Donald L. “Buzzy” Zager, 83, passed away on January 12, 2022, at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield, Wisc. due to a short illness.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday January 21, 2022, at Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home (1010 E. Veterans Pkwy, Marshfield) with Rev. Chris Schwanz officiating. Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with service to follow at the funeral home with Firefighter and Military Honors.
Don was born October 3, 1938, at home in rural Clark County, Wisc. His parents were Richard & Caroline (Hillman) Zager. He attended schools in Neillsville, Arpin, rural Loyal and graduated from Greenwood High School in 1956.
He worked for Longwood Cheese Factory for a short time before he joined the United States Air Force the day after his 18th birthday. Two years of his service was spent overseas at bases in Turkey, Tripoli, and Libya. His remaining two years of service he served at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, as a Crash Rescue Firefighter.
He met his first wife while stationed in Rapid City, South Dakota. They were married in 1959 and had four wonderful children together. They were divorced in 1981.
Don married Janet Portz on June 1, 1985. Last year, they celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.
Don was a Marshfield Firefighter from November 28, 1960, to December 31, 1991. During that time, he became Lieutenant and then Deputy Fire Chief. He also worked part-time at Nelson’s Shoe & Hobby for 50-plus years.
For 60-plus years, Don enjoyed trap shooting and had won many awards in Wisconsin, Las Vegas, Missouri and South Dakota. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, photography, restoring his Thunderbird, playing cards and shaking dice. He enjoyed his annual trips to South Dakota and the Black Hills and other states to visit family, friends and sightseeing. He called the Black Hills his second home and knew them well, including motorcycle trips to Sturgis and Deadwood and other scenic venues.
He is survived by his wife, Janet; daughters, Veronica (Ken) Zeidler, Mary Zager, Nancy (Ed) Erickson; son, Scott (Michele) Zager (and his daughter, Joanna); granddaughters, Aimee (Dana) Fern (and their daughter, Alexandra), Ashley (Sergejs) Stepanovs (and their children, Natalya and Alexander), Jessica Bornbach; sister, Carole Hanne; and brother, Roger (Chris) Zager; sister-in-law, Sharon Zager; and many nieces and nephews. He is further survived by step-children, Linda Berkholtz (Brian Dix), Melanie (Walt Burchett) Herbers, Kevin (Connie) Portz, Kathy (Art) Bottensek, Amy (Randy) Bischoff, and Jason (Cherian) Portz; 11 step-grandchildren; and 21 step-great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his parents; a brother, Duane Zager; daughter-in-law, Rene Zager; nephew, Richard Zager; and brother-in-law, Elroy Hanne.
Online condolences may be made at www.hansenschillingfuneralhome.com for your convenience.