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“Elaine Kathy and I want you to know that your loss is in our prayers. We know how much you loved Don and how difficult it must have been to see him...Read More »
1 of 16 | Posted by: Carl Wandzel - St. Charles, MO

“Don, Greg, Nick, Elaine, & Tony, My heart hurts knowing you have lost your precious dad & husband. Hold on to the memories that bring a smile to your...Read More »
2 of 16 | Posted by: Shari (Craig) Hurlahe

“I am so sorry for your loss. I had every intent to be there today, but I won't be able to. What a beautiful Obituary! Prayers out to your and your...Read More »
3 of 16 | Posted by: Pamela Sierzan - Warren, MI

“Worker with Don at #7 in 1965. Great friend and a greater police officer. I was a rookie and Don was a good role model. Always had a smile and was...Read More »
4 of 16 | Posted by: Ray"Mushroom"DuJardin - MI

“Just want to know we are thinking and praying for you at this sad time in your lives. God Bless you all. ”
5 of 16 | Posted by: Catherine Sierzan - Mayville, MI

“Good man is in Heaven. loved this man dearly . ”
6 of 16 | Posted by: Kathy and Jimmy DeLaigle - TN

“Dear Elaine, so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers. Love you. Connie Lagodzinski ”
7 of 16 | Posted by: Connie Lagodzinski - Macomb, MI

“Cousin Don. I will miss your laughter and funny jokes throughout the years! So glad I was able to see and visit with you at the "Cousin's Reunion." ...Read More »
8 of 16 | Posted by: alice thebo - savannah, GA

“Uncle Don, you and Elaine were always so warm and welcoming to us as a part of the Wandzel family. I love you & Elaine dearly. There cannot be a...Read More »
9 of 16 | Posted by: kim thebo - savannah, GA

“To the Wandzel family, you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Though I only meet Donald Senior a hand full a times, from the first time I meet him...Read More »
10 of 16 | Posted by: Carl Agosta - Clinton Tep, MI

“I remember spending many Sunday afternoons watching basketball games in the winter in St. Jude gym. Couldn't miss Mr. Wandzel as tall as he was! I...Read More »
11 of 16 | Posted by: Kathryn M Tines - Eastpointe, MI

“Dear Elaine, Just a note to let you know that Connie and I hare in your sorrow. Don was a good person, as you are, and we enjoyed your company. ...Read More »
12 of 16 | Posted by: Paula and Conrad - MI - Friends

“Dear Greg and Kathy, we are so sorry for the loss of your father/father-in-law. Please know that Vince and I will be keeping you all in our prayers...Read More »
13 of 16 | Posted by: Libby and Vince Pizzo - LIVONIA, MI

“Another Great Warrior has gone to his final resting place. I'm extremely proud to have called you 'Dad'. I Love You & I'll miss you dearly. JR ”
14 of 16 | Posted by: Don Wandzel Jr. - MI - Oldest Son

“Elaine, Don, Greg and Nick and Tony, My prayers for peace and healing hearts go out to all of you as you remember you husband and dad. I will always...Read More »
15 of 16 | Posted by: Diana Thornbury (Gutowsky) - MI

“Dear Elaine, You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless Bud and Betty Shewell ”
16 of 16 | Posted by: bud and betty shewell - macomb, MI


Donald was born on New Year's Day, 1937 in Detroit to Joseph and Celia (nee Novak) Wandzel and grew up in Hamtramck. After graduation from Hamtramck High School, Don went to work for Truscon Industries as a paint mixer. On May 9, 1957 he enlisted in the US Army and eventually was assigned to the 82nd Engineers. His mission was to be part of Operation PLUMBOB, testing nuclear bombs, in the Nevada dessert. Don was involved in 19 different blasts.

With his Army stint ended, Donald returned to his Truscon job. Fortunately he was advised by his boss to check out the police or fire department for a better career opportunity. Don took up his advice and joined the Detroit Police Department in 1963. Assigned to an east side precinct, Don saw action during the 1967 Detroit riots. A summer detail at DPD's harbormaster office on Belle Isle led to his being transferred there full-time. Don found his niche at last and finished out his police career at the harbormaster's office, retiring after 33 years of service.

Donald married his first wife, Bernadine, and the couple had three sons, Donald Jr., Greg and Nick.

Nevada, Las Vegas, specifically, made another appearance in the life of Donald Wandzel, Sr. Being a sun-worshipper and hating the cold weather, Don moved to Las Vegas in 1996. There he could be always tanned, spending time at the pool and people-watching at the casinos. He married his second wife, Elaine, there. The two of them had great fun, picking out the tourists in the crowds. He also made a study of the great Las Vegas buffets and could direct you to the best ones according to the day and place you wanted to go. By 2004 Donald was a grandfather and so the couple decided to move back to Michigan to be part of their grandchildren's lives.

Donald made the most of life. He loved to dance and was a great conversationalist, never one to turn down a party. Jeopardy was his favorite game as he often tried to outwit the contestants. And a western, John Wayne was his favorite movie star. A man of honor, his word was his bond.

Unfortunately Donald was diagnosed with brain cancer. Though he fought courageously against this demon, he lost his battle and made his transition on the evening of August 3, 2014.

Donald is survived by his wife, Elaine; his children, Donald Jr. (Jean), Gregory (Kathy), Tony (Shannon) Spina and Nicholas (Erica) Wandzel; and six grandchildren.