Donald Bruce Hepler, 82 of Pardeeville, passed away Thursday, October 7, 2021 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. He was born on May 9, 1939, the son of Harold and Merna (Cook) Hepler in Portage.
Don loved old time music and grew up with his dad playing in the Fox River Valley Boys Band that practiced at their home every week. He was an avid swimmer in Park Lake and liked to fly model airplanes and did odd jobs around town. His friend and mentor Harry Fredrick had him repairing Ford tractors at the Ford Garage when he was 12-13 years old. He graduated from Pardeeville High School and went to work for Ray Leary Garage in Cambria, WI. He worked for All American Scoreboard (Everbright) for 25 years from the assembly line to the blueprint office up stairs. He spent many extra hours hanging from the ceiling with Fred Galley of galley studios to get just the right picture of a scoreboard. He had several MATC degrees to his credit and once was the oldest person in the class. When he lived in Glenwood Colorado, he managed the U-Haul business and brought it from a bad name to earning several awards for well run business.
He and Bev went four-wheel’n in Colorado for 12 years with the All For Fun Mile-Hi-Jeep club. They were members of the HOOBS WI group. There were no trails that Don or Bruce could not drive with their Bronco or Jeep. He was a Village Trustee, Chairman of the Police committee, President of the Electric commission and served as a fireman for 25 years. He spent 50 years in the racing field. From the dirt tracks in Rio and Portage in the 1950’s to Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Michigan and Indiana. He and his friend Karl were well known names in the racing field across the states and could make the motors roar.
He was a mechanical wizard and there was little that he did not and could not do if he set his mind to it. He drove and repaired trucks for Gifford Trucking. He had his own business “Hepler Repair '' for many years with his sons Bruce and Brian. He was known as the carburetor man. He had the first solar heated home in Pardeeville on Lake St. He built a new home and learned to lay fieldstone for the fireplace and furnace building. He had a passion for antique cars 1923 Model ``T”-1941 Ford three window-1936 Street Rod- 1977 Ford Pinto, and electric MG midget. He learned to fly airplanes with his friends Dave Southworth and Don Johnson. Saturday breakfast fly-ins were a favorite. He and Bev were charter members of the Rio Badger Antique Auto Club, members of the Madison Street Rod Assoc. Wednesday night Pardeeville car club, and Tuesday night All Stop Lodi car club.
He married Beverly Diehlmann on 8-29-1959 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Rio where they were members. They had two sons, Bruce and Brian, three grandsons, Brennen, Jacob, and Jason and two much loved great granddaughters Alexus and Alice Rose. He is survived by wife, grandsons, great granddaughters, one sister, Arlene Babcock, one nephew and two nieces, one brother-in-law Robert (Pat) Diehlmann, sisters-in-laws and several Diehlmann nieces, nephews, and Hepler cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws Mary (Berghammer), Ted Diehlmann, several sister-and brother-in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins and two precious sons and best friends Bruce and Brian that left him with a broken heart. God has him in his keeping and we have him in our hearts. He was a good son, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend and citizen.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 1 P.M. at the Grasse Funeral Home, 119 Industrial Drive, Pardeeville with Rev. Jack Way officiating. Visitation will be held from 10:30 until the time of service. Please follow covid-19 protocols. The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, donations be made for the granddaughter's education fund. Special thanks to our wonderful friends and church members, for being here today.