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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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June 15, 2019

5/23/2019 7:30:00 AM
Donald "Don" Anklam

Donald "Don" Anklam, age 93, a life-long resident of Rhinelander, died Sunday, May 12 at Heartwood Senior Living, in Appleton, surrounded by family. Don was born in Rhinelander on Nov. 12, 1925 to Ronald and Esther Anklam.

Don attended St. Mary's Elementary School and Rhinelander High School. After graduation, he enlisted in the Army and served two years in the European and Pacific theatres of World War II. He spoke about the destruction he witnessed in post-war Germany and never approved of movies that he thought glorified or otherwise profited from war. In the Pacific, he was part of the U.S. force that was slated to invade the Japanese mainland but was spared by the atomic bomb and the ending of the war.

After the war, Don attended UW-Madison, graduated with his degree in Accounting and married his high school sweetheart Helen Alexander in 1952. They lived in Madison for a time, but when an opportunity to move back home to Rhinelander came up, he accepted a position as an accountant for the Rhinelander Telephone Company. Don spent the rest of his career at the Telephone Company, becoming General Manager and eventually CEO and President of the Board of Directors. He was active in the Independent Telephone Association and served two terms as Association president. In 2012, he was inducted into the Wisconsin State Association Hall of Fame.

He was devoted to his hometown and volunteered for many community organizations. Don was active in St. Mary's Church, Knights of Columbus, the Library Foundation, the Rhinelander Historical Society, the Rotary Club, and Meals on Wheels. The Rotary Club's annual Christmas Party was a cherished highlight for his children.

Don was also an avid outdoorsman. He loved to pick blueberries and enjoy the homemade blueberry pies that Helen would make. Don also loved to hunt and fish. He made trips to Canada and the Boundary Waters to fish and canoe with family and friends. Later in life, he became a waterfall buff and did many trips to visit North Country waterfalls. He also maintained a home garden. His family always looked forward to his homegrown tomatoes and other vegetables. Naturally, he was also a Packers fan. A favorite memory was one summer in the 1930's, when the Packers moved their practice to the site of the old Rhinelander High School. He described seeing the long-ago Packer greats as they practiced for the coming season.

Don is survived by his three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Tom and his wife Lisa (Gotchy) live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their two children Alex and Hayley both live in Chicago. Jim and his wife Jane (Hansen) live in Superior. They have two children, Anna lives in Milwaukee and Andrew lives in Houghton, Mich. Mary Toppins and her husband John live in Greenville. They have two children, Jesse and his wife Sara live in Oshkosh, with their children, Ethan and Henry. Lyndsey Schierl and her husband Joe live in Wrightstown, with their two children, Lauren and Emilie. Don was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Helen; daughter, Judi Anklam Devereux, and sister Dolores Anklam.

Don's family would like to thank Heartwood Homes Senior Living in Appleton and AseraCare Hospice for their compassionate care of Don in his final months.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 30, 2019 at Nativity of Our Lord Parish, 125 E. King Street, Rhinelander. Father Mike Tupa will be officiating. Visitation will be held at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services on Thursday. Inurnment will be at Nativity of Our Lord Parish Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund is being established in Don's name and contributions may be directed to his family. Online condolences may be made at

Don certainly lived a full life. His successes in business and his volunteerism will leave a lasting impression on his community. He was a fine father and friend and will be remembered and missed by all.

Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414 / is assisting the Anklam family with arrangements.

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Article comment by: David Cahak

Rest in Peace Don.

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