Remembering Don


Donald Paul Pielin
12/12/42 – 9/19/20

Superheros come in many forms, he spread his cape wide and full.  He was a remarkable human being in all his roles. A dedicated brother, husband, father and grandfather. A loyal friend and natural born teacher. Smart, witty and kind: he was generous with his knowledge, time and love. He will be desperately missed but always remembered. 

For anyone looking for an ounce of comfort: in the Jewish tradition, someone who dies on Rosh Hashanah is considered a tzadik, a holy righteous person, someone who exists on a different plane.



Donald Paul Pielin, 77, of Streamwood and formerly of Wheeling; husband of 50 years to Linda, nee Farrell; dad of Elizabeth (Ian) Kuhn and Kathryn (Rudolph “Rudy”) Piskule; Papa of Evan Paul, Farrell, Lillian, Elaine and Eowyn; brother of Richard (Barbara) Pielin, Nancy (late Donald) Zastrow and the late Thomas (late Patricia); brother in law of Karen (Marty) Farrell Skirha; son of the late Florian and late Lillian, nee Bush; Don enjoyed his Schnauzers Mitzi and Hildie but he had one in which he shared a special bond, the late Ernie Banks. Due to the ongoing pandemic the Pielin family hopes the countless friends Don has around the world understand that at this time they want to keep everyone safe. A larger gathering will be scheduled at a later date when it is safe to do so. Cremation will be private at the Countryside Crematory. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Don’s name to Elgin History Museum Youth History Fund.


  • The Best of Friends

    Don was simply the best of friends. Kind, generous, full of energy and fun.

    So many hours spent messing about with toy soldiers, drinking beer, talking about anything and everything – teaching, UK and US politics, family, history.

    So many fun trips together – Paris, Kulmbach, Edinburgh, the Lake House, Warwick. Lovely meals, sampling local wines, visiting beautiful places.

    Don has a special place in our hearts. 

    Rob and Jack

  • Always generous with his time and talents
    I worked with Don at the Elgin History Museum.  I enjoyed the days when our paths would cross.  He was such a delightful man and I really enjoyed seeing him work with the school groups.  I remember one day when he arrived at the museum to help with a 3rd grade field trip and I said “oh Don, thank goodness you’re here!  You’re the only one that knows how to do this special part!”. He gave me a quizzical look, laughed and said “I’ve never done this part before in my life! But, well, let’s see how it goes!” And he did it, and it was great.  It was always great and the kids felt his enthusiasm and knowledge on whatever the topic. I’ll truly miss working with him.    
  • Kiel and Don
    I will remember many happy moments spent with Don. I remember when I got to take him out sailing in Seattle. We didn’t have much wind so we got to just chat in the boat which is one of the best parts of sailing anyway. He was so thoughtful and kind. He always appreciated those around him and the world was a better with him in it. He was genuinely interested in learning about the how things worked and using that knowledge to make the world a better place. He knew that one of the best ways to make the world a better place was to be just a nice person.  Some of the phrases that come to mind when I think of Don are: genuine, up for anything, present, kind, up for fun, appreciative, thoughful.  Now there is another word, missed. 
  • Silliness
    One of the best things about my dad was his sense of humor and silliness. He used this to charm hundreds thousands of Jr. High students for over 35 years. He used it to diffuse conflicts and to make points in a manner that did not offend. He could argue with someone about politics and always end with a comment to make you laugh. It is one of the things his grandchildren adored about him.
  • Words are difficult
    I am no writer, but I’ll try to put down what words come to mind for me… 20 years was far too short of a time to know this man… I know we packed a-lot of time together into that span, but I still find it hard to believe that our time together has come to an end. Don had many passions…but most precious to him was his family.  He spent so much time with his Grandkids…It was hard to believe how he made time for anything else!!! He created such wonderful experiences for all of his family, but most lasting among them is “The Lake”.  My girls love their time up there and we hope to keep his legacy and spirit alive in Montello for many years to come. I’ll try to write more later… Rudy
  • Papa