Don Van Emmerik, of Salem, SD escaped this mortal realm on July 2, 2019 at the young age of 65. Per Donnie’s explicit instructions, there will be no funeral or memorial services. This was non-negotiable and if you knew him, that was the end of it.
Donnie Dean Van Emmerik was born on July 20, 1953 in Sioux Falls, SD to Leonard and Ella (Schmeichel) Van Emmerik. He graduated from Salem High School in 1971. He worked at the Salem Lumber Yard, drove semi-truck, and worked in car upholstery repair before beginning a 30+ year career in the cable TV industry. Don retired from GoldenWest in 2018.
Throughout his years Don enjoyed spending his time fishing at Kiner’s Bottom, hunting, golfing, riding his Harley, listening to CCR, and sharing laughs with friends over a drink. He was an avid gardener who made delicious tomato juice and a kick-ass salsa. Most of all, Don truly loved spending time with his grandbabies, passing down his wisdom but mostly his stubbornness and mischievous ways.
Donnie was one of a kind, and you would never forget him if you met him. His quick wit, the fact that he was ‘always right,’ and his brutal honesty, coupled with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth at all times, left a lasting impression (which is open to your own interpretation). While he came off as a hard-ass, he genuinely cared about others and was always there for those that needed him.
Don’s grey hairs and sleepless nights can be attributed to the children whom he left behind, including Julie Van Emmerik of Omaha, NE; Lisa (Chris) Diedrich of Elkton, SD; Jamie (Greg) Robinson of Mitchell, SD; Matt (Katie) Braden of Sioux Falls, SD; and Kim (Glenn) Cantrell of Scotland, SD. He will be missed by his grandchildren, who always gave him a run for his money, Adriana, Gavin, Patrick, Dillon, Katelyn, Emmrey, Lexi, Erren, Thorin, and Liliann. Those who also survived putting up with Donnie during his lifetime include his significant other, Janet Stoffel of Salem; his parents, Leonard and Ella; his siblings, Jim, Dwayne, Marilyn, and Deb, along with many in-laws, nieces, and nephews. If you asked him while he was living, he often said he was ‘surrounded by incompetence.’ We took this as a compliment.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Lambert John (LJ) and Rosella Katherine Van Emmerik, Gottlieb and Adella Schmeichel, and his four-legged companions Harley and Izabel.
If you would like to pay your respects you may send cards to:
The Family of Don Van Emmerik
P.O. Box 105
Salem, SD 57058