Donald A. Biess
November 3, 1932 – October 2, 2019
Donald Anthony Biess, born November 3, 1932 to Stanislaus and Bernice Biess, was reunited in heaven with his beloved wife Jeannette, on October 2, 2019.
Don, along with his brothers George and Robert, and sister Patricia, grew up on Chopin Street in Detroit’s west side. He attended Chadsey High School where he discovered his passion for music, studying and becoming an accomplished trumpet player. He performed in the marching band and orchestra, and a variety of jazz bands – this skill, and love of music, he carried throughout his life.
Don was called to serve his country during the Korean War; his musical talent earned him an assignment stateside in Colorado’s Fort Collins. He played in a number of Army field bands and once performed for President Eisenhower. He met and married the love of his life, Detroit native Jeannette Veronica Mateja, in 1959, and shortly thereafter in 1960, was honorably discharged from the service.
Jeannette and Don started their life together in Detroit, then in 1962, moved to Westland to raise their family. For nearly two decades, Don worked in sales at automotive supplier Wolverine Tube; he retired from Farmington Hill-based machine tool manufacturer Star Cutter in 1995.
Don spent his summers golfing, snagging league trophies that confirmed his natural talent on the links. A lifelong member of the Detroit Federation of Musicians, AFM Local 5, he shared his musical talent in a variety of local bands performing at parties, weddings, dances, and festivals. He was particular to big band and swing music, and had the ‘chops’ to play even the most demanding solos. Don also shared his musical talent as a tutor, coaching, training and transforming many students into respected musicians.
Don and Jeannette resided in Westland until Jeannette’s death in 1999; they were members of St. Kevin’s Parish, then later Ss. Simon and Jude. Shortly after he lost his wife, he moved to Livonia to be closer to his fraternal twin sister Patricia, and her husband Ray. He was a member of St. Theodore’s Parish.
He is also preceded in death by his brother George (Marvel) Biess, Robert (Francis) Biess, and, his son-in-law, Mark Azure.
Loving husband, father, grandfather, and uncle to many, Don is survived by sister Patricia (Raymond) Kuzsa, and four children: Donna (Donald) Schmeichel, Robert (Barbara) Biess, Carol (Keith) Rochon, and Nancy (Corey) Childs; and grandchildren Daniel and Derek Schmeichel; Nicole, Matthew, Michael, and Natalie Rochon; Rachel, and Rebecca Azure; and, Jack and Brooklyn Childs.
Friends and family are invited to celebrate Don’s life beginning Thursday, October 10 at Harry J. Will Funeral Home on Six Mile Road in Livonia from 4:00 to 9:00pm. We will gather at 1:00pm on Friday, October 11 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 830 S. Lafayette St., South Lyon prior to a mass in Don’s honor. Following mass, please join the family for a luncheon at Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center, 8768 N. Territorial Road, Plymouth 48170.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
- VH1 Save the Music Foundation
- Memorial Gathering Thursday, October 10, 2019
- Rosary Service Thursday, October 10, 2019
- Memorial In State Friday, October 11, 2019
- Memorial Mass Friday, October 11, 2019
Donald A. Biess
October 8, 2019
Done was a very nice man and neighbor. I appreciated Don's care and concern for our community. I will miss seeing you Don. May you rest in peace. -Robin Piche
October 4, 2019
I will never forget being at lunch with Aunt Pat and Uncle Don after my dad's viewing. They were bickering about who was right about something, like they were still kids, and it was so funny! It was a tough time and I appreciated the laughter they gave me.