Donald D. “Don” Ziska

Donald D. “Don” Ziska

June 4, 1939 – February 8, 2022

Preceded in death by parents; grandchild, Derek Michael Busch; brother, Gene Ziska; sister, Marilyn Breiner.  Survived by wife, Teresa Ziska; children: David Ziska (Lori), Scott Ziska, Mary Busch, Laura Symons (Geoff); ten grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brother, Dennis Ziska (Susan).

VISITATION: Friday, February 11th from 5pm to 7pm, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm, all at West Center Chapel.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL:  Saturday, February 12th at 10am at St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church, 16701 “S” Street.  Interment: Resurrection Cemetery Saturday, February 12th at 1:30pm.  Memorials are suggested to Conception Seminary and St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church.

To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please go to and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.


Donald “Don” Ziska is survived by wife, Teresa; children: David Ziska (Lori), Scott Ziska, Mary Busch and Laura Symons (Geoff); ten grand-children; two great-grandchildren; brother, Dennis Ziska (Susan); brother-in-law, Russ Breiner; numerous nephews and nieces.  He was preceded in death by parents, Arthur and Agnes Ziska; brother, Gene Ziska; sister, Marilyn Breiner (Russ); grandson, Derek Michael Busch.

Don was born in Stuart, Nebraska on June 4, 1939.  He spent his early years on the family farm near Stuart and Atkinson, Nebraska.  Don attended grade school at a country school and went to St. Joseph High School in Atkinson for two years before transferring to a seminary in Carthage, Missouri to complete high school.  He then attended Conception Seminary where he received his degree in Philosophy.  After graduation, Don moved to Omaha, Nebraska and worked at the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital before joining the VA Health Care System.  Don enjoyed working with veterans for 35 years.  He moved throughout the country working in nine different cities in several roles including recreation therapist, human resources specialist and management analyst before he retired as a VA Director in Knoxville, Iowa in 1999.  While working for the VA in Pittsburgh he took time out to complete his Master’s Degree in Hospital Management.

Don’s family was the joy of his life.  He enjoyed family get-togethers most of all.  Photography was a hobby that he pursued with a passion right up until his final days.  Don enjoyed travelling and made several trips overseas where he was always able to indulge his passion for photography. 

He never met a stranger.  His love of people and travel gave him fodder to enhance his talent for telling stories which were always interesting and usually amusing.  Don was a kind and gentle man who encouraged pursuits of family and friends ever celebrating accomplishments be they big or small.  His kind support was an inspiration to many.

Don passed away peacefully at home on February 8, 2022.




  • David Kentsmith Posted February 9, 2022 7:24 pm

    Wonderful, kind and caring person who served veterans and provided them with the highest standards of care. Such a highly professional person. A giving person and everyone’s friend. I enjoyed so much the privilege of working and serving with Don.

  • Rita & Dave Gerrish Posted February 10, 2022 10:10 am

    Our hearts go out to the entire Ziska family especially our sister Teresa. We will miss Don; but will remember all the good times together through the years. We love you, Teresa!

  • Jamie Mulder Posted February 10, 2022 11:14 am

    Teresa, Kathy called me and I am so sorry to hear about Don. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Wishing you all love and peace.
    Jamie – from Monday night meetings 🙂

  • Mike Shamburg Posted February 10, 2022 1:54 pm

    It was wonderful to become friends with Don back in 2019 – what a funny, caring and beautiful man! Don, you will be greatly missed, although our loss is heaven’s gain, Pray for us Don!

  • Alice Woll Posted February 10, 2022 3:54 pm

    Teresa and family. My deepest sympathy goes out to you as you cope with Don’s loss. May the Lord hold you in his arms and help you find comfort in your family memories. I will hold Don and all of you in my prayers. Alice Woll

  • Tim and Janice (Ziska) Friedel Posted February 11, 2022 11:51 am

    Our deepest sympathy to all of Don’s family. I remember him as such a joyous man with a contagious laugh. Prayers to all of you in the days ahead.

  • David Post Posted February 11, 2022 12:54 pm

    So sorry for your loss.

  • Jeffrey Hogue Posted February 11, 2022 5:20 pm

    To Teresa and the family, may you find peace in that the pain and fight is over and Don can rest in the Lord.

  • Michael Gallagher Posted February 11, 2022 6:38 pm

    I was recently thinking about Don and Teresa – was planning on finding them and having a nice chat about good times while we were working for the VA Health Care System in Iowa, primarily in Knoxville. I worked at 8 different Medical Centers and 2 years at our Central Office in Washington, DC. I can clearly say that Don Ziska was my favorite Director. Simply one of the good guys. We both enjoyed our time out side of work being involved with Community Theater. Don was a natural – a good actor – Singer – an organizer. I was happy to introduce Don to the local Rotary Club that gave in a fast track to get to know many people in the Community of Knoxville – Don and Teresa quickly became popular Community Leaders. Working for Don was a pure pleasure and a highlight of my own career. Thank You Don for the wonderful memories – you made your mark and will certainly be missed and never forgotten. Best wishes to Teresa and the rest of the Ziska Family.

  • Alan Sooho Posted February 11, 2022 9:04 pm

    I got a big career boost when I came to work Don in Knoxville in 1995. He helped me grow professionally and personally. For what he did for me, I am grateful. My deep condolences to the family on a great loss.

  • Kris Schwarz Posted February 11, 2022 10:09 pm

    Our prayers and sympathies go out to Teresa and her family. You are loved with an ever-lasting love!

  • Amy Hallenbrooik Posted February 12, 2022 11:00 am

    To Teresa and the family, Darrell, Audrey and I are so sorry to hear that Don has passed. I am so glad that I went with Laura to Nebraska and got to spend that week with you at your home and really see Omaha. Don was such a fun, hospitable and wonderful person. Love and light to all of you, sending hugs from California.

  • John & Carletta Canada Posted February 16, 2022 8:55 am

    Sending love and sympathy to all of you in the passing of your dad. Don was a kind and loving man, always wanting to help others. The years we were neighbors were such fun years! Your dad helped us set up our first stereo set. We loved sitting on the on the patio and visiting with your mom & dad. We were the recipient of many wonderful vegetables from your dad’s garden. One time we went out of town for the weekend so your dad organized a soup supper for us when we got home. He had the vegetables, Gary Schnell provided the meat and the other neighbors added to the pot of soup. When we drove onto our driveway, your dad came over and said “soups ready!” Thats just one example of how kind he was

    Sending our love and condolences to all of you! Don was a wonderful, kind man with a great sense of humor. and fun to be around! He was a very special man! He will be missed by many!

  • Andrew Busch Posted February 18, 2022 1:06 am

    I don’t really know if you’re supposed to write on your own grandpa’s obit. But after reading John and Carletta’s note, I just have to say thank you for the memory you shared. Your memory is so special to me and encapsulates my grandpa Don’s special brand of love. Whether it was a baseball game, a science center, or a visit to the botanical garden, my grandpa always made it a point to take time to love me and enrich my curiosity. He was a present and thoughtful man who I hope to emulate as a father and future grandfather. A truly good man. I’m going to miss him for the rest of my life.

  • Philip R. Laughlin Posted February 21, 2022 2:55 pm

    Teresa. WE just learned of Don’s passing. You have our deepest condolences. We remember well the fine visit we had with you and Don at the Engler’s 50th wedding celebration. God’s peace be with you and your family.

    Ruth and Phil Laughlin.

  • David & Betsy Dettmann Posted February 21, 2022 4:06 pm

    Profound sympathies to Teresa and family. Greatly