“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” Don Bartz loved chocolate covered nuts. M&M peanuts were his favorite. I guess you could say Don was like a chocolate covered nut. Sweet on the outside and fun nut on the inside.
Donald Otto Bartz of Brookfield, WI passed away on April Fools Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 at the age of 67. Don is lovingly remembered by his cherished wife Debbie; loving children, son, Zach (Maryann); daughters Beth (Brent), Heidi (Doug), Lisa, Gretchen and Rachel who preceded him in death. Don is also survived by his 10 grandchildren (in age order): Elijah, Samuel, Allison, Andrew, Connor, Evan, Daniel, Kylie, Grant, and Kaiden. Don is also survived by his 3 siblings, sisters, Irene (Norman) and Barbara (Jack); brother, Lawrence (JoAnn). Don was born on January 15, 1951 in Milwaukee and was a charismatic, kind hearted and larger than life person who filled a room with his grand presence. He had a twinkle in his eye and with a heart of gold, he will be remembered as a friend to everyone he encountered.
Married to his wife Debbie whom he met at UW-Whitewater in “witchcraft class” which they later found out that the class was actually regarding the study of ancient cultures. They were married for 43 years. Together, they carried on the legacy of Bartz’s which was founded in 1947 by his father Otto Bartz where Don worked as a boy. Bartz’s has been family owned and operated for 71 years and currently has one store in Menomonee Falls, WI and an online shopping website (ebartz.com).
Don was always trying to help people. If you were struggling or needed a job; he would find a job for you to help you out and he also employed those with special needs.
Don was a collector of many odds and ends, enjoyed going to many Brewers games and loved birds and trees. Don loved nature and trees so much that he even modified the architectural building plans at his Bartz’s party store location in Menomonee Falls to save some large mature trees on the lot. “He was very protective of those trees even making sure no on damaged the roots by driving over them with building machinery” his wife, Debbie said.
Don loved traveling and exploring often taking road trips to places like the Smoky Mountains, Mammoth caves, Holland Michigan tulip festival, Disney World the great beanie baby adventure. He would pile us all into the “demolition van” and take us on our next adventure. We would go out in one of his classic cars to get ice cream and be afraid to give him a “lick” because he would easily devour our ice cream with one taste.
Don loved the Brewers and was a season ticket holder for many years. Don and his staff even used to do balloon releases on opening day at County Stadium for the Milwaukee Brewers. As a season ticket holder at Miller Park, Don would go on what everyone called the “Don tour” visiting everyone and he seemed to know everyone in the stadium from customer service, designated driver booth, ushers, and more. He would often carry in food and share with everyone on the way in. Zach (his son) was even nicknamed the “chicken boy” because he was the one that would carry in Don’s fried chicken bucket.
Many people knew Don from all around Milwaukee. No matter what your job or profession, he got to know you often giving out fun nicknames for you. I think it’s safe to say whether you were a mechanic, waitress, cashier, banker, or some other profession; if you knew Don, he would make you smile. Often signing off on receipts by spelling his name to the Mickey Mouse song… D-O-N-A-L-D, B-A-R-T-Z.
Visitation will be held Friday, April 6th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Becker Ritter Funeral Home, Brookfield. A second visitation will be held on Saturday, April 7th from 10:00 am until the 11:00 am Funeral Service at the Becker Ritter Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Wisconsin Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Don’s name to Fairview South, 3525 Bermuda Boulevard, Brookfield, WI 53045.