Donald James Monette, age 88, passed Wednesday July 5th, 2023 in Munising, Michigan. Don was preceded in death by his parents Arthur and Stella Monette, wife Patricia, son Dean, brother Joe, sisters Jean Monette and Ruth Ann Cox. He is survived by; his daughters Kelly Swette and Lynn Oshnock, his sons Douglas and Dan Monette, numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.
Attempting to chronicle Don’s accomplishments, and the impact he had upon his extended family, the Williamston community and the numerous religious charities he donated to and supported would be an act of pure folly. The only person who knew of all his charitable contributions, whether measured by financial assistance or time dedicated, would-be Don himself – as he preferred to go unacknowledged whenever possible.
We each have our own unique memory of Don, and how he impacted their life. Don looked for the good in each of us, and extended Grace and Acceptance to all. As a result, Don had friends from all walks of life, possessing the uncanny ability to make people from a CEO to a person at the Post Office feel comfortable and heard in his presence, treating all with warmth and kindness. Don was Honored by the Michigan Legislature on December 7th, 1989, and the below tells just part of his story:
STATE OF MICHIGAN, MICHIGAN LEGISTATURE, House Resolution No 430
A RESOLUTION OF TRIBUTE HONORING DONALD J. MONETTE
WHEREAS, It is with deep appreciation for his outstanding contributions to banking in Michigan over the past three decades that we are proud to join with the family and associates of Mr. Donald J. Monette in extending congratulations for his 31 years of service to the Michigan National Corporation. Over the course of his career with Michigan National Corporation, this talented and energetic gentleman has contributed both to his profession and his community. We are proud to express our admiration and to add our best wishes at this milestone in his life; and
WHEREAS, Don Monette, who went to high school in Munising in the Upper Peninsula, came to Michigan National Corporation in 1960 after having served in the Navy. He began his affiliation with this important Michigan financial institution while he was a student a Michigan State University. As a result of his diverse talents, Don Monette rose in responsibility within the bank, serving as a branch manager prior to specializing in the operations of the Michigan Bankard. His insights have been especially important to the growing operations of electronic funds transfers and credit cards. Most recently, he has served as First Vice President, Personal Financial Services and Chairman of Independence One Bank, South Dakota. His thoroughness and integrity have been of great importance to these areas; and
WHEREAS, As the proud father of five children, Don Monette has always had a strong affinity for young people. To many people in the Williamston Area, he is known as a premier sports booster of Williamston High School. Indeed, he has been most generous with his time supporting the school’s programs, much in the manner he has devoted to his alma mater, Michigan State University. Other examples of his unselfishness include his service as the St, Mary’s School Board President, with the Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club, and as the chairman of the Williamston School District Task Force. Obviously, this banker’s “investment” in Williamston has reaped wonderful dividends; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, That tribute be accorded to salute Mr. Donald J. Monette on his outstanding career with the Michigan National Corporation; …. .
An accomplished public speaker, Don volunteered to announce girl and boy High School athletic competitions for Williamston, including; Football, Basketball, Track, and Wrestling, becoming known as the Voice of Williamston Athletics. Don also served as a Spotter for the MSU Football Stat crew, working in the Press Box for all MSU home games for 15 plus years. Don further served as a Member of the MSU Wrestling Takedown Club, as a member of the Lansing Area Lions Club, and worked as a voting member of the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame. Don was honored by election to that august group in June of 2006, receiving the Richard Letts Community Service Award.
Don was a firm believer in giving back to the local community, and the community at large. He often stated that he received so much help in life, be it from friends or family - and especially the Church, that he considered himself blessed to be able to give back to those in need. Don contributed to and was recognized by; the St. Jude’s Cancer Research Foundation, the Good Samaritan Club, the Volunteers of America (Michigan), and multiple organizations promoting the betterment of primary schools on Tribal Lands in South Dakota. Don was able to work with St. Mary’s parish in Williamston to secure funding to establish The Infant of Prague prayer room, and in the process fulfilling one his mother’s most fervent wishes.
Don was an avid athlete, card player, and sport fan. He used to say, that; “If you are here to have fun, well, it is more fun to win, so let’s do that.” He instilled that attitude in all his children, and it is something all his friends knew him for. During his time in the Navy during the Korean War, Don played on the Navy Allstar Baseball team, which at that time sported multiple major leaguers. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, and initially went to MSU on a baseball scholarship, but God had other plans for him. He continued to play ball throughout his life, but of the softball variety. He even coached a Recreational Williamston Woman’s Softball team, that included his daughters Kelly and Lynn, to a Michigan State Championship Title.
Don spent the last few days of his life talking with friends and family, seemingly foreseeing the end. One of his last acts in life was to visit the resting places of his mother and father, brothers and sisters, his wife Pat, and son Dean. No one gets to script their life’s journey, let alone the end. Yet Don somehow managed to return home to his beloved home town of Munising, say his goodbyes, and then pass peacefully in his sleep. A poignant end for a man who lived life to its fullest.
Don would ask that no one be sad upon his passing, but to celebrate the joy of his memory. “Keep the Faith!” was one of his favorite sayings. Don was a fervent supporter of St. Mary’s Church in Williamston, and his family would appreciate that in lieu of any flowers for donations to be made to the St. Mary Catholic School scholarship fund, 220 N Cedar St, Williamston, MI 48895.
Services to be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Williamston, Mi on Saturday July 29th at 1100-1200. Immediately following a Celebration of Life will be held at the Brookshire Inn 1230-1500.