Donald Tillisch

donald tillisch

December 12, 1940 ~ December 19, 2022

Born in: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Resided in: Fargo, North Dakota

Donald’s Funeral Service and Military Honors:

Donald’s Vigil Service will be livestreamed below at 7 pm

Donald Clayton Tillisch died peacefully, at home, on December 19, 2022, having just turned 82. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on December 12, 1940, to Clayton and Dorothy Tillisch. Soon after that they moved to Moorhead, where he went to St. Joseph’s Catholic school and then, Moorhead High School, graduating in 1958. He graduated from MSU with a degree in accounting and then NDSU with a Master’s in Business.

He was very proud to have served two tours in Vietnam, attaining the rank of Captain. He also completed the elite Ranger training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Don received many commendations, including the Bronze Star. Unfortunately, he was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and as a result, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma four years ago.

Don fought the cancer with dignity, never losing faith. He never once complained about his situation. He and his wife together did everything they could to try to beat the cancer.

When he was young, Don spent summers at Pelican Lake with his family and friends. His claim to fame is that he was the first to barefoot ski on that lake! His other claim to fame was he played guitar as Brian Shannon of Brian Shannon and the Tornadoes in the Bobby Vee era.

After returning from Vietnam, Don worked a few years in Minneapolis in accounting and at 3M. He then moved to Moorhead, where he worked in residential real estate. After attaining the distinguished designation of CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member), he focused on commercial real estate investment.

After his first wife died, he courageously raised his two young daughters, Jessica and Jennifer, as a single Dad, while working full time. A few years later, Don met his wife, Janet, as she was Pediatrician for his girls. Janet and Don then had a son, Patrick. He and his wife were rarely apart, especially during his illness.

Don was always family-oriented. His family was always first and he took great care of them. He loved to travel and took his kids to almost all 50 states. Most summer weekends were on Pelican Lake. He coached his son’s teams in football and baseball. He also volunteered many hours with the Fargo Flyers hockey team. Don was an avid sports fan, always favoring the Bison and the Viking football teams. He himself remained active and fit, enjoying jogging, biking, downhill skiing (skiing until his illness), golfing, boating, and fishing. And, of course, he loved his black labs, having a total of about 14.

Don was a great conversationalist and could talk with anyone, making them feel comfortable. He attended daily Masses frequently, and we can count on one hand the times he missed Sunday Mass, until he became ill. He loved having coffee with the group after daily Mass, his Moorhead High School buddies twice a week in Moorhead, and occasionally his Fargo group at Cashwise. He has been best described as a “gentleman and a gentle man”.

Don is survived by his devoted, loving wife Janet of 40 years; daughter Jessica Rademacher (Jeff and grand dog, Roo, Fargo); daughter Jennifer (Fargo); son Patrick (Raibya and grand dogs, Delta and Bridger, Calgary, Alberta); his current Black Lab, Jake; Brothers: Bruce (Kathy), Jack; Sisters: Kaylynn Christianson (Carmen); Jill O’Leary (Kevin), and lots of extended family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clayton and Dorothy, and a brother Craig, plus about 13 labs.

In lieu of flowers, you can donate to the VFW, Nativity Church, or a charity of your choice.

Donald’s Video Tribute can be viewed below:


Prayer Service - Monday: December 26, 2022 7:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103


Visitation - Monday: December 26, 2022 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103


Funeral Mass - Tuesday: December 27, 2022 11:00 am

Nativity Catholic Church, Fargo
1825 S 11th St.
Fargo , North Dakota 58103

(701) 232-2414

Visitation - Tuesday: December 27, 2022 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Nativity Catholic Church, Fargo
1825 S 11th St.
Fargo , North Dakota 58103

(701) 232-2414


Holy Cross Cemetery South, Fargo
7000 38th St SW
Fargo, North Dakota 58104

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The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Donald Tillisch 's name.

Nativity Catholic Church

1825 11th St S
Fargo, North Dakota
(701) 232-2414

The VFW Post 762

202 Broadway N
Fargo, North Dakota
(701) 235-8243

Memories Timeline

Photo Gallery


  1. Janet. Jessica, Jennifer & Patrick, his sisters, brothers, the whole Tillisch Family. My heart, is heavy, with Don’s passing. He was such a kind & compassionate man, witty, very kind to me when I was part of the family . My deepest heartfelt, prayers, hugs & love. My God give you, peace, strength & the Blessed Memories of Don. Sincerely, Renae Dronen

  2. Dr Tillisch and Family
    So sorry for your loss. Don was such a wonderful man and always a joy to converse with! He was always sure to ask about my son Jack–even when I hadn’t seen him for over year or so! Take comfort in family and friends, thinking of you, blessings.

  3. Janet and Patrick sorry to hear Don passed away. We had a lot of good times playing Fargo Flyer hockey. Patrick your dad was a good guy. Your were so blessed to have a wonderful dad. Our prayers are with your family.

  4. Janet and Patrick, We are so sorry to hear of Don’s passing. What a wonderful person! So many fond memories of hockey and our boys playing together. We can still hear him saying “Gotta protect the puck”. Take care and blessings to your family.

  5. I met Don when many years ago he was helping my now late father and I with some commercial real estate dealings. Fresh out of the service myself, Don was very motivating, a good man and a real professional. I had the pleasure of meeting his wife Janet when she became the pediatrician for our two daughters. A fine doctor was she. My heartfelt sympathies to Dr. Janet and the entire family.

  6. My condolences to the family. I worked with Don for a short period 73-74. We were both challenged by our then employer so we had that in common.

    Though we came from different backgrounds I bonded with him almost immediately as I felt we both shared the same basic values.

    Don was a quality guy in every respect.

  7. Janet,
    There are no words, just alot of wonderful memories. This has been happening way too often.
    Condolences to the whole Tillisch family.
    Cookie Ebsen

  8. Bruce, Kathy, and Family,
    Please accept my condolences in the loss of your brother and family member.
    Former neighbor Barbara Werre

  9. Dear Janet and family. We were deeply saddened to learn of Don’s death.
    He was so friendly and a wonderful lake neighbor. We enjoyed our many conversations.

  10. My heart hurts for your family . Only met don a couple of times . You will all miss him dearly . Jess Janet Jennifer and Patrick hold your memories close in your heart . Rsp don. Say hello to my Jerry

  11. Dr. Tillisch and family, Our deepest sympathy to you during this difficult time. May God Bless you with wonderful memories. With prayers for peace🙏🙏

  12. Tillisch Family, So Sorry for your loss. Our deepest sympathy to you. Don was a wonderful person. We have found memories of when he coached with my deceased husband, Murray. Many laughs were encountered.
    You are in our prayers.
    Mary McManus and family

  13. Janet and family. So sorry to hear of Don’s passing. He was a great guy and friend. Always happy to see each other the few times we were together over the last few years. Our heartfelt sympathy to you all. Tom and Carol Schmallen

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