Donald William Fawcett

Donald William Fawcett

Madison – Donald William Fawcett, a loving and principled man, died on June 11, 2017. He was 94.

Don lived his final years in Ocala, Florida, and Madison, Wisconsin, but lived most of his adult life in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Donald was born in 1923 in Minnesota. His family lost everything in the Depression, a defining experience at the root of his lifelong resourcefulness and financial prudence. He joined the U.S. Navy at age 18 and proudly served in WWII, surviving the sinking of the USS Strong. Don parlayed his wartime experience with ships’ electrical systems into a post-war career: 36 years in power production at Northern States Power.

Donald was married to Carol (Cowen), the beautiful red-headed nurse whom he met while convalescing from back surgery, for 66 years. He is survived by her and their six children – Fred, John (Marilyn Whitney), Mary (Lance) Boettcher, Karl (Camilla Hoffman), Janet (Terry) Weld, and Nancy (Lawrence Anderson) – and their families, including 15 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Family was everything to Don; we all knew his extraordinary love and appreciation.

Don was optimistic and endlessly curious. He welcomed challenges and was rarely rattled: the bigger the crisis, the louder his cheerful whistle. He was a traveler, gardener, dam tender, wood worker, recycler, engaged citizen, welcoming host, and quirky inventor. Don invented a gum-making light, a hotdog-making cannon, a piggy bank that showed lake levels, and a security system rigged with light-up movie cutouts. He liked playing bridge, singing to babies, and giving buttered toast to grateful dogs and disliked white rice, pretentiousness, and being told what to do. Don was deeply concerned about the state of the world and its resources and thought we would all be better off with fewer lawyers, more nuclear energy, and Joe Biden as president.

Don’s family wishes to thank the outstanding staff at Agrace Hospice who kept us informed and afloat. You are all exceptional.

Services with a military tribute will be at Bethany United Methodist Church, 3910 Mineral Point Rd, Madison, on Saturday, June 17, at 11 a.m. Visitation prior; lunch afterwards.

Please direct memorials to The Playing Field early education program ( or Agrace Hospice (

We will miss you, dear DW. Be proud of your life well lived.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison