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Melchior Alexander Donny
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Melchior Alexander Donny, 74, of Beloit, Wisconsin, died Thursday, January 8, 2009, at his winter home in Green Valley, Arizona; his wife, Sally O'Neal Donny, was by his side.

Mel was born on June 4, 1934 in Lucerne, Switzerland to Melchior A. Donni and Hedwig Aeberhard Donni. They came to Monroe, WI in 1934 and there raised a family of six children: twins, Melchior and Maryann, Ruth, Joseph, Francis and Margaret.

On June 2, 1952, Mel entered boot camp for the United States Navy at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He then attended the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Norman, Oklahoma, graduating as an aircraft mechanic. He served at the North Island Naval Station in San Diego, CA until 1955. Upon returning to Wisconsin, Mel attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and graduated in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration.

Mel married Carol Dana Ridnour on June 21, 1959 and together they had four children: Betsy, Mary, Mel and Joe. Their father would describe himself as a family man with a strong work ethic. He supported them by working at the Beloit Corporation for 25 years, beginning at the Beloit Iron Works as a production expeditor, then as Production Control Manager, and finally serving as Sales Manager of the Beloit Corporation Casting Division. Mel was very proud of his time spent working for the company, and the quality of life it afforded his family. Mel later married Sally O'Neal Donato on November 6, 1982. In 1984 he continued his career as Vice President of Sales with Badger Foundry Company in Winona, Minnesota, where he worked until his retirement in 2002.

After the end of his career, Mel enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, whom he adored. He volunteered for the Downtown Beloit Association watering hanging baskets and doing a variety of other tasks put before him. In addition to his time spent helping with the Downtown Beloit Association, Mel filled himself with a sense of purpose and pride by delivering Meals on Wheels, working the Brat Stand for the Knights of Columbus, and participating in the Social Justice Group at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church.

Mel was especially proud of his heritage. He returned to Switzerland several times with family to show them the beautiful land from which their family had come. Though Switzerland would always live as his favorite bit of earth, Mel also relished time spent at the "four acres" on the family farm. There, he spent long summer days mowing on his prize John Deere, relaxing by the brush-fueled fire, and hosting family gatherings.

Mel's wife, Sally Donny, his children, Betsy (Tim) Schmiechen of Beloit, WI, Mary (John) O'Brien of Evanston, IL, Mel (JoAnn) Donny of Janesville, WI and Joe (Nicole) Donny of Verona, WI and his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and many friends are all deeply saddened by his passing. His beloved grandchildren include: Chad Donny of Janesville, WI, Erin Thomson of Chicago, IL, Aidan, Andrew and Clare O'Brien of Evanston, IL, Alexandra, Celia, Nina Eliza and Bryant Donny of Verona, WI and great-grandson, Cassius Donny of Machesney Park, IL.

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Monday, January 19, 2009 in Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 2200 Shopiere Road, Beloit, WI, with Fr. Michael Klarer officiating. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of service Monday in the church. Daley Murphy Wisch & Associates Funeral Home and Crematorium, 2355 Cranston Road, Beloit, WI, assisted the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family will establish a fund supporting his favorite charities.