Published 5:31 pm Monday, May 9, 2022
Donald Ray Brezicka went to join The Lord in Heaven on May 5, 2022 at Mary Greeley Hospice House in Ames, Iowa supported and surrounded by loving family. He passed after a long battle with cancer and a shorter but equally devastating battle with Alzheimer disease. He was born May 25, 1948 to Ray and Joy (Pierson) in Britton, South Dakota. The family moved to the Bozeman, Montana area when he was a toddler, and he lived there until finishing college. His love of the mountains and his “cowboy at heart” spirit came from those years in Montana.
Don’s greatest love was his family. His daughters are Barbara (Matt) Kleinke of Tigard, Oregon, Bryn (Dave) Kosack of Paradise Valley, Arizona, and Jennifer Zirbes of Washington State. He married the love of his life, Karen Wheelock Brezicka, in 1987.
After graduating from Montana State University and passing the CPA exam, he worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield in both Montana and Chicago. He obtained a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Wisconsin, and then became the Administrator of Berlin Hospital and Nursing Home in Berlin, Wisconsin. He spent the last 25 plus years of his career first as the hospital administrator of St. Olaf Hospital in Austin, Minnesota, and then as the Chief Operating Officer of the Austin Medical Center when it became part of the Mayo Health System. He retired in 2008. In retirement he helped an entrepreneur in Arizona with a healthcare related project.
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Don loved people and struck up conversations with people wherever he went. He had a unique knack for making people feel recognized and special. His laugh was a joy to hear, and he had a great sense of humor. He was a hard worker and good businessperson, but also had a creative side learning first wood carving and then sculpting. He also enjoyed golfing, fishing with his Dad in Montana, skiing, and learning new things. Don was a fun loving, kind and gentle man and will be deeply missed.
He is preceded in death by his parents and grandparents. He is survived by his wife, daughters, and six grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., at Saint Cecilia’s Catholic Church, 2900 Hoover Ave, Ames, Iowa, with a burial to follow at Ames Municipal Cemetery. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 11, from 4-6:00 p.m. at Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care, 414 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Mary Greeley Medical Center Hospice or Alzheimer Association.
A livestream link will be provided for Don’s funeral service.
Online condolences may be directed to www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com