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Donald J. Essling

January 24, 1934 ~ July 23, 2021 (age 87)


Don Essling aka (Squeaky) (Saddle Tramp), 87, peacefully passed away Friday, July 23, 2021 at Mercy Hospital in Aurora. He was born at home on January 24, 1934 to Albert and Anne (Henning) Essling in Villa Park, IL. He met his highschool sweetheart, Evelyn, at Immaculate Conception High School and they were married October 10, 1953. They would have celebrated their 68th anniversary this Fall. After initially living in Wheaton, they moved to Aurora in 1955 and settled in the Marywood community. Together they raised 8 children.

He was employed by and drove a gravel truck for Harry Kuhn for 31 years before buying his own Mack and worked until retiring in 1996. Don served his community as a volunteer fireman for over 40 years, rising to the rank of Captain with the Marywood Fire Protection District from 1955 until the department was taken over by Aurora in 1995. He was also one of three men that kept Annunciation Church and School parking lots cleared of snow for over 54 years. Don was an active parish member helping each year with the annual Luminary mass, opening the church, and helping his friend, Phil Gette, with cemetery tasks.

He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and all their children, Donna (Max) Daniels, Sue Sornson, Dale (Lisa), Joe, Bill (Biljana), Pete (Kim), Peggy (Tom) Catalano, and Mary (Randy) Banghart. They also have 14 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Father Harold Essling C.S.C. of Notre Dame.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father; and both his sister and brother-in-law, Joan and Earl Cutts.

In lieu of flowers, donations under Don’s name may be made out to a charity of your choice.

Family will receive guests on Thursday, July 29, 2021 at Dieterle Memorial Home, 1120 S. Broadway Ave, Montgomery, IL 60538, from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM. Funeral Service will take place on Friday, July 30, 2021 at 10:00 AM at Annunciation Catholic Church, 1820 Church Road, Aurora, IL 60505.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald J. Essling, please visit our floral store.


July 29, 2021

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Dieterle Memorial Home
1120 South Broadway
Montgomery, IL 60538

Funeral Mass
July 30, 2021

10:00 AM
Annunciation Catholic Church
1820 Church Road
Aurora, IL 60505

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