Donald A. Decker, 81, of Eldridge, formerly of Davenport, died Sunday, March 28, 2021, in his home.
Donald Ambers Decker was born Sept. 18, 1939, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the eldest child of Ambers Decker, a self-taught boiler engineer, and his devoted wife Mayme (Early) Decker, who had left their home and family in Kentucky to make a life for themselves in Cincinnati. He never forgot their roots and shared their love for all of his family “down home.”
He graduated from the elite Walnut Hills High School, Cincinnati. In 1962, he became the first child of the Decker family to graduate from college, with a business degree from the University of Cincinnati, followed by his CPA. After brief stints with Amtrak and the IRS, the Quad Cities called to him in 1971 with a tax accounting job at the firm of McGladrey and Pullen, where he rose to partner. After a decades-long career serving local people and businesses and building lifelong friendships, he launched a second career as an investment advisor with R.W. Baird, where he continued to serve the community for 10 years until his “retirement,” which did not slow him down at all.
He met his soulmate Constance Ann Ruffley on a blind date in high school. They were never apart again. They married in 1961 and adopted five children, who they raised in a home filled with love and laughter. Their love was an inspiration to many. Not to be separated in this life, they reunited in heaven three weeks and three days after Connie passed away. They will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on April 15 (Tax Day, of course).
Don’s motto was “Knowledge is power.” An avid reader his entire life, his family called him “Bear” for the way he would curl up and hibernate with his books. His greatest regret was not becoming a teacher, but he had something to teach everyone who knew him, through his plainspoken wisdom and the example of his life.
He was a man of many passions: history, arts, college sports (go Hawkeyes!), and blues, the grittier the better. He played poker with the same friends for 40 years. He ended each day the same way, relaxing with a fine bourbon and a cigar, surrounded by his greatest passion of all, his family.
Anyone who reads the local paper knows about Don’s many years of bold, take-no-excuses leadership in the community, which earned him the nickname “Demolition Don” (and sometimes less polite things, a fact he was proud of.) He was a man of strong beliefs and stronger personality. Dogged, straightforward, exuberant, and always a man of his word. No one told a better story. For Don, the grass was green on both sides. His parting words were always “Kick ass and take names, kid.” He was adored by his 15 grandchildren, his nieces and nephews, and countless Kentucky cousins. He touched all of their lives deeply, and his memory will abide with them forever.
He is preceded in death by his loving daughter, Katti Decker, brother Larry (Connie) Decker, and parents Ambers and Mayme. Survivors include: brother David (Pat) Decker, Linda (Charlie) Vaughan, son Keith (Silvia) Decker, daughter Kelli (Mike) Zban, daughter Kerri (Brent) Schmidt, son Kip (Jen) Decker; grandchildren: Hannah, Dylan, Sean, Haley, Fisher, Lily, Decker, Kendyl, Kamber, Gabi, Ellie, Oliver, Zach, Zoe, Zavier; many cousins, his devoted health aides, and his cat Hazel.
A Celebration of Life will be held to honor both Don and Connie Decker and celebrate their 60th anniversary on April 17, at the Davenport Outing Club from 4-7 p.m. The family welcomes all who knew them to join them in telling Don and Connie “Kick ass and take names, kids.” Cremation will take place at Trimble Crematory under the direction of Trimble Funeral Home, Moline. Memorials may be made to the Donald Decker Memorial Fund, which will be established in his honor.
Don’s family invites friends to share stories and condolences at TrimbleFuneralHomes.com.