Donald "Don" J. Janota, age 95, passed away peacefully at his home in Chetek, WI on Friday, February 4, 2022 surrounded by his family. He was born on October 4, 1926 in Chicago, IL to parents Joseph and Emilie (Vana) Janota. While Don attended elementary school in Chicago, he enjoyed summer vacations in Wisconsin at his grandparents’ farm. At the age of 12, he moved with his family to a rented farm in Wisconsin. He graduated from Twin Lakes country school then attended Chetek High School. Don took great pride in his work on the family farm.
Don became a Lay Brother and worked for 7 ½ years at a Benediction Monastery in Lisle, IL where he held several work positions as a gardener, farmer, mechanic, and paper press operator. He returned to Wisconsin in 1959, working at the Chetek Feed Mill and purchasing his own farm in New Auburn in 1960. He began with a herd of 12 cows and with hard work, dedication, help from others, and a big help from God, he transformed the rundown farm into a livable, workable 240 acres. Don met Marjorie Campbell and they were married on February 16, 1963. Together they continued to build up the farm and fix up the house where they raised 4 children. In 1976, they sold their dairy cows and raised veal calves until 1990 when they built a new home and moved to Chetek. Don went on to work at Kirkwoods’s grocery store, then drove bus for senior citizens, Rice Lake city bus, and head start. He returned to work at the grocery store, retiring at the age of 81. He was also City Alderman for 9 years. Don was always proud of his wife and children, cherished his grandchildren, and loved spending time with his dogs. During his 30 years in Chetek, Don and Marge dedicated their agriculture knowledge to growing a large vegetable garden each year.
“Like a printer in a print shop has ink in his blood, I have dirt in mine.”
Don leaves to celebrate his memory, his wife of 59 years, Marjorie Janota; children, Gloria (Frank) Weinert, Clifford Campbell, JoAnne (Brian) Schulz, Marie (Mike) Hegna; 11 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, Donald "Donnie" Zwiefelhofer as well as cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Rogers (Ardith) Janota; sister, Darlene Zwiefelhofer; and two great-grandchildren, Devin and Parker.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, February 10, 2022 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Chetek. Visitation will take place one hour prior, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the church. Memorial donations may be made to the Barron County Humane Society, 1571 Guy Ave., Barron, WI 54812.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Burnham-Ours-Kolstad Funeral Home in Chetek, WI.
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