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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Editor’s note: The Tomahawk community lost a special person Thanksgiving Day with the death of Don Lintereur. Because he touched so many people in so many different ways, we asked people from different walks of life to share their memories of him. We hope they bring a smile to your face (like Don always seemed to have, along with a twinkle in his eye). Look for his full obituary on Page 5 of the Nov. 27, 2012, Tomahawk Leader and add your own remembrances here. -Kathy Tobin


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:57 pm 
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-Tom Colstad
Tomahawk Leader Sports Editor and Former Tomahawk High School Teacher

Tomahawk lost a true treasure Thursday with the passing of Don Lintereur. Don was a Renaissance man who knew much about almost any topic, especially with respect to history and music. He was a great teacher, not only in the classroom but also in the way that he faced life. Many people are aware that Don battled cancer for several years and still maintained a strenuous regimen of physical activity. He was an enabler who got up early to open the weight room at the Tomahawk Schools complex by 5 a.m. each day so others might benefit from physical exercise.

My fondest memories of Don are from my early days in Tomahawk. I came to teach high school science in 1973 and worked side-by-side with Don until he retired in 1988. In those days, Don was both a surrogate father and wonderful friend to me. He helped me learn the ropes of teaching teenagers and raising a family of my own, as well. He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He amused me with more “Norwegian” jokes (my heritage) than one could shake a stick at and told them with an accent that made the jokes even funnier. Don made several wooden toys for my boys, including trucks, airplanes and whistles. They were thrilled with the treasures.

Don always had a “never give up attitude” that he shared with me and my wife, Sara, as she too, battles cancer.

I am thankful that I knew Don Lintereur and that he was my friend.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:58 pm 
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-John Zuelsdorf
Tomahawk High School Teacher, Cross Country and Track Coach, Pow Wow Days 5K/10K Race Organizer

Don really didn't take up running until later in life. He ran in the military in his early days, but didn't become a 'motivational and inspirational' running advocate for the community until the early 80's. He coached CC for a year, the year I moved to Tomahawk (I volunteered/assisted by writing workouts and showing up the important days to push the top runner – Scott Steuernagel – as Don had no background in coaching or running cross country)... When Don finished his 1 year coaching stint that fall he was hooked on wellness … from around that time, he started opening the weight room early in the mornings (4:30ish), started promoting lifting and wellness by running (usually 5-10 miles per weekday on the indoor track-crazy!)...He also started racing 5K and 10K area runs and in the 90's started to look for longer challenges … marathons and half-marathons … all through the 80's and 90's he really promoted running to many community members that were looking to 'get in shape.’ One group that developed out of that was TARA (Tomahawk Area Runners Association) with Frank Hinterleitner, Teri Theiler, Kummerfeldts, etc. as founding members. The group trained together, traveled to races together and started to grow and attract other community members into their fold. Don was the cornerstone and foundation of this group, promoting certain races, training plans and lifting routines. How could one not help but be motivated by a man 'at his age' with his drive and determination and passion for a sport. Early on Don was running with a target on his back as many of the TARA members were training to race with him. Don frequently sat atop his age group when awards were handed out at races. He was soft-spoken and a true advocate for running and the wellness that goes hand-in-hand with it. Along with Gordy Erickson, he was one of Tomahawk's true “ambassadors” for both young and older runners in the community.

He made several unique musical instruments maintaining contact with many elementary age children with his classroom presentations and most middle level and high school age athletes saw him as a role model with his early morning fitness commitment to the weight room and indoor track. Don will be remembered most for promoting the camaraderie and the stories that he told before, during and after his workouts with his various training partners. He willingly shared his life experiences with others and had an inviting personality that attracted others. Even through the loss of his best friend, Miriam (his wife) and the numerous health issues that he went through in the last decade, Don maintained (as best he could) a positive outlook on life. It was his commitment to his wellness that made him a motivational miracle, when doctors told him that any day after the 4th of July is a gift from above. Over 4 months later, it was fitting for Don to pass on Thanksgiving. A true inspirational gift that we all will miss!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:58 pm 
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-Jim Campbell
Co-Founder of the Never Forgotten Honor Flight and Tomahawk High School 1965 graduate

Mr. Lintereur was my Biology teacher in high school. Funny thing is I didn’t recognize him until after his Honor Flight while attending the Tomahawk Middle School Honor Flight donation. I had mentioned that the last time I was on this stage (THS auditorium) I was receiving my high school diploma. Mr. Lintereur asked me what year that was, and I responded 1965 … he said, “I taught biology then.” The big light bulb went on … and I said, “that's why you look familiar … you were my Biology teacher!” We both got a chuckle out of the irony! Another irony is I went on to graduate from UWSP with a Biology degree!

