Donald “Demo” DeMarse

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Donald Lee “Demo” DeMarse, Jr., 67, of Smithton, IL, born April 29, 1955, in East St. Louis, IL, died August 5, 2022, at Memorial Hospital East, Shiloh, IL.

Demo started his business in the basement of a liquor store on 17th Street as Demo’s Pizza Cellar. He then moved to North Belt West and opened Demo’s Sports Bar.  He was a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Belleville, IL. Demo enjoyed golfing, fishing, coaching softball and basketball, and never missed his grandsons’ baseball games. He had a green thumb and loved tending to his yard. Demo was a very generous and giving individual who was always ready to lend a hand to his friends and the community.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald Sr. and Suzanne, nee Gerold, DeMarse; a brother, Chuck DeMarse; and a nephew, Tim Frazier.

He is survived by two daughters, Christine (Mike) Todd and Donyelle (Austin) Theis; four grandchildren, Brady, Austin, and Cody Todd, and Colton Theis; a brother, Gerry (Susan) DeMarse; two sisters, Liz (Tim) Messbarger, and Cynthia (Mike) Biggs; nieces and nephews, Lauren and Megan DeMarse, Austin Frazier, Eric (Katlyn) Frazier, Anna “Toots” (Justin) Dulle, Mike Biggs, Doug (Dawn) Biggs, Jeff (Meaghan) Schoor, and AJ Biggs; many cousins, great-nieces, great-nephews; and dear friends.

The family would like to give special thanks to the fourth floor at Memorial Hospital East and to BJC Hospice for their loving care and concern for Demo and his family.

Memorials may be made to the Althoff Catholic High School Football Program. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, August 11, 2022, and from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, August 12, 2022, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.

 Funeral: Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, August 12, 2022, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.  The family requests that everyone wear their favorite Demo’s attire.

According to Demo’s wishes, cremation will follow the services.

Burial will be at Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery, Belleville, IL, at a later date.

“You don’t gotta go home, but you can’t stay here!” -Demo



31 Comments on Donald “Demo” DeMarse

Steve Kernan said : Guest Report Aug 12, 2022 at 9:18 AM

To the family, please accept my condolences and deepest sympathies. Starting at the Pizza Cellar we solved many of the world’s problems till the wee hours of the morning. He was a great guy who not only will be missed by you, but by hundreds of people!

  • Columbia
  • IL
Carol Monds said : Guest Report Aug 12, 2022 at 8:23 AM

Demo, I sure hope you have someone to cook for you in Heaven. You will be in my thoughts...especially during the Holidays! Lifting a glass for you today! Auntie C

  • Waterloo
  • Ill
Linda&Gary Weber Hammel said : Guest Report Aug 11, 2022 at 3:10 PM

We both knew Demo over the years. Our prayers are with the family at this difficult time.

  • Palmetto
  • FL
Steve Frazier said : Guest Report Aug 11, 2022 at 1:44 PM

So sorry to hear of the passing of your brother (Don), Liz (DeMarse) Messbarger, and husband Tim Messbarger. Don was a man who apparently knew a whole host of people in the Belleville and surrounding areas and will be sorely missed. May he rest in PEACE.

  • Fairview Heights
  • Illinois
Ceil Holzmeier said : Guest Report Aug 11, 2022 at 9:49 AM

I'm very sorry Holts and I are not able to attend the services for Demo. Created lots of fun memories at Demos through the years. Our heartfelt condolences to the entire DeMarse family.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Eric Miller said : Guest Report Aug 11, 2022 at 8:41 AM

Rest in Peace Donny. Prayers for you and your family. The Belleville community and the softball world will miss you. Save us a seat.

  • Swansea
  • Ill
Roxie & Chuck Renner said : Guest Report Aug 11, 2022 at 7:09 AM

Liz & Gerry, please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of Donny. We have lost a wonderful unique and loyal Spirit. No matter when we would run into Demo , he would always treat us as close Friends. I think he treated all his Friends in that same special way. Everyone has a Demo Story. We are out of town and I apologize for not being able to attend Donny’s Wake.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Jason Greenleaf. “Boom” said : Guest Report Aug 08, 2022 at 11:52 AM

Wow can’t believe this sad news as I played against you and then with you and I have so many memories of you Demo. You were awesome to play for and I would of ran though a wall for you as I loved playing for you and drinking plenty of cold beers. You are in my thoughts and Prayers and #72 will be drinking a cold Silver Bullet for you tonight all the way on the east coast up in Maine.

  • Sidney
  • ME
Cheryl Selvey-Frein said : Guest Report Aug 08, 2022 at 11:32 AM

RIP Demo - I remember when we hung out at the Pizza Cellar - such great times!!

