Donald Marvin Fritsch

August 8, 1949September 1, 2020

Donald M. Fritsch, 71, of Ruther Glen, Virginia, passed away on September 1, 2020, surrounded by loved ones. Don is survived by his beloved wife of 28 years, Barbara H. Wiefelstede, his mother Betty L. (Malone) Fritsch, brother Michael D. Fritsch (Deanna), sister Sandy J. Fritsch, and nieces Celina Fritsch and Kathrine Grace Kelly. He was preceded in death by his father Marvin Fritsch. Don was born August 8, 1949, in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from University High School in 1967. He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Education/Biology and Biological Sciences, respectively. For over 40 years, he proudly served as a faculty member and laboratory/building supervisor in the Biology Department of Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA). Don enjoyed nature, witty humor, westerns, music, model trains, and all his pets. He especially loved being on his farm with his Chestnut Oak Stable family. Memorial service will be held at Chestnut Oak Stable on Saturday September 26, at 3:00 P.M. Those attending are asked to wear a mask and bring a chair.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Parkinson’s Foundation:


  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, September 26, 2020


Donald Marvin Fritsch

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Capri Winser

September 23, 2020

When we moved from California in 2000, Chestnut Oak Stables was such a welcoming place, thanks to Don and Barbara. Don was so friendly and always had time to chat. I particularly remember how he enjoyed telling stories of the farm’s history and the ghosts. He will be greatly missed.

Mike Fritsch

September 19, 2020

I have been so blessed to have such a great brother.
Don was 11 years older then me and was off to college when I was 7 years old the memories of my young childhood and everything Don did with me will always leave me a lifetime of memories as a young boy.
Over the years I would see Don at the holidays when he would return home.
Then in my early 30's I joined a home based business that Don also became a part of this led me to go on the road to do speaking events around the country in which I was at Don's on a regular basis.
At this time I got to enjoy my brother on a whole new level as I did as a youngster.
I quickly learned what a great man my brother had become the many trips to there horse farm that he loved so dearly helping out with projects around the farm enjoying the time we had together seeing his strong work ethics and the pride that he had in the farm that Barb and him built it was a dream that they shared together many years of sweat, lafer, love and of course alot of good humor and jokes.
Over the years my many conversations with Don he always talked about the Love of his life Barb who he just adored.
He loved the horse farm that once was a dream that became a reality for Don and Barb his dream was to retire and enjoy his golden years on the farm with his bride.
After Don was struck with this horrible
disease he was in a fight for his life actually it was a war a battle that he new in his mind he would one day loose.
Now the battle is over it is finished there will be no more war rest in peace my dear brother I will always love you and will be forever grateful to have you as my brother.

Angela Potter

September 18, 2020

I met Don in 2010 on an once in life time trip to Virginia then down to Kentucky for World Equestrian Games. Barbara & him are the most loving & nicest people! That trip will be in my memories for ever. Barbara, Don & Molly made this the best trip one could ever want.

Don went thru the Kentucky Horse Park Museum with me. I learned so much & had a blast all at the same time.

I also got to hang out at the stable while I was there with Molly. He loved that farm & the horses. Im totally grateful to Don & Barbara along with Molly!

Helen George

September 7, 2020

Don was so very nice to come help me at a show in stabled near Barbara...I noticed at one of the down times everyone was sitting in chairs and tack trunks lined up in front of the stalls trying to catch a little bit of shade from the overhang. Don and Barbara happened to be sitting next to each other and started chatting and never stopped and never noticed anyone else at the time. Was the start of something grand 💓...Godspeed Don it was a honor to know you...big hugs to Barbara.

Lynda Jordan

September 4, 2020

I have some WONDERFUL memories of Don when I was in Starlight. When Mike would come to a Starlight event Don was usually there too and I loved going out to eat with them and sitting around chatting about everything. We laughed together and always had a fun time! I sure miss those days😞

John Ryan

September 4, 2020

Don gave me the following gifts at the VCU Biology Department Holiday Party:
1. A Hachet. That was the year I had to fire 3 people.
2. A pair of glasses shaped like dollar signs. That was the year I got a new NIH grant. I put them on and told Don "It might be the glasses, but damn you look HOT today!"
3. A yard stick that had written on it: Ryan Rules of Ordering: If it's longer than this stick, don't order it!" That was in 1997, when I ordered a 6-foot biosafety cabinet that had to be lifted into our old decrepit building using a crane, after we cut a window out of the building! Good times.

Don was always jovial and ready to lift people up. I will miss him.

Jill Reid

September 3, 2020

I haven't seen Don in many years, but I think about him often. I have so many fond memories of working with him at VCU. Our jobs (at the time) often overlapped, and we would often have lunch together. He would enthrall me with so many stories of the history of the biology department and faculty. I loved his sense of humor and brilliant gag gifts at the Bio Dept Christmas Parties - I still have many of the ones that I received over the years. I am very saddened to hear of his passing and send my deepest condolences to his family.

Jonathan Moore

September 3, 2020

I met Don in 2001 as a graduate student in VCU Biology. I have nothing but fond memories of him, particularly during the department's holiday party and the spoof gifts he gave out. I still have the Excuse Magic 8 ball he gave me one year. He was a kind and generous man with some of the most entertaining stories in the department. Rest In Peace, my dear man.


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