December 22, 1939 - January 24, 2020

 

Heaven gained one of the Chicago Bears’ most ardent fans when Donald John Newman died peacefully in his sleep Friday morning, Jan. 24, 2020, at his home in Sauk Rapids. He had recently celebrated his 80th birthday with his entire family.

Don, called “Poppy” by many after the birth of his first granddaughter 24 years ago, was born Dec. 22, 1939, in Chicago, where he attended Resurrection Catholic Grammar School and graduated from St. Mel High School in 1957. He played football and earned a degree in political science from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, in 1961. Don cherished the friendships he made throughout his childhood and teenage years, and enjoyed staying connected to his life as a Knight and a buzzing Bee. The “Chicago Crowd” was his core.

Don’s career in marketing and management included working at Dun & Bradstreet in Davenport, 3M Company in Davenport and Maplewood, Bell & Howell Company in Chicago, Bankers Systems Inc. in St. Cloud and General Pump Companies in Mendota Heights. He ended his career as Chief Operating Officer at Nahan Printing Inc., in St. Cloud, retiring in June 2006, saying that was the best job of his life. He was the ultimate professional, yet approachable by all because he truly cared about co-workers at all levels.

Don’s pride and joy was his family. He married Arlene Neustadt on April 4, 1964, in Chicago, and they had two daughters. Don’s business career took the family to live in Brussels, Belgium, from 1978-81, where Don enjoyed immersing his family in new cultures and traveling to as many European countries as possible. Don and Arlene loved the lifelong friends they made while living in Burnsville, and the cabin they owned for 28 years on Lake Bertha in Pequot Lakes and the friendships developed there.

A diehard Chicago Bears fan, Don loved watching football on Sundays. He never gave up on his team through the years and endured a lot of ribbing from his many Vikings fan friends. He also loved his 1964 Mercedes SL he owned for many years, appropriately named “Baby.” He and Arlene loved traveling together and with friends, especially on cruises and to casinos. His grandchildren will remember his love of Hot Tamales, peach rings and gummi bears, giving mustache tickles, and being a fierce gingerbread house builder.

Although Poppy’s body limited him physically, mentally he enjoyed staying current with technology, politics and the doings of his “harem” (his wife, two daughters and five granddaughters). He prioritized staying connected with family and friends, always having time to “just check in,” listen to a story or share the latest funny in his life. A proud and dignified gentleman, he was his family’s rock.

Don is survived by his wife of nearly 56 years, Arlene; his daughters, Nancy (David) Vogt, Brainerd, and Julie (Tim) Johnson, Englewood, Colorado; his grandchildren, Nicole Vogt (fiance Brady Feist), Pillager, Megan Vogt (boyfriend Danny Larsen), Sauk Rapids, Brad (Angie) Vogt, Owatonna, and Ellie, Tatum and Maya Johnson, Englewood; and two great-grandchildren, Jack Strom and Ellie Vogt, Owatonna.

He was preceded in death by an infant son, Michael, and many dear friends.

A memorial service will be held at a later date back home in Chicago with relatives and friends.