Saturday, September 29, 2012

Family Memorial Day - Don Niehaus, My Brother

Donald Frank Niehaus lived the 67 years of his life in Indianapolis, Indiana, leaving the impression of a good man.
Don would have been 70 years old this month.  He left us two and a half years ago.   This Family Memorial post celebrates and preserves his life, in some small way.
I'm  going to keep this brief and light-hearted.  That's how he would do it.   

Don was  the eldest of the five children of Frank and Rosemary Niehaus and grew up on the south side of Indianapolis.  He attended St. Roch and Sacred Heart Catholic schools for 12 years.  Then he served in the Army Reserves before the Vietnam War ramped up.  I remember starching and ironing his uniforms for the weekend meetings. 

As our lives went by he wasn't one to visit much but could be counted on for holidays and other occasions, arriving with arms full of food and/or presents.   As a young person I remember him building and flying model airplanes and racing go karts.  He had an easygoing spirit, but could be irritated, especially by a younger sister. And he never lost that demeanor of a man of few words.  Although you could get him started telling stories sometimes.  

Don kept his life uncluttered but found ways to relax and enjoy after giving  his all in his job.  He worked for Hix Wrecker Service for over 30 years, with a short time at another wrecker service.  As a young person he had his Kroger job and a stint as a tool and dye maker for a few years. He grew to love fishing and kept his boat ready at all times in his "shop."  The shop is where he loved to collect, share, build and tinker with a wide variety of mechanical equipment that is beyond my description.  Fishing and hanging out at the shop seemed to make him happy. 

Friends talked about his loyalty and his nieces and nephews remembered him as a nice uncle. They think of him with a smile as they remember him taking a nap not long after our meal, in the midst of the clanking of dishes, card games, kids playing and cheering for the ball game. He could also play a mean game of Euchre or Poker if you just asked. We were all glad to see him whenever we did have get-togethers. 

It's not something you get used to...your brother absent from your life altogether. But I can say for sure, he's fondly remembered.

A memorial I wrote for Don in Feb 2010 and a short family history  are posted on our Family Stories page.  Click HERE if you would like to read them. There's more that could be said, but then this post wouldn't be as I promised.  Do you have a Don story or just a thought?  Feel free to leave your comment below.  R.I.P.

Copyright 2012 Nancy Hurley

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