I was very fortunate to have many excellent high school teachers across all subject area, and each, in their own way, certainly influenced my decision in choosing a college course of study. The greater affect these teachers, like Mr. Lintereur, had on me, was their approach to teaching and life in general – their exuberance, passion, positive and optimistic outlook on life. These characteristics transcended college course/degree choices. These are the characteristics that literally change your life and affect the course your life takes!

(Don went on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in October, 2011. On word that it was Don’s wish to give memorials to the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.) All of us involved with the Never Forgotten Honor Flight are deeply humbled every time a family chooses to use their loved ones’ honorariums to fund future NFHF flights. All of these families have a couple of things in common: 1. The entire family has been emotionally touched by the Honor Flight experience 2. The Honored Veteran, many times, has told us it was the best trip of his/her life – truly a Trip of a Lifetime 3. The Veteran and the family are making the donation to the NFHF, so other veterans and their families can enjoy the same experience.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:59 pm 
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-Mary Dunn
Tomahawk Public Library Director

Don will be deeply missed at the Tomahawk Public Library. Don and his wife Miriam were one of the strong voices behind the implementation of the new library building project in 1994. Don crafted many special wood projects for our Story Times that were enjoyed by many children. Don crafted the original Puppet Theater and dollhouses that children and adults played with for many, many years. Don’s handcrafted musical instruments were on display at the library and he was always eager to create new lasting displays, dinosaurs and planets for the children’s enjoyment. The Tomahawk Library Community also enjoyed Don and Miriam’s musical talents: they entertained many patrons with special musical programs and the famous “Music by the Campfire.” One of Don’s reading interests was the Civil War Era. His expertise and interest in the Civil War generated the creation of the Civil War Roundtable Discussion Group that meets twice a month at the library. Don’s love of history and lively discussions will never be forgotten.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:59 pm 
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-Bonnie Kahn
Tomahawk School District Physical Education Teacher, Tomahawk Special Olympics Local and World Games Coach

Don used to show up at Mr. Wilson and my Kindergarten classes before he had a big race. He would talk to the kids about what he was doing and how important it was to stay healthy, but he would tell them what he really needed was for them to wish him good luck and for them to promise him that they would do whatever they could do in PE class and at home to be as healthy as they could be … then off he would go. And then he would come back after the race with a medal and some lucky Kindergartner would get the medal (not sure how he chose the right one) but he did. Medals didn't mean a thing to him … but being healthy did and whatever way he could promote that he would.

Which brings us to Don's home away from home – the weight room and track. Don lived in the weight room. He was always there. Who else would willingly open it up at 4:30 a.m. but Don! He developed quite a following of the "older generation" up there … always encouraging them in his gentle way that he had. But what was even more remarkable is that Don could cross any generational line … he had such a good rapport with the younger students up there as well. … Don was a role model for anyone up there. I don't even think he realized it at the time – but he was.

Don also tried to start a weight training program with some of the high school Special Ed. students. …. One day he asked if he thought my athletes would be interested in trying out his and Miriam's tandem trike. I quickly agreed and we set up a time for him to come to one of our between season practices and show us how it worked. I don't know how many laps he did around the track outside shuttling one athlete or another … but always the teacher Don insisted that we try riding the front … so we did. I am happy to say it wasn't a year or two later that we were able to purchase two tandem trikes for the Special Ed. Dept and they are used as often as possible to this day. And not only have all the paraprofessionals mastered riding the front … some of the Special Needs students have as well. Had Don not come up with sharing this idea I don't think we would have ever bought the bikes. …
Don took a great interest in all that I did with Special Olympics and he loved hearing about the countries that I visited – some he had been to as well during his years of service and we could swap stories. If it meant we didn't get the work out in that either of us had planned, well so be it. I would give anything to be able to swap a few more stories with Don tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:00 pm 
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-Bob Skubal
Retired Tomahawk Middle School Teacher, Tomahawk Wrestling Team Coach

Don Lintereur was one in a million. He had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds and hundreds of people in our community. He lead by example in the weight room, running, working with musical instruments, working at the library and school with our students and community members. He was upbeat in whatever he took part in. He truly enjoyed visiting with people and encouraging them to tap into their inner strengths to make both physical and mental improvements in their personal lives.
His motivation inspired many to do things that they did not think were possible.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:01 pm 
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-Tina Vannatter
Former Student, Music Fan Who Followed His Library Campfire Songs

