UCC Minister and Fairhaven Senior Services Supporter the Rev. Donald Ellerman Dies at 68

The Rev. Donald E. Ellerman

The Rev. Donald Edgar Ellerman, UCC minister and resident of UCC-related Fairhaven Senior Services in Whitewater, Wis., died July 9. He was 68.

A graduate of Quincy High School, Ellerman enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1969 and was honorably discharged in 1973. While stationed in Italy, he met his wife, Gladys E. (Leason) Ellerman. The two were married in September 1972.

Following military service, Ellerman worked for the U.S. Postal Service for nine years before heeding God’s call to ordained ministry. He graduated from John Woods Community College with an associate’s degree in accounting; a bachelor of theology degree from Quincy College (1982); and is M.Div. degree from UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo. (1985). Ordained into ministry in the United Church of Christ, Ellerman served four churches: Southminster Presbyterian Church in Crestwood, Mo. (1983-1985), Immanuel United Church of Christ in Latimer, Iowa (1985-1993), Calvary Memorial United Church of Christ in Wauwatosa, Wis. (1993-2001), and St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Saukville, Wis. (2002-2011).

In retirement, the Ellermans moved to Fairhaven Senior Services. Ellerman served on the UCC’s regional Wisconsin Conference Board of Directors and was Fairhaven’s representative in CHHSM.

“Don was a friend and confidant who loved the church, loved his family, loved connecting with people,” says Paul Kuenning, president and CEO of Fairhaven. “ I will miss his times of checking in with me and having [his wife] Gladys calling, telling him he should not be bugging me. He was looking to the future and planning: planning at which church he was going to preach; planning time to visit his family and grandchildren; planning his next bike route; planning for what he was going to plant; planning which tree or shrub needed attention at Fairhaven. There is a lot he left undone and that will be left to each of us.”

Michael J. Readinger, president and CEO of CHHSM, remembers Ellerman as “a true serving leader of the UCC. His devotion to his family, the UCC, and Fairhaven Senior Services were an inspiration to everyone who met him. His spirit and faith will be missed.”

Ellerman loved his nine grandchildren: Corbin, Ashlyn, Gavin, and Adilyn Runge; Abigail, Justin, & Emma Leung; and Isaac and Ellie Sund. He was an avid biker and taught all nine of his grandchildren how to ride. He missed his lifetime goal of 100,000 miles by only reaching 93,047 miles in 22 years. He also loved camping, tree trimming with his chain saws, gardening, and farming.

He is preceded in death by son-in-law Theodore W. Leung; sister Constance J. (Ellerman) Mayfield; brothers William E. & Richard E. Ellerman; and parents Elmo & Marjorie Ellerman.

In addition to his nine grandchildren, Ellerman is survived by his wife of 46 years, Gladys; his three daughters — Kristy, Susan, & Sarah; two sons-in-law — Shawn & Matthew; sister Mary Jane Ellerman; uncle Robert (Doc) Ellerman; and nieces & nephews.

“On behalf of the entire Fairhaven family, Don will be missed in so many ways,” Kuenning says. “His involvement in the daily life of Fairhaven, helping others stay connected to each other through bible study, gardening, biking, cutting trees and small gatherings was so important. Don took an active role in representing Fairhaven at the Council for Health and Human Service Ministry Annual Gatherings and at the Wisconsin Conference by letting congregations know of the additional ministries of the church. He was a friend to many and will be so dearly missed. He did not know a stranger!”

The visitation and memorial service is July 20, 2019, at Middleton Community United Church of Christ, 645 Schewe Rd., Middleton, WI 53562. Visitation is 9-11 a.m. and the memorial service begins at 2 p.m., with coffee fellowship to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Fairhaven Foundation, c/o Fairhaven Senior Services, 435 W. Starin Rd., Whitewater, WI 53190.


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