Donald Edward Wiesehan
86, of St. Louis, Missouri journeyed to Christ’s eternal life on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 6:50 a.m. where he will join his parents Edward and Lillian (nee Eugea) Wiesehan and Brothers Harold and Edward. Don lived a zealous life; he was enlisted in the US Air Force from 1952 to 1956 serving with the Air Refueling Squadron and Bombardment Wing in the post- Korean War era. Don was the recipient of four medals of distinction: National DefenseService Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and a Good Conduct Medal. He was stationed in Okinawa Japan where he learned the Japanese language which he could speak until his end of life. He learned the art of Judo while in Japan where he trained under a Japanese Sensei eventually reaching Brown-Belt status. Don had many friends in Japan and enjoyed spending time with them at the Sunflower Bar where he admits he spent most of his military earnings. He purchased a color video camera at a Japanese pawn shop and captured many memorable moments that his family still enjoys to this day.
After his military life, Don married Nellie Catherine Gray and started a family while working for McDonald Douglas on the space program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. On his days off he enjoyed taking his family to frolic in the ocean in Cocoa Beach along with trout and deep sea fishing when he had a chance. Don worked alongside Astronauts on the Mercury and Gemini programs during the inauguration of the NASA space initiative which involved moving his family between Florida, California and Missouri. More specifically, Don worked on matching the Astronauts shoes to the capsules foot pedals, folding reentry parachutes and installing explosive bolts used on the capsule doors that would discharge upon the vehicles successful reentry to earth landing in the ocean. He shared stories of playing with space monkeys Enis and Ham getting them in trouble while they were in training to pull a sequence of levers inside the space capsule. During a pre-test anomaly, Don was instrumental in rescuing Astronauts Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad inside a Mercury capsule atop an Atlas rocket by boarding a high reach cherry-picker and removing the capsule door for their safe exit. When called upon, Don departed on a moment’s notice to travel the globe to recover space capsules after they landed in the ocean. He was invited to attend private astronaut parties hosted by the famous Commander Ed White. Don worked 32 years in the aerospace industry for McDonnell Douglas.
Don was retired for the next 33 years, a goal he strived to accomplish (to be retired longer than he worked). During his retirement, he joined a gym where he had a group of friends he enjoyed sharing jokes and stories with. It’s not known exactly how much actual working-out Don did in-between his socializing at the gym. In the warmer months he would golf quite regularly, and was in a bowling league during colder months. He spent countless hours in his workshop making meticulous rocking horses, rocking chairs and baby cradles for his eight grandchildren. He also took up scuba diving in his retirement years, and went on a Stunt Airplane for his 75th birthday. He treated all of his children and their spouses on a special cruise to the Caribbean and enjoyed going on vacations across the United States and other countries. Don loved to celebrate life having good times filled with much laughter, singing, joking and telling funny stories. He could recite a riddle on-the spot relevant to any occasion at hand. Some of his favorite quotes included; “Boy, we’re shittin in high cotton now” and when things weren’t going well or when he found himself in a pickle he’d say, “This ain’t no hill for a high stepper”. If you were to get an injury he’d say, “You’ll feel better when it stops hurting”. All things related to a rhyme or riddle he was the essence of a positive attitude. A few of his favorite songs were, “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Kitty Kallen and “I’ve got Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. That’s how Don rolled. He had unconditional love for his family and exuded physical and emotional support to make sure all things were just right. Everyone he loved felt his love.
Beloved husband of Nellie Catherine (nee Gray), dear father of Cheryl (Fred) Morgan (nee Wiesehan), StevenWiesehan, Kevin (Holly) Wiesehan, dear grandfather of Matthew Morgan, Laura (Adam) Feldmanis , Crystal (Robin)Busquets, Anthony Wiesehan, Nicholas Morgan, Kelly Wiesehan, Hannah Wiesehan, and Ryan Wiesehan, great grandfather of Gavin Busquets, Luke Feldmanis , Allison Feldmanis, Gabriel Busquets and Brianne Feldmanis, dear brother of David Wiesehan, dear brother- in law of Gladys Wiesehan, uncle and great uncle to many.
Services: Committal Ceremony and Internment at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery will be held on Monday, April 12 at 11:30 a.m. Please meet in the parking area behind the administration building. Due to the pandemic and social distancing, there will not be a luncheon to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation North Central Florida Chapter or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at donate.lls.org/ are appreciated.