Don had been a resident of The Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows for one month. He was a man of many accomplishments. He began his career at Stegmeyer Furniture as a teen, worked at Etling Skelgas and then for Eidmann Appliances. When Mr. Roy Eidmann retired, he bought the service department and on January 1, 1967, established Appliance Service Co. at 200 North Jackson Street in Belleville, IL. On January 1, 1969, he moved that business to Swansea and changed the name to Don’s Appliance Company. On October 26, 1971, he bought Wade Square Hardware, and it became Don’s Appliance and Hardware. After the loss of his beloved wife, Doris, he became a single father and the children worked in the hardware store by his side. He placed a pinball section in the store, called Don’s Arcade, and counseled many teens against drugs. He set up dance classes to keep teens off the streets. In 1975, he established Don’s Leather Goods within the store and on September 1, 1978, he established Don’s Hardware, Inc. He taught refrigeration at a branch of SIU and BAC in East St. Louis. He had never graduated high school and his students kidded him about it. So, he decided to get his GED when he was in his fifties. In 1996, he built Don’s Parts Center on Lebanon Avenue. If he could assist anyone in any way, he never failed to do so.
By his own description he was a “semi-celebrity” in Belleville. His radio and television commercials with their corny jokes endeared him to many people in the metro-east area. His slogan “Don’t Sleep With a Drip” never failed to bring a smile. He was a volunteer firefighter with East Side Fire Protection District, a member of the Belleville Loyal Order of Moose, an avid midget race car fan, a member of Team Chocolat for Relay of Life, a dedicated volunteer at Jail and Bail and a member of Blessed Sacrament Parish. He received Belleville Jaycee’s “Outstanding Citizen Award” for 2002. For over 20 years he brought joy to hundreds of children as Santa Claus and only stopped when his hearing became inadequate. He married for the third time at the age of 74 and built a new store, Don’s Hardware and Parts Center, on Boul Avenue in Swansea at the age of 75.
He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who touched the lives of others in measures beyond words. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Flora, nee Maul, Bujnak; wife, Doris, nee Eltrich, Bujnak; daughter, Beverly Rinehimer; a granddaughter, Michelle Rinehimer, in infancy; wife, Annabelle, nee Stanley, Bujnak; three brothers, Edward (Rosemary Macke) Bujnak, Delmar (Louise Hollingsworth) Bujnak, and Merlyn “Butch” Bujnak; three sisters, Delores (Wayne) Sarver, Judith (Frank) Kube, and Charlotte, in infancy; two sisters-in-law, Marian Eltrich and Mary Sellers; two step sons-in-law, Brian Mungai and Ron McCutchen Jr.; and a godson, Kenny Bujnak.
Surviving are his wife, Jean, nee Steinman, Bujnak;
two sons, Mark Bujnak (Deborah Weber) and Kevin (Kathy) Bujnak;
two daughters, Linda (Thomas) Hassall and Donna (Ronald) Homrighausen;
a son-in-law, Bruce Rinehimer;
four step-daughters, Wendy (Mike) Christ, Dawn (Eric) Roeckenhaus, Kelly Mungai, and Beth Richter;
five grandchildren, Michael (Jamie) Bujnak, Kyle Bujnak (Chelsie Wagner),
Katie Bujnak, Brianna Rinehimer (Eric Polka), and Dale Hassall;
two great-grandchildren, Parker and Kennedy Bujnak;
12 step-grandchildren, Mariah, Nicholas and Abby Christ, Tara (Russel) Sudholt,
Joshua Roeckenhaus, Taylor and Sophia Mungai, Austin Richter,
Jesse McCutchen, Terra McCutchen, Ronnie McCutchen III, and Brendan McCutchen;
five step-great-grandchildren, Ethan George, Brooklynn Wallace, Rayna and Riley McCutchen, and Stella Sudholt;
a sister-in-law, Mary, nee Bauman, Bujnak;
two brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Donald and Elsa, nee Engel, Eltrich and Paul and Jean Steinman;
a brother-in-law, Ronald Sellers;
many nieces and nephews;
and a godson, Brad Eltrich.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation or to Blessed Sacrament Parish. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may visit with the family from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, October 16, 2017, and from 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.
Funeral: Funeral procession will leave at 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 17, 2017, from George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, for a 10:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, with Fr. Matthew Elie officiating.
Burial will be at Valhalla Gardens of Memory, Belleville, IL.