Donald ‘Don’ Mullikin
Donald “Don” Mullikin, 95, of Onalaska, WI, died Friday October 29, 2021, from complications related to COVID-19 at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.
Don was born on July 13, 1926, to Amon and Florence (Taft) Mullikin in Barnum, WI, weighing only 3 pounds. He graduated from high school at age 16, after having to begin school at age 4, to give the one-room school house he attended a fourth student. At age 18, Don enlisted with the U.S. Army during World War II, and was honorably discharged in 1946. At their induction physicals, Don met lifelong friend, James Mindham. During a leave from the Army, Don and Jim decided to take a trip to Canada, where Don met the love of his life, Vivian Armstrong. Vivian happened to be filling in for a friend at the local bowling alley, when Don and Jim came in just prior to closing time. The three took turns bowling and setting pins. After a two-year courtship of letters and visits, Don and Vivian were married on September 4, 1950, at English Lutheran Church in La Crosse. They lived in Onalaska most of their 71 years of marriage.
Don’s first job in the La Crosse area was repairing Singer Sewing Machines at Sears, Roebuck and Co. He later became a payroll supervisor for Gateway Transportation until 1979, when they were purchased by Maislin Trucking. In 1981, as Maislin was closing their business in La Crosse, Don became an insurance agent for National Mutual Benefit (now known as Better Life) out of Madison, WI. While always holding a full-time job, he also sold insurance part-time, as an independent agent, owning his own agency for about 39 years.
In addition to working full- and part-time jobs, Don kept a magnificent 2-acre garden and an impeccable yard (winning Onalaska Lions Club “Yard of the Week”). He loved family, his country, all children, building, and woodworking. He was a scoutmaster and a pack leader with the Boy Scouts of America for several years, and was also very involved with the La Crosse Fraternal Branch of National Mutual Benefit (now Better Life), for several years. Anyone who met Don instantly liked him. He had a big heart, wore a big smile, was very friendly, and had a wonderful sense of wit and humor. He was a very loving, kind, caring, and helpful husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, and friend. In his children’s words, “he was the best dad ever”.
Don is survived by his three children: Donna Wavra and Rhonda (Patrick) Lawrence, both of Onalaska, and Donald “Kevin” (Sandra) Mullikin of Colorado Springs, CO; six grandchildren: Cheree (Aaron) Tiry of Altoona, WI, Gretchen Bautista, Molly (Brian) Baker, Sarah (Lucas) Halberg, all of Onalaska, Katie (Mark) Erickson of Viroqua, WI, and Donald K. (fiancee Samantha) Mullikin, Jr. of Austin, Texas; eight great grandchildren: Celsey (Tyler) Soine of Coon Rapids, MN, Mia, Kai, and Noa Bautista, Bradley and Annabelle Baker, and Sylvia and Theodore Erickson; and one great-great granddaughter, Hayden Soine.
Don is also survived by his brother, Warren “Bud” Mullikin of La Crosse, a sister-in-law, Marguerite Mullikin, of Madison, and several beloved nieces and nephews.
Preceding Don in his death were his parents; his wife, Vivian, by only 39 days; son-in-law, Robert Wavra Jr., his brother, Amon Mullikin; sister-in-law, Virginia Mullikin; and one great niece, Emily Cliff.
Private family services will be held, with Pastor Jason Stanton (of First Lutheran Church, Onalaska) officiating at Dickinson Family Funeral Home of Onalaska, with burial at the Onalaska Cemetery. The family requests that all in attendance wear masks.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Gateway Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.dickinsonfuneralhomes.com
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