Donald Holland

Donald Kieth Holland

Tuesday, July 10th, 1928 - Tuesday, March 9th, 2021
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Today we mourn the loss of a husband, father and grandfather, a man who will be remembered for his deep love of family, faith, and profession, and devotion to his beloved Kenosha.

Donald Kieth Holland was born on July 10, 1928, in Marinette, WI, to the late Helen (Miller) and Marshall Holland. He was preceded in death by his brother, Marshall Robert Holland and wife (Honey) Phyllis, and nephew Dan Holland.

Don was raised in Iron Mountain, MI. After graduating from Iron Mountain High School he entered the Navy Air Corps V-5 Program as a midshipman and received his B.S.C.E from Michigan Technological University in 1950. He was a registered Professional Engineer (PE) and Registered Land Surveyor (RLS) in Wisconsin and Michigan.

After college, he worked as an Civil Engineer for the City of Dayton, OH when The Korean War broke out. After 2 years of service in the U.S. Army, Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an Ensign in the Civil Engineer Corps. He retired after 30 years, ending his service as a Naval Officer, Commander (CDR). He was affectionately known as Commander Don to family and friends.

Don had a long career of civil service. He began employment for the City of Kenosha as Civil Engineer from 1955 until 1957. After positions as Director of Public Works for the cities of Menominee, MI and Franklin, WI, Don returned to the City of Kenosha in 1964 becoming its Director of Public Works. He became City Administrator in 1986, retiring in 1993.

He was a proponent of priming the pump to stabilize Kenosha’s center core, especially dilapidated buildings. He was instrumental in creating Southport Marina, redeveloping the former harbor site of Simmons Mattresses, and later, the American Motors auto plant. The revitalized lakefront now features the Civil War Museum and Kenosha History Center,
Wolfenbuttel Park, named for Kenosha’s Sister City in Germany, a children’s playground, and landscaped open space.

Don continued to serve Kenosha during his retirement. From 1996 until 2010, he was elected 5 times as Alderman of the Third District, guiding revitalization projects, and active in the expansion of the Kenosha Regional Airport and the City's Business Parks.

In 1954, Don married Jean Peterson in Racine, WI. They had five children: Cindy Phelps (Jim), La Crosse, WI; Debra Ketterhagen (Dale), Waterford, WI; Patti Brewer, La Crosse WI; David Holland (Janelle) Franklin, WI; and Todd Holland (Judith McKennell), Libertyville, IL. Don and Jean later divorced. In 1973, Don married Joyce Welch (née Ritacca). Joyce is left to cherish his memories after 48 loving years together.

Survivors include 5 extended-children: John Welch, Silver Lake, WI; Linda Welch, Nashville,
TN; Geoff Welch (Jeffrey Gennette), Brooklyn NY; Cindy MacIver (Douglas), Rochester, MN; and Joy Jurewicz (Matthew), Richfield, MN. Survivors also include 11 grandchildren: Ryan Alby (Brittany); Christopher Alby; Jennifer Biermann (Tony); Tyrell Ketterhagen (Angie); Katie Gnewikow (Wally); Kristen Broughton (Brienna); Devon Holland; Dylan, Dustin, Hannah and Heidi Holland; 8 extended-grandchildren: Thomas and Eric MacIver; Graham Welch; Jude Welch; Eli and Isabella Jurewicz; Allie Wallick; and Hunter Zamilalo; and 10 great-grandchildren: Luke and Reid Biermann, Collins Alby; Tristan, Maddy, Caleb and Seth Ketterhagen; Lotus MacIver; Mia Gnewikow; and Sutton Holland. Don is further survived by nieces, nephews, relatives and countless friends.

As a proud, active Kenoshan, Don was Executive Director of Kenosha Sister Cities Association, a member of Kenosha Elks, Kiwanis and Navy Clubs; the Danish Brotherhood, and a longtime usher at St. Mary's Lutheran Church. Don was an avid, lifelong car enthusiast. He loved road racing at Road America at Elkhart Lake, WI and Blackhawk Farms in South Bend, IL. His hobbies included attending car shows and reading every car magazine he could find. He knew the specs, make and model of practically every sports and passenger car. Family would always ask his advice before buying a vehicle. Don was a consummate tinkerer, spending countless hours improving homes, working on projects, feeding his mind, body and spirit throughout his life. He also enjoyed sailing and refurbishing sail boats. Don and Joyce loved traveling, often visiting Kenosha Sister Cities in Douai, France and Wolfenbuttel, Germany, as well as nearly every state in the Union.

Don will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by family, friends, and all who knew and loved him.

Visitation will take place Friday, March 12th, at Proko Funeral Home, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Private Funeral Services will be held Saturday, March 13th, at St. Mary's Lutheran Church with full military honors. Interment will be held privately at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to St. Mary’s Lutheran Church and St. Anne Catholic Church, both in Kenosha.

Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
5111-60th Street
Kenosha, WI 53144
Phone: (262) 654-3533
Visit & Sign Don’s Online Memorial Book at:
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, March 12th, 2021 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, March 12th, 2021 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
    5111 60th Street
    Kenosha, WI 53144
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, March 13th, 2021 |
    Saturday, March 13th, 2021
    St. Mary's Lutheran Church
    2001-80th Street
    KENOSHA, WI 53143
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Services are private
    Pastor Paul Petersen
  • Interment

    Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery
    21731 Spring Street
    Union Grove, WI 53182
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Richard J Borman

Posted at 03:43pm
Joyce.. that was a memory lapse.. sorry.. condolences Dr B

Richard J Borman

Posted at 03:39pm
Jean and family,

Saddened to learn of Don's passing. He was one of the larger than life figures we experience in a lifetime. I know you'll find comfort in your faith, memories, and each other. Heartfelt condolences.

Dr Richard J Borman

Nancy Mathew

Posted at 10:44am
My sincerest sympathy to Joyce and family on Don's passing. What a blessing he was for Kenosha! His impact on the development of the Kenosha Lake front will forever be a tribute to him.
Nancy Mathews (retired from Kenosha Public Museums)

Melissa Stein

Posted at 07:22pm
Joyce and family, we were so saddened to hear of Don's passing. Tom, Thomas and I treasured him as our neighbor and most importantly, as a friend. We have many fond memories as I am sure do you. In times like this, may those memories get you thru. Our condolences and prayers are with you. Melissa, Tom, and Thomas Stein

Betsy Ross

Posted at 12:29pm
The picture chosen for Don's obituary is perfect; it captures the warmth, strength, and love of this spectacular man. While I did not have many opportunities to spend time with Don, I was able to see the man through the wonderful kids he helped raise after marrying Joyce. This is such a huge loss to the family, Kenosha, and anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Don.

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