Don Lintereur’s passing leaves a void in our community some may never grasp. My first memories of Mr. Lintereur, the Biology teacher, were as an eager freshman. I remember him leading a large group of high school students in dissecting for the first time. Some were eager to try, most were rather indifferent, but a few were genuinely mortified. Mr. Lintereur could see the different points of view and encouraged, motivated, and cajoled each in turn. I’m not saying everyone enjoyed the experience, but everyone learned. I realize, Tomahawk natives already know many stories of his skill in the art of teaching. Fellow teachers even describe him as the one everyone went to with questions. If on a rare occasion, Don didn’t know the answer, you could expect him to turn up within a day or two with the answer and another question or two. He never stopped enjoying the challenge of learning.
But I was asked to write about another side of Don … Don Lintereur artist and historical musician. Don enjoyed music and realized the importance of music in our history as well as music in education and daily life. He taught Biology by day, but evenings and weekends Don replicated musical instruments from Medieval times. He then gave of his own time to instruct students in the playing of those instruments. My sisters, Cory and Mary, had the great fortune to be two of those students. The group was known simply as the Renaissance Group, around Tomahawk High. They learned to play the lute, the cittern, the mandora, the lyra viol, the quinton, the rebec, various recorders and the dulcimer. The group was even written up in the Tomahawk Leader in the mid-80’s (Tues. May 19, 1987).

Much later, Don began leading folk songs around the campfire circle, below the Tomahawk Library, at least once a month during the summers. His lovely wife, Miriam, sang along and encouraged all in the group to join in. They sang familiar tunes like “Home on the Range” and “Oh, Suzanna.” They also sang older, less well-known songs like “The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night” and “Dear Little Dolly.” I remember being a young mom, recently moved back to Tomahawk, bringing my two very young children to campfire songs for the first time and being delighted that Don remembered me. He sang the folk songs and played his bass ukelele. Every soul seated on logs around the campfire that night (and each subsequent campfire night we attended) laughed and sang and left with contented smiles on their faces. After roasted marshmallows, every child old enough was taught how to get water from the river to douse the fire. Once again Don touched lives with music, history, and the outdoors. We attended whenever we were able. Sadly, Don needed to move on to other things before my little ones were old enough to remember much of those times. So in a few years, I and an accompanist friend, Bob Seitz, asked his advice and took over Campfire Songs for several summers. Don visited a couple times and enjoyed those campfire songs all over again, adding to the bank of great memories I enjoy to this day of a great friend and mentor.
No one leads Campfire Songs at the library any more, but every camping trip I go on with my almost grown children we sing those songs around our campfire and I quietly think of Don.

Don Lintereur will be missed by those whose lives he touched, but because of those that learned from him, many more souls will find joy in fresh knowledge, in music and in our community.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Scott Swenty
Tomahawk High School Principal

Even though Don retired from teaching at THS in 1988, he never stopped being a part of the educational community. He remained very active throughout the School District speaking in classes, participating in elementary programs and opening our fitness center in the morning. He was especially famous for recruiting the young and old to join his wellness program. He had great joy in promoting Plato’s sound mind in a sound body philosophy. He continually encouraged students to become physically fit and expand their literacy repertoire. He was the first and only person I ever knew who would talk about his boxing experiences, the pride he had in serving our country, and quoting poetry all in the middle of a bench press.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:06 pm 
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Andy Peissig Family
Weight Room Crew

Don was Mr. Consistent when it came to opening the weight room in the mornings and that is how I was fortunate enough to meet this great man. One morning in the weight room my children also got to meet him. About a week later, he came to the weight room with some wooden toys that he had made just for them. He treated my children like they were his own grandchildren after only meeting them once, and I think that this is how he looked at all students here at Tomahawk School District. He was always providing opportunities for them, whether it was opening the weight room or encouraging them to do things they didn’t think they could do. Tomahawk has been very blessed to have Don do so many great things for us. Thank you Don and we will miss you.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:53 pm 
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Mr. Lintereur was an awesome neighbor to have! He would always stop and talk to my sister and I when he saw us. It's AMAZING how for many years he ran 5K's. He will be deeply missed and forever in our hearts as a teacher, coach, athlete, neighbor, and a super nice person!


-Emily R.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:31 am 
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So sad to hear about Mr. Lintereur--former student of Tomahawk.
Hi Mr. Zuelsdorf, you are a great teacher too. You were my Trig teacher. I didn't fare so well in math, but I remembered enough to help one of my kids in Trig. Great job!

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