Don was born in a small house between Pesotum and Tuscola Illinois on October 13, 1927. He was the third child of Frank Schweighart and Caroline (Kleiss) Schweighart. He attended local schools and graduated from Tolono high school in 1945. Immediately after graduation he enlisted in the Navy. He had made a deal with his mother that he would graduate before enlisting and she would sign off on his enlistment since he was not yet 18. Don was assigned to the USS Dayton. He was working toward the rank of quartermaster when World War II ended and he was honorably discharged. One of his most memorable moments was being at the wheel as his ship cruised down the Hudson River after the war had ended.
Don entered the plumbing trade as an apprentice after his discharge from the Navy. He married Avie (Lois) Taylor on September 1, 1947. They had two daughters, Sandra and Linda. Don and Avie had 67 years together before she passed away in 2016. They were the best parents anyone could want.
Don was an instructor in the apprentice program for Local 149 and enjoyed teaching and the relationships he developed with his students—many of whom kept in touch with him. He retired from the University of Illinois in 1989 as foreman of the Plumbing shop in the Physical Plant. He and Avie enjoyed their retirement, spending time in Florida during the winter months. And both of them loved their grandchildren and great-grandchildren dearly.
Don died on November 19, 2020 (his mother’s birthday) of COVID related complications. He leaves behind his daughters, Sandy Goss Lucas and Linda Hughes, and his sons-in-law Dave Lucas and Sam Hughes. He leaves his grandchildren Stephanie (Steve) Pittman, Matthew (Kali Jacobs) Goss, Natalie (Justin) Heath and Whitney Tulin. He was beloved Papa Don to his great-grandchildren, Tristan Heath, Samantha Heath, Abby Pittman, Zach Pittman and Macie Tulin. And to his “honorary” great-grandchildren, Mira, Avani and Nidhi Lucas and Ethan and Will Nakashima.
Don was preceded in death by his wife, his brothers, Harold and Pete Schweighart, and his son-in-law Steve Goss. He leaves behind his brother Bruce Schweighart and sisters Edith Reinhart, Pat Cahill and Carol Proudfit. In addition, he leaves sisters-in-law and many nephews and nieces who were an important part of his life.
Due to the current COVID situation and the quarantining of his immediate family, there will be a private mass at St. Matthews Catholic church and interment in Woodlawn Cemetery. There will be a celebration of his life later this summer. The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff at Windsor Court who took care of Don during many difficult times. Don regarded them as part of his extended family.
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