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Don Erwin Rathgeber was born to Louie Rathgeber and Mary (nee Temple) on the family farm near Lorlie, SK; he was the second of three children. Don went to school in Goodeve, SK. He farmed with his parents, drove gravel trucks and loaders at the gravel pit, ran a bobcat business, was a partner in the Turbo gas station and rental centre and owned and operated a carwash, all while working at CN as a Carman for 34.5 years (1960-1995).
Don married Betty Rathgeber (nee Kraushaar) September 23, 1963. They had two children, Ralph and Lewis. Don loved sports and gained his ever-lasting nickname, “Coach”, for obvious reasons.
Don married Anne (nee Stevenson) July 3, 1982. They spent 25 years together, and they were very involved with the Melville Millionaires, including keeping billets for more than 14 years. During this time, he was president of the Melville Millionaires; during his last year, they made it to the finals and lost in game seven of the final round. Don was also on the Melville Regional Park Board, which had him overlooking park and golf course operations. He was also involved with Melville Slow Pitch.
Don enjoyed refereeing, coaching hockey, and umping ball. He was involved with the Fenwood Flyers. He sat on the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association as a Zone 4 representative. He was the chairperson of senior hockey. He also served as Minor Hockey president and sat on the pickle ball board for Zone 4 for the winter games. Later Don was involved with the 55-plus slow-pitch team. Many will remember him driving his team to games and tournaments in his motorhome. In retirement Don continued to play slow-pitch, curling, pickleball, and was almost always at a hockey rink during the winter, whether it was watching local minor hockey, giving the refs his advice during said games, watching the Mils play, or driving around to many other towns to watch various other hockey games. Don held Saskatchewan Roughrider season tickets and was an avid fan. In his spare time, he enjoyed going out to Lewis and Tarra’s place (five to seven days a week) where he helped build the bison ranch Tarra and Lewis ran. Don was also known to enjoy many nights of cards and dancing.
Don loved his family and welcomed Ralph’s wife Laverne (Lang) and Ralph’s children Devin and Samantha (their mother Wanda) and Lewis’ wife Tarra (Herperger) and their children Jesse and Santana into the family. He brought a third family into the mix when he dated Shirley Tataryn (nee Rokosh).
Don loved to fish; he and Ralph went on many fishing trips together. Later, he drove school bus part-time so he could drive Jesse and Santana’s school bus.
Don enjoyed the lake; he had a trailer at Melville Beach where many friends and families enjoyed good times. Later at Canora Beach at Lewis, Tarra, Jesse and Santana’s cabin, he enjoyed water skiing and fishing with the grandkids. He enjoyed spending time with the family, especially the grandchildren, playing cards and going for ice cream with them, not to mention attending all their activities.
Over the years, Don has touched many people, united three different families through two marriages and one long relationship. The countless time he gave volunteering will never be forgotten by many people and organizations.
Unfortunately, Don’s diabetes started to get the best of him, which put him in dialysis three days a week, leading to his move to the Yorkton Care Home. Don celebrated his 82nd birthday on July 28th with family and friends and said he really enjoyed himself. In his final days, he said he was tired and was ready to go. He passed away peacefully at the Yorkton Regional Hospital on August 18, 2023.
Don was predeceased by his parents, Louie and Mary Rathgeber; his wives, Betty (nee Kraushaar) and Anne (nee Stevenson); his brother, Ralph; his sister, Eileen Piller and brother-in-law Lloyd Piller; and his partner, Shirley Tataryn. He is survived by his sons, Ralph (Laverne) and his children Devin and Samantha (their mother Wanda); Lewis (Tarra) and their children Jesse and Santana; nieces and nephews, Cindy (Dennis) Dixon, Cathy Piller, Ken (Kathy) Piller, Kim Piller and all of their families; brothers-in-law Richard (Louise) Kraushaar, Clifford (Doreen) Kraushaar, Brian (Winnie) Kraushaar, Brian (Gloria) Stevenson, Ron Stevenson, and Allan (Eola) Stevenson and all of their families. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.