The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Donald Walter Mildren


IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Donald Walter Mildren, 89, of Lake Road, Ironwood Township, passed on to be with his loving Savior, Jesus Christ, on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at his home with his loving family.

Donald was born July 19, 1924, in Ironwood, to John and Nora (Strom) Mildren. He was raised in the faith of the Wesley United Methodist Church.

Growing up, Don could be found with his family, their dog Nibbers, and his friends playing baseball (which his dad umpired), ski jumping in the caves or pitching horseshoes. A certified figure skating coach, he could be found most winter days at the Colonial and/or the Pat O’Donnell Civic Center skating or helping someone learn to skate.

He graduated from Luther L. Wright High School with the class of 1942. Prior to his military enlistment, he attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee for one year, and later in life attended Gogebic Community College for a year.

Don served in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the submarine tender U.S.S. Proteus in the South Pacific, and was honorably discharged in 1946. On Jan. 23, 1950, he married his beloved wife, Florence Irene Hautala. They were married at the Wesley United Methodist Church parsonage by the Rev. Gonser, and were longtime members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironwood. Together, they optimistically, enthusiastically, entrepreneurally shared their life of faith together, and were blessed with eight children.

Don worked as a surveyor for Lake Superior District Power Co., was employed at White Pine Copper Co., and together with Irene, owned and operated Mildren’s Clothing and the Crystal Springs Dairy Store in Hurley, Wis. He was a member of Ironwood American Legion Post 5 and former member of the Legion Glee Club and Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps.

He is survived by his wife, Florence Irene Hautala Mildren, of Ironwood Township; two sons and their wives, James Roy (Ellen) Mildren, Ironwood, and Ronald Ross (Lisa) Mildren, Land O’Lakes, Wis., six daughters, Marilyn Patrice Mildren, Ironwood, Caroline Beth Bjorkquist, Elbert, Colo., Nancy Ellen Mildren, Corvallis, Ore., Sarah Jane Nurmesviita, Anoka, Minn., Lois Ann Mildren, Hurley, and Lisa Kay Mildren, Ironwood; grandchildren, Matthew (Lindsey) Smith, Kahn Gorlewski, Mikayla Pivert, Alec Mildren, Alisha (Patrick) Tramble, Johan Bjorkquist, Angelica Bjorkquist, Kara Bjorkquist, Christopher Sparpanic, Nathanael (Renee) Sparpanic, Jason Mildren, Jill Mildren and Judy Mildren; great-grandchildren, Madison Mildren, Natalie Sparpanic, Elijah Sparpanic, Riley Sparpanic, Izzac Spolarich, Tae Tramble and Dominic Mildren; a sister-in-law, Geraldine Hautala, Ironwood; numerous nieces and nephews; and the family dog, Boo Boo.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, John Mildren and Nora Strom Mildren; his beloved grandmother, Tina Strom; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Hilma Johanna and Henry Nestor Hautala; a brother, Orlo Mildren, and his wife, Betty Mildren; brothers-in-law and their wives, Arnold (Betty) Hautala, Raymond (Lempi) Hautala, Jack (Shirley) Hautala, and brother-in-law, Irwin Hautala.

Don’s praise and healing service will be on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 2 p.m., at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 100 W. Midland Ave., in Ironwood, with the Rev. Kurt Kovanen officiating.

A flag presentation ceremony will be accorded by representatives of the Ironwood American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard, with refreshments to follow in the church fellowship hall.

Private committal and interment will be in Sunset Acres Cemetery, Ironwood Township.

Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home Inc., Ironwood, where condolences may be expressed online at


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