Donald State Obituary (1946 – 2022) – Peru, IL

Donald State Obituary (1946 – 2022) – Peru, IL

Donald G. State
Born: May 14, 1946 in Joliet, IL
Died: January 12, 2022 in Peru, IL
Donald G. Staats, 75, a longtime Illinois Valley resident in LaSalle, Peru, Spring Valley and Oglesby died Wednesday, January 12, 2022, while his family was there, helping him through to the last.
Funeral services will be held at. 6pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at Mueller Funeral Home, Peru. The visit will be 16.00-18.00 Tuesday in the funeral home.
Don was born on May 14, 1946 in Joliet by John and Ann (Ozias) Staats. He was the youngest of a total of 14 brothers and sisters. He grew up in the LaSalle-Peru area and made many friends, with baseball, basketball, and later softball became his passion. He hiked on the Vermillion and became the Brooklyn-then Los Angeles Dodger fan. He was involved in many ball games throughout his youth. Don graduated from LaSalle-Peru High School, played summer baseball and then joined the US Army and became a Member of Parliament in Germany.
After his honorable discharge from the Army, Don began his softball and family career by meeting Marcia Damm, his future wife and mother of his four boys, Matt, Ryan, John and Luke. Don retired after working at Westclox, Sundstand and even Peru Mall for a period of time. Most of his working life was spent with the Federal Express as courier and security chief, then the Spring Valley Walmart Distribution Center, preventing losses. He somehow found the time between his family, work, and personal life to complete a bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University in the mid-1980s.
Don played hard in the evenings, played winter basketball when he was younger and in the spring, summer and fall, and played in several softball leagues. The core of the softball team held together over the years with the 10+ guys and a couple of longtime deputies who won numerous tournaments and leagues from the early 1970s until 1990. The teams included The LaSalle Orphans, Flo’s, Peru American Legion, Play Mor, Hubs Pub, Ellie’s and The Pour House.
Don played mainly third base, as a professional. Don hit for average and power, leading the team and leagues in numerous stats over the course of his career along with winning an MVP. When he wanted to swing and connect, he wanted to make a unique sound that could be distinguished! Nicknamed Kazzie, Ned and Moose by friends and family, # 13 was his number adorned on his jerseys and personal belongings.
When the softball team finished their run, Don kept busy playing basketball at home, spending time in his basement cave hanging out and exercising, preparing all of his famous Staats recipes, enjoying music, sports, traveling, and spending time with his friends, family and grandchildren. Unfortunately, his wife, Marcia and many friends, died in 2013.
Some years passed, and by chance and fate he met another widower who had undergone similar life experiences. Nancy Ptak was a longtime friend and member of the softball clan. Don and Nancy found love again with them, and then moved in together and later became engaged in 2020. Nancy became our second mother. Both families had lost a son to Michael Ptak, after which Ryan Staats died prematurely in their lives. Some of the boy’s ashes were scattered on the White Sox field. The families survived and continue to carry on family names and traditions. Don and Nancy could be found enjoying lunches and dinners throughout the Illinois Valley area and spending quiet time alone or with their families. Don and Nancy formed a wonderful team.
Don leaves behind his fiancée, Nancy Ptak of Oglesby, along with her sons, Matt Staats of Spring Valley, John Staats of Chambersberg PA and Luke Staats of Peru and his five grandchildren, Jacob, Garrett, Connor, Ian and Everett.
Don was preceded in his death by his parents; his wife Marcia; his son, Ryan Staats; and all his 13 brothers and sisters.
The online guestbook can be viewed and memories shared at www.MuellerFH.com.

Published by News Tribune January 14 to January 15, 2022.

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