetery, 2705 Regent St. Madison, at 11:30 am.
Flowers are welcome, or donations may be made to the Sierra Club, 415-977-5500.
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