“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you ...” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Donald Dean Schilling, of Jefferson, was born to John and Helen (Paugh) Schilling on June 30, 1942, and died on Nov. 16 at the age of 77.
A service of remembrance was held on Nov. 21 at the Church of Christ in Jefferson, with words of comfort by Bruce Webster and David Wright.
Jeff Lamoureux read the obituary.
Honorary bearers were Brooke Schilling, Noelle Tipton, Regan Lamoureux, Kassie Lamoureux, Kirsten Lamoureux and Tinley Schilling.
Casket bearers were Bryce Schilling, Brady Schilling, Brandt Schilling, Dylan Schilling, Trey Schilling, Wesley Tipton, Reid Lamoureux and Tate Schilling.
Music was led by Mark Wright and included “Precious Memories,” “Take My Hand Precious Lord,” “Living by Faith” and “This World is Not My Home.”
Interment was in the Jefferson Cemetery.
God gave Don a quiet nature like his mother and a love of the land like his father.
He grew up on the family farm north of Jefferson and attended Jefferson Community School, graduating in 1960. After high school, Don pursued farming and joined the National Guard, serving in the infantry.
In 1966, Don met Joan Wright and, three months later, the couple wed in Jefferson. John and Helen moved out of the family home, so Don and his new bride could raise their family there. From birth until death, Don lived in the same house. Three sons and one daughter were born to this union.
Don loved everything farming, and it wasn’t long until the boys were working alongside him. He raised cattle and hogs and enjoyed the serenity of walking the fence line to fix fence. Don worked hard and earned the Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year award when he was 35.
In the 1970s, Don put on Christ in baptism and was added to the Church of Christ. He rarely missed a worship service and matured into a faithful Christian. He led singing often, waited on the Lord’s table and eventually became an elder in the church.
After his children were raised, Don decided to supplement his farming income with over-the-road trucking. For the next 22 years, Joan accompanied him on nearly every trip, and they usually came home with colorful stories about their excursions.
Don was a family man and enjoyed every minute of being a husband, father and grandfather. He loved visits from the grandkids and loved watching them explore the farm. His grandkids can testify that he looked forward to every holiday that involved family and food.
As Don matured physically and spiritually, he learned the greatest joy of all — a Christian life.
The day before he passed away, Don told Joan just how thankful he was that he had married her, and that if he hadn’t, he probably would have been lost.
The day of his death, Nov. 16, Don met members of the Jefferson Church of Christ in Bagley to pass out bottles of water, as the town’s water was now considered unsafe to drink. Don hoped this endeavor would do three things: meet the residents’ physical need for clean water; meet the residents’ spiritual need for living water (“... whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them,” John 7:38); and most importantly, that God would be glorified.
His last hours on Earth were spent in the Lord’s service as he died shortly thereafter.
It is a comfort and brings great joy to his family to know that his last breath on Earth was followed by his first breath in heaven.
Don is preceded in death by his parents; his brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Betty Schilling; and his brother-in-law, Bob Tedrow.
Don is survived by his wife of 53 years, Joan; his sons, Bret (Melisse) Schilling, of Jefferson, and their children (Dylan, Noelle (Wesley) Tipton, Trey); Bart (Laura) Schilling, of Lubbock, Texas, and their children (Bryce, Brady, Brandt, Brooke); Jack (Jenifer) Schilling, of Wolfforth, Texas, and their children (Tate, Tinley); his daughter, Jill (Jeff) Lamoureux, of Jefferson, and their children (Reid, Regan, Kassie, Kirsten); his sister, Mary Jean Tedrow, of Creston; his brother and sister-in-law, Wayne and Darlene Schilling, of Cedar Rapids; many nieces/nephews; his church family in Jefferson; and his dog, Abby.
The family was assisted by the Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home.