WAKEFIELD, Mich. – Donald B. “Don, Bear, Papa, Sheriff” Pezzetti, 82, a lifelong and proud resident of Wakefield, passed away peacefully on the morning of Sunday, March 14, 2021, at home with his loving family.
Donald was born on July 12, 1938, in Wakefield, a son of the late John Joseph and Anna Elizabeth (Johnson) Pezzetti. He attended Wakefield High School and graduated in 1956.
On May 31, 1968, Donald married Joellyn Drake at Bethany Lutheran Church in Wakefield. They celebrated 51 beautiful years of marriage together. She preceded his death on April 16, 2020.
In Donald’s younger years, he was an owner of the Sports Bar in Wakefield and played the guitar and sang in bands, “Members of the Bar” and “Don’s Trio,” and was offered a recording contract with Motown Records.
He served his country in the U.S. Army in Korea from 1956-1958.
Donald then pursued his career as a Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department deputy in 1970, became undersheriff in 1974, and sheriff in 1979. He spent 21 years proudly serving the community as sheriff until his retirement in 2000.
He wasn’t quite ready to hang up his hat and continued to serve the community on the Gogebic County Board of Commissioners and the Community Mental Health Board.
Donald was a faithful member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ramsay, a devoted member of both the Wakefield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9084 and American Legion Geroux Post 11.
He spent most of the years of his life dedicated to being of service to his community. In his free time, he was often found fishing or partridge hunting. Don enjoyed casino trips and being with his family and furry best friend, Elvis the Yorkie. He loved singing karaoke to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Some of his most memorable moments came from spending time at his cottage, Clouseau’s Casa, with the Dead Sea Gang. Don always tried to be sure all around him were laughing and had smiles on their faces with his quick wit and sense of humor.
Donald is survived by a daughter, Shannon, Wakefield; a daughter, Julie (Bobby), Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; a granddaughter, Ashley (Joshua) Konicki, Saint Leonard, Maryland; a great-grandson, Brody Konicki, Saint Leonard; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends that he loved and adored.
In addition to his parents and his beautiful and beloved wife, Joellyn, he was preceded in death by his first wife, the former Janet Barringer, on March 29, 1966; two brothers, John Keith, in infancy and Jim; his three sisters and three brothers-in-law, Muriel and Nick Vidakovich, Ardith and Milt Krznarich and Judith and Dennis Ravelli; and his loving mother-in-law, Ellen.
“I’ve lived a life that’s full,
I’ve traveled each and every highway.
Oh, and more, much more than this:
I did it my way.” – The Rat Pack
A private funeral service will be held at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, with the Rev. Timothy J. Steckling officiating. Masks, group capacity and distancing guidelines must be practiced.
A committal service, military honors and interment will take place at Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield, at a later date.
Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family with their arrangements. Condolences may be expressed online at lakesidememorialchapel.com.