Donald Frederick Otto Prehn, of Wausau, Wi., passed into the grace of the Lord on August 28, 2017 at his home surrounded by loved ones. He was born June 19, 1927, the eldest of three children, to Dr. Delos Carl and Anita Mueller Prehn. He was 90 years old.

Don graduated from Wausau High School in 1944 at an early age of 16. He attended the Citadel Military College in Charleston, SC for two years before joining the Army toward the end of World War II in 1945. He graduated from Officers Candidates School as a Second Lieutenant and served in the U.S. Army occupation of Japan from 1945-1947 under General Douglas MacArthur. He remained in the Army Reserves until 1951.

After his military service, Don completed a Bachelors Degree in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1949. He was awarded his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1953 from Marquette University School of Dentistry, returning to Wausau to practice first with his father and then his son for more than 39 years. He was involved in many aspects of his profession and believed the relationship between the dentist and patient was one of trust and compassion.

While on summer break from college he met the love of his life Patricia Lee Booth from Springfield, IL. They married in August 1952 and enjoyed life together for more than 64 years until her recent death in 2016. Don and Patte raised their family in Wausau, where he demonstrated his devotion to his family and the community.

Don was involved in Samoset Council BSA for 82 years. He earned the Eagle Scout rank as a boy, then was a Scoutmaster helping over 50 Scouts reach their Eagle rank. Don served on numerous District and Council boards. He was President of the Samoset Council and received the Silver Beaver award, the highest award for a volunteer in Scouting.

Don was a member and President of the Wausau Board of Education, Vestryman and Senior Warden of Episcopal Church of St John the Baptist, played his violin in the Wausau Symphony Orchestra, served on the board of the Wausau Cemetery Association (Pine Grove Cemetery) was President of both the Marathon County Historical Society and Marathon County Dental Society, was Chairman of the dental staff of Wausau Hospitals, and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Central Wausau Progress and Downtown Wausau Association. He was particularly proud of his Presidency of Bear Superior Corporation.

Apart from his community involvements, Don was an active outdoorsman and introduced his new bride to the Wisconsin life: Here they vigorously participated in downhill and nordic skiing, boating, camping and hiking. Don spent his formative years growing up at the family cabin near Rhinelander. He later returned to the Northwoods with his young family, where they experienced all Wisconsin has to offer. Rustic land on the shores of Lake Superior near Ontonagon, MI was a place his family learned the love of land and water. One particular interest was canoeing and his 40 year membership in the Koo Koo Kanoe Club where he and Patte cultivated lifelong friendships. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, spending countless days chasing white tailed deer and fishing the waters of Wisconsin and Canada with his cousins, Kurt and Roy Krahn. Many more hunting and fishing trips would follow and included his sons and son in law.

Other interests included coin collecting and bird watching, but his most recent and enduring legacy was genealogy and his research into the Prehn family in Wisconsin. Both sides of his family, the Prehns and Muellers, were Pioneer Wisconsin families, immigrating to Wisconsin over 150 years ago.

Apart from his time in the military and college, Don spent his entire life in Wausau. He felt profoundly blessed to have been born and raised in the area and was moved to return and give back to the community that had given so much to him. Serving was never a chore, but an honor.

He is survived by his brother David John Prehn (Jill Lower) Jupiter, FL, his children Dr. Ronald Scott Prehn (Linda Rose) of Houston, TX, Constance Prehn Walters (Scott), Wausau, Dr. Frederick Carl Prehn (Linda Edwards), Wausau and Dr. Robert Booth Prehn (Denise Miller), Oshkosh; 16 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Patricia Booth Prehn, his parents and brother Delos C Prehn, Jr.

Visitation will be held Thursday, August 31, 2017 from 5:30-7:30pm at Brainard Funeral Home, 522 Adams Street, Wausau. A funeral service will be held Friday, September 1, 2017 at 11:00am at Episcopal Church of St John the Baptist 330 McClellan Street, Wausau, WI. Visitation will be from 10:00am until time of the service. Burial will be at Pine Cemetery to follow. Brainard Funeral Home – Wausau Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Samoset Council BSA, Episcopal Church of St John the Baptist or Marathon County Historical Society.

Condolences may be given at

Posted in: Wausau Daily Herald

Posted on: 2017-08-30

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