Former Walworth County Sheriff Donald Edward Ketchpaw passed away Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 at the age of 96. He was born in Lake Geneva, WI on December 13th, 1924 to Merrill D Ketchpaw and Helen J (Millar) Ketchpaw.
Donald graduated from Lake Geneva High School in 1942. After graduation, at age 17 he joined the USMC and served from 1942 until 1946. He achieved the rank of Tech Sergeant and earned 5 battle stars while serving our country in the South Pacific including Guam, the Philippines, and Sing Tao. After discharge from the Marines, he worked in Chicago for the War Assets Administration, Tucker Auto Mfg, and Bownen Dairy.
Donald's law enforcement career began in 1953 when he became a deputy for the Walworth County Sheriff's Department. He worked his way up the ranks to eventually be elected Sheriff in 1981. He served as Sheriff for 6 years and retired in 1987. Along the way, he held many part time jobs including Lake Geneva City Assessor, flagman at the Lake Geneva Raceway, and security/bouncer at Majestic Ski Hill when dances and concerts were held there.
Donald was united in marriage to Marilyn Evelyn Paulson July 14th, 1962 at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Park Row in Lake Geneva.
Donald is survived by 2 children from a previous marriage; Donna (Richard) Axmann of Clearfield, Utah; and John Ketchpaw of Anchorage, Alaska. 3 children with Marilyn; Michael Ketchpaw of Lake Geneva; Melissa (Michael) Reuss of Lake Geneva; and Marshal (Susan) Ketchpaw of East Troy, Wisconsin. Grandchildren; Donielle Baxter, Chad (Jennifer) Marten, and Matt (Melissa) Marten of Utah, Lindsey (Luke) Hansen of Lake Geneva, Kimberly (Taylor) Bass of Elkhorn, Abigail Ketchpaw of Lake Geneva, Ryan Reuss of Minnesota, and Brittany (Mac) Hyland of Florida. He is also survived by 14 great-grandchildren. Donald was preceded in death by his wife Marilyn, parents, brothers Robert, Warren, and Gerald, his daughter-in-law Mary Ann Clausen Ketchpaw(Michael), and 3 great grandchildren.
Donald enjoyed a full life. In addition to his law enforcement career, he and Marilyn owned and operated at one point 5 gift shops in Lake Geneva. He enjoyed his retirement with Marilyn traveling the country in their motor home before eventually having a winter home in Florida where they spent their winters entertaining with friends. Golf was his hobby and he played the game until he was 89. He was always good with a quick joke and loved to get a good laugh. In 2017, Donald attended the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight out of Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. as one of only 10 WWII Veterans on the trip. He had an incredible experience and he was grateful he had the opportunity to go. He was a member of the American Legion Post 24 in Lake Geneva and the VFW Post 2373 in Williams Bay.
Services for Donald will be held on Sunday November 21st at 3:30pm in the chapel of Derrick Funeral Home and Cremation Services. Visitation will be the same day from 1:30pm until the time of service. Pastor Mark Moller-Gunderson will officiate.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family has asked that you make a donation in Donald's name to either The Time is Now or Stars and Stripes Honor Flight Inc. Links have been provided below.
To post an online condolence please click the "Share a Memory" box on the left side of your screen.
Derrick Funeral Home of Lake Geneva is honored to be assisting the Ketchpaw family.
The Time is Now
P.O. Box 1, Lake Geneva WI 53147
Stars and Stripes Honor Flight
PO Box 867, Menomonee Falls WI 53052