Cover photo for Donald Shontz's Obituary
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1934 Donald 2023

Donald Shontz

February 28, 1934 — May 11, 2023



Weslaco/Sterling, Illinois- Donald Duane Shontz, 89, passed away at his home on May 11th, 2023. Donald was born on February 28th, 1934, to Lawrence and Grace (Carl) Shontz in Sterling, Illinois. He and his sister, Marbry, were raised on a farm in Como, Illinois.


While attending Sterling Township High School, Donald was active in FFA (Future Farmers of America), lettered in football, and sang in the robed choir. After graduating in 1952, Donald attended Carthage College for one year, but after the unexpected death of his father, Donald had to return home to care for his mother and sister.


Donald married Ruth “Naomi” Book in 1959, and they started their own family. He went to work for Northwestern Steel & Wire (NWSW), where he eventually retired after a thirty-one-year career. After retirement, Donald worked as a custodian at St. John’s Lutheran Church for the next fourteen years. After his second retirement, in 1998, he and Naomi began traveling to Weslaco, Texas, during winter to escape the cold and snow. They eventually became permanent Texas residents.


Donald was a lifelong member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, where he sang in the choir and sponsored the Lutheran League Teen Youth Group. Donald had a great voice, he sang with the Rock River Barbershop Chorus for many years, but his passion

was quartet singing. Donald’s beautiful baritone voice was infamous. He sang solos for area church services, weddings, and funerals.


Donald was also a member of the Sterling Kiwanis Club, participated in their annual peanut sales, and assisted with the organization of Travelogues. In addition, he rang bells for the Salvation Army and volunteered at Headstart, where he played Santa Claus for several years.


Donald was also a great supporter of live theater, serving on the board of directors for Timberlake Playhouse (TLP) for over fifteen years. He also performed in several TLP productions, including Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, Damn Yankees, and Secret Garden.


Donald enjoyed antique tractor shows and assisting his friend with discing on a farm. In addition, he had a great love for the Mississippi River. Donald and Naomi visited Lock and Dam 13 to watch boats and barges being locked through. This passion led him to take many cruises on the Delta Queen paddlewheel riverboat.


Donald was also the ultimate Disney fan, making his first trip to Disney World Florida one month after its opening in November 1971. That visit was the first of many. After that, he and his daughter, Lori, would go on an annual pilgrimage to “The most magical place on earth.” Donald last visited Disney World in 2021.


Donald lived life to the fullest. He doted on his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Donald is preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Grace Shontz and sister, Marbry Shontz.


He is survived by his loving wife, Naomi Shontz; daughter, Lori Shontz, both of Weslaco,

son, Lawrence “Skip” Shontz (Cynthia) of Villa Rica, Georgia; grandchildren, Kennedy Shontz (Betsy Jaurigui Rios) of Bolingbrook, Illinois, Dana Shontz (Kris Bosi) of Belleville, Wisconsin, and great-grandchildren, Arthur, Leon, and Winifred Bosi.


A celebration of life will be held in Sterling, Illinois, later.



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