Donald R. Kotlowski
MADISON- Donald R. “Don” Kotlowski, age 73, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, at Agrace HospiceCare after a short battle with cancer.
In his own words, “I had a great life”. Born on Aug. 4, 1940, in Chicago, Ill. to Walter Kotlowski and Phyllis Burzcyski, Don grew up on the family farm alongside brothers, Ken, Jerry, and Wally. He left school after 8th grade to work on the farm as wells as to work as a meat cutter at his dad’s and uncle’s grocery store. Don married young and at the age of 20, he enlisted in the Army and spent five years as a cook, stationed in California, where he had four children, Cheryl, Mark, Rick and Tim. After serving, he settled in Madison where he worked as a meat cutter at Kohl’s Food Store for 26 years.
In 1982, he met his “sweetheart” and future wife, Patricia Derer. They were engaged for ten years and married in March, 1993. Through his marriage to Patricia, he gained two more children, Tina Derer (Neupert) and Daryl Derer. In 1985, his interest in furniture refinishing and repair led to a job selling furniture at Dell Wood Country Store. In 1987, Don and Pat opened a business, “Don’s Collection of Antiques and Collectables”, selling original and reproduction antique furniture and collectable glassware. The business flourished and in 1988, the couple opened “Don’s Oak Furniture”, on Stoughton Road in Madison. Known for quality furniture at a reasonable price, the business quickly grew. In 1993, Don and Pat sold the business to daughter, Tina (Derer) Neupert and former son-in-law, Blaine Neupert. Don tried to retire, but ended up working part time at the furniture store doing repairs for many years. Still named after him, “Don’s Home Furniture” continues to cater to the Madison area on the West Beltline.
Don enjoyed many things in life. He loved polka music, playing concertina and drums in a band, as well as polka dancing, in which he won many contests. Don also enjoyed bowling, as he was great at it. He bowled on many leagues and was most proud of his 700 Series awards. Don enjoyed warm places and traveling on numerous vacations to the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands, and took great pride in his yard and landscaping, being the most beautiful in the neighborhood.
Don is survived by his beloved wife, Patricia Derer; and his children, Cheryl Kotlowski (Eric), Mark (Connie) Kotlowski, Rick (Janice) Kotlowski, Tim (Chris) Kotlowski and Tina Derer Neupert; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is also survived by brothers, Jerry (Marcie) Kotlowski and Wally Kotlowski; his special cousins, Wayne Kotlowski, Louie Kotlowski, and Bonnie Kobs; and his best friend and companion dog, Max. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Phyllis Kotlowski; a brother, Ken Kotlowski; and a son, Daryl Derer.
A special thank you goes out to the staff of Agrace HospiceCare for their excellent care and compassion, especially to Don’s nurses, Becky and Bonnie. Per his wishes, a private life celebration will be held for only immediate family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Agrace HospiceCare of Wisconsin.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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