  • New Athens
  • IL
John and Jennifer Jobe said : Guest Report Aug 07, 2022 at 9:49 PM

You were the Highlight of softball. You ran the best tournaments: hands down. If it was “A Demos” tournament, We were in.. I knew you since I was 17 and I’m Now 48. You saw my early life with John and you always supported us and me. No questions. No judgement. Ever. Soo many good times and sooo many laughs and fun. Your true home is where you are now at.. let me hear you 👆 there! Hearts are breaking all over the ballparks! An end of an era that no one can ever replace.. we will meet you when it’s our time, may not be a front row seat but maybe you can pull sone strings! Glad I got to see you on the field trips and catch up! Now you got Tubby and Frank up there so make sure you put a good team Together up there too😘

  • Millstadt
  • IL
Stacey Gardner said : Guest Report Aug 07, 2022 at 10:56 AM

Scott and I send our sincerest of sympathies to your families. I didn't know Donnie very well but grew up with Cynthia and Liz on swim team. God Bless you all. Much Love, Stacey

  • St. Louis
  • Mo
David Keim said : Guest Report Aug 07, 2022 at 8:31 AM

Rest in peace Demo, you were loved by so many. First time I meet you was at a softball tournament (who would have guessed) at the Ballpark in O’Fallon. You were tearing up some chicken wings on the deck. You stopped eating, stood up and gave me a very gracious wing sauce handshake! Loved playing softball with and against you, Prayers and condolences to your family and all that loved you.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Rosalie Gibbs said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 9:25 PM

I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. He will always be in your hearts. Praying for your family.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Keith and Mary Dahm- Schell said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 7:09 PM

We lost one of the good ones - way too soon. First met Demo at the Pizza Cellar. When we entered this business, he always gave us support and encouragement. We will never forget your kindness to us. Fly high, friend. Prayers for his family and all those who will miss him.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Dennis w.shevlin said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 4:28 PM

One of the real good will truly be missed.thoughts and prayers to the entire in peace my friend.

  • ,cxxxxxom
  • Xxx
Greg Russell said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 1:52 PM

RIP Demo. We met at SEMO and stayed friends through basketball (He as a coach and I as a referee), softball and a few shenanigans! The world has lost a good guy. See you on the other side.

  • Davenport
  • Florida
Claire Hatch said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 8:44 AM

I met Donnie in high school when I transferred to Althoff and he made me feel so welcome there. We hung out and always stayed friends. We shared the same birthday and he always remembered that. He was a great friend to everyone. He will be sorely missed.

  • IL
Harry greene said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 7:59 AM

Demo and I go back to when he coached at QP and I at St. Mary’s. We continued our friendship thru softball and DEMOs. When I think or hear his name it always brings a smile to my face. Great guy who will be missed in so man ways. Condolences to all who were fortunate to have met Demo.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Herman Smith said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 7:58 AM

So sad to hear about his passing.

  • Fairview Heights
  • Illinois
Gary L. Cox said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 6:41 AM

My sympathies and condolences to the family of my buddy Demo. We met as 19 yr. olds in a class at the old BAC. We were friends ever since. I even took my turn at bartender at the Cellar. He made the best snoots I ever had. Now he and Geno can get together for a night cap again. RIP my friend.

  • Belleville
  • Il
Marby said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2022 at 12:17 AM

So very sorry to hear about Donnie “Demo”. My thoughts and Prayers are with the DeMarse family.

  • Belleville
  • Il said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 10:25 PM

I’m so sad to hear about your passing. Always nice, accommodating, fun to talk to and only crabby once in a while. 🥰 (only because we didn’t want to leave your fun, cozy place.). We were always having to so much fun! Rest In Peace, Donny. You were LOVED SO MUCH by SO MANY!!!

  • Fenton
  • MO
Stephanie said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 10:14 PM

Dear Donyelle, I know your dad was very special to you. He was definitely a GREAT man to raise such a wonderful person like you. I have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. May your Dad be at peace in Heaven. I will pray to my Dad to show your Dad all the good fishing spots in Heaven. With sympathy, Stephanie Berry

  • Mascoutah
  • Illinois
Wally Bergman said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 8:26 PM

RIP my friend! GBNF.

  • Millstadt
  • Il
Tina May-Pierce said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 7:43 PM

My sincere condolences to the family. He contributed so much to youth sports and the community. May he Rest In Peace. Ben and Tina Pierce

  • Bentonville
  • AR
Don Swedo said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 6:33 PM

So sorry to hear this. Although I haven’t seen Demo in a long time there are still a lot of great memories growing up with him Chuck and Gerry. My condolences to his family. May God bless you and help you through this tough time.

  • San Diego
  • Ca
Karen Alvarez said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 4:33 PM

Mike and I are so sorry to hear about Don. We have great memories of him. Prayers of peace for Cynthia and Liz and the entire DeMarse family.

  • Huntsville
  • Al
Brad Harriman said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 4:31 PM

RIP Demo. My condolences to the family.

  • O’Fallon
  • IL
Dennis Dalke said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 4:26 PM

So many friends, so many good times at DEMO’S - the Shuffle Board Capital of the Midwest. RIP my friend .

  • Millstadt
  • Illinois
Barry & Patti Gregory said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 4:08 PM

Our community has lost a good man who I was proud to call a friend. Our Hospitality Industry has lost an icon and a shining example to all businesses. You will be truly missed. Our prayers and sympathy to his family.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Greg Pickerel said : Guest Report Aug 05, 2022 at 4:08 PM

RIP Don. You will be missed. Bye Demo,

  • Belleville
  • Illinois

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