Obituary: Donald Zwiefka, Jr., 70, of Manistee

December 11, 2023

Donald W Zwiefka, Jr

Obituary: Donald Zwiefka, Jr., 70, of Manistee

Donald W. Zwiefka, Jr, 70, of Manistee, passed away peacefully at home on Friday December 8, 2023, after a courageous two-and-a-half-year battle with pancreatic cancer.  He was born June 9, 1953, in Muskegon to Donald W. Zwiefka and Renee J. (Picardat) Zwiefka. He graduated from Manistee Catholic Central High School with the class of 1971, and furthered his education at Western Michigan University earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1975. He married his high school sweetheart Shirley A. Witucki on June 22, 1974, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Manistee.

Don spent the first half of his career with Dow Chemical in various roles at the Ludington, Bay City and Midland sites. In 1996, he was hired by FloraCraft Corporation in Ludington as the manufacturing project engineer in the Thermoset and Thermoplastic Division. He took on further responsibilities serving as the director of continuous improvement, director of extrusion, manufacturing and maintenance, and director of safety and environmental health. His hard work was recently acknowledged by being named the FloraCraft 2023 Wall of Fame recipient. His proudest professional accomplishment during his tenure with the company was being co-inventor (with Trevor Wardle) of a FloraCraft patented method that led to significant cost savings for the company.

Don played sports throughout his lifetime, most recently with the Manistee Senior Softball Team. Time with his family was of utmost importance. He liked cooking for the family and recording their sporting and musical events. He enjoyed music and had the ability to quickly identify any song and artist. He appreciated his alone time with his computers working on compiling family photos and videos into digital format to assure they would be preserved through the years.  His favorite past time was fishing for the “big one” in Lake Michigan with his good friend Donny Albrecht. University of Michigan sports were sacred and talking was only allowed during commercials. His colleagues and friends will always remember him for his dry sense of humor and his ability to get along with (and try to help) everyone around him.

Don is survived by his wife Shirley and his three children; Julie (Darren) Matthews, Abbey (Scott) Ash, and Ryan Zwiefka; grandson Nicholas Matthews; mother Renee Zwiefka; sisters Jane Zwiefka, Ann Jaksa, Sue Turner, Faye Zwiefka; sisters-in-law Rosalie Gorbach, Beverly Witucki-Vincent; brothers-in-law John Witucki, Robert Witucki; aunts Sue Picardat, Pat Zwiefka; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was proceeded in death by his father Donald Zwiefka; sister Judy Sannes; grandparents Lester and Harriet Picardat, Helen and William Zwiefka; brother-in-law Mike Rogers; uncles Dale Picardat, Doug Picardat, William (Vic) Zwiefka, Frank Ball, Gerald Bialik; aunts Mildred Ball, Germaine Bialik.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, December 16, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Divine Mercy Parish (formerly St Joseph Parish), 249 Sixth Street Manistee, with Reverend Mitchel Roman celebrant.

Relatives and friends will pray the Evening Vigil Service at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2023, at Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, 3060 US-10 Ludington. The family will receive friends before the vigil from 5 to 7 p.m., and also on Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until the time of the mass at 11 a.m.

Burial will take place at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Manistee on Monday December 18.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry at Divine Mercy Parish or the Rosary Society.

Oak Grove Funeral Home and Cremation Center of Manistee is in charge of funeral arrangements.