Donald Walter Kautzky of Des Moines


Donald Walter Kautzky, 91, of Des Moines passed away peacefully Nov. 13, 2022.

Donald was born May 16, 1931, in Perry, Iowa, to Edward and Bernice Kautzky.

He attended the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs and graduated in 1951.

After graduation Donald fell in love with Marlene (Burger) Kautzky, and they married Feb. 27, 1960. They had three daughters and one son.

Donald was a farmer in Perry and Waverly. They sold their farms and moved to Cedar Falls in 1968, where he was then employed by Wendall Lockard Construction as a finish carpenter, retiring in 1993.

He also ran businesses in upholstery and cabinet making in which he worked with his wife, and they employed many Deaf people. Don had a love and talent for wood working, and he and Marlene would work on crafts and projects together, making signature items that many people enjoy today.

He was proud of being Deaf and provided leadership to the Iowa Association for the Deaf as treasurer (10 years) and the Cedarloo Association for the Deaf. He and his wife were honored by being inducted into the Iowa School for the Deaf Hall of Fame and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

Donald’s number one love was his family. He enjoyed attending sporting events of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In recent years he found great solitude relaxing on the dock at Lake Viking with his family and watching the kids play around him.

He had a sweet and funny sense of humor. His gentle presence had a profound effect on everyone who knew him. He led his life according to strong family values and devout spirituality. He was a member of St Catherine’s of Siena Catholic Church in Des Moines.

Donald was also an Iowa Hawkeye, Chicago Bears and New York Yankees fan.

He is survived by his wife, Marlene; his three daughters, Diana Kautzky of Clive, Debbie (Nick) Ditolla of West Des Moines and Dawn (Chris) Wolfgram of Kansas City, Missouri; five grandchildren, Bo (Mary), Chelsea (Lonnie), Daniel (Amanda), Peyton (AJ) and Quinn; six great-grandchildren, Dax, Dean, Parker, Day, Noah and Alayna.

In death Don is reunited with his son, Dale Edward; his parents, Edward and Bernice; and his siblings, Edward, Francis and Louise.

A visitation will be held Friday, Nov. 18 at the Merle Hay Funeral Home from 4-6 p.m. Funeral service will be held Saturday, Nov. 19 at St. Catherine of Siena at 10 a.m., with a luncheon reception to follow at the church. Donald will be laid to rest at Chapel Hill Gardens at Merle Hay Funeral Home.

Memorials may be directed in the name of Donald Kautzky to WesleyLife Hospice or the Iowa Association for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, IA.


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