Cover photo for Don Barnum's Obituary
Don Barnum Profile Photo
1934 Don 2022

Don Barnum

January 13, 1934 — November 27, 2022

Donald Lewis Barnum

Don Barnum passed away Sunday morning, November 27, 2022, after a long, gallantly fought battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Sandy Barnum, his son, Don Barnum Jr., daughter Shelly Barnum Dilley, grand children Rylie Barnum, Ryan Barnum and T.J. Dilley; sister Shirley Johnson, sister-in-law Carolyn Barnum, 15 nieces and nephews and 12 great nieces and nephews that are spread throughout the country. He is predeceased by his mother Marguerite Lumley Barnum, siblings Bob and Clair Barnum, Betty Robertson, Lois (Bee) Warner, in-laws Carl Warner, Dick Johnson and Lynn Barnum and nephew Doug Johnson.

Don was born on January 13, 1934, in Clearwater, Minnesota. He moved with his family as a young child to Belvidere, Illinois where he attended elementary, middle, and high school. Don was a strong athlete in basketball, track, and football. He was given the honor of being on the Belvidere High School All-Century Football Team and held records in track that have only been broken in the last decade. Don worked various jobs in his youth, including being a lifeguard at the Belvidere pool, where he saved several lives. Don attended the University of Illinois, majored in chemistry, and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He then proudly served his country in the Army, stationed in Germany, where he served in the 25th AAA Gun Battalion Division as a radar specialist. He was awarded many medals of honor during his time in service including a National Defense Service medal and an Expert Carbine Rifle medal.

Don’s professional career was mainly in sales, starting in grocery and then with the Keebler Company. He is well remembered by his nieces and nephews for always having cookies for them. His dominant sales career was in the trucking industry, and he was an active member and officer in the Delta Nu Alpha professional organization. At age 60, Don retired and started Don’s Home Repair, where he fixed or built anything and everything. It was his favorite job, helping people with things they were not able to do themselves. Don was an active member at Westminster Presbyterian Church for 54 years. He served as an Elder, Deacon and Usher, chaired many events and was on the building committee that created the new church building on Bell School Road.

Don will be remembered for his broad welcoming smile, powerful voice, his always positive, supportive, gentle, yet strong and reliable way of being in the world. Don was an accomplished carpenter, a passionate gardener, and a man of the utmost integrity. He was a loyal, loving, and present husband, father, papa, uncle, son, brother, and friend.

Don loved to tell jokes and stories, anytime, anywhere. Some good, some bad, some way too long, some that today would be considered politically incorrect, yet all were coming from his loving heart and ended with his infectious laughter. Don never met a stranger. He would talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything. Don also loved to travel and was an excellent photographer. He was way ahead of his time, and ahead of iPhones, with taking multiple photos of essentially the same shot, just to be sure to get the right one. Don loved to collect dated Christmas ornaments, Department 56 Dickens Christmas Village scenes, coins, stamps, every tool imaginable and Barnum Animal Cracker tins.

Most importantly, Don loved his family, friends, and the Lord with all his heart. It is what gave Don his joyful spirit. Don trusted implicitly that one day he would enter the Pearly Gates, meet his Maker and be healed. Don’s family would like to say a special thank you to the loving staff at Fairhaven Christian Retirement Center and ProMedica Hospice that helped carry Don through his last years of life.

If memorials would like to be sent, please send in memory of Don Barnum to Westminster Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund.

Visitation will be held Friday, December 2, 2022 from 9:00 - 10:00 AM followed by a Memorial Service at 10:00 AM located at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2821 N Bell School Rd, Rockford, IL 61107. Military honors and final interment will conclude at the church, immediately following services.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Don Barnum, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Visitation

Friday, December 2, 2022

9:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Friday, December 2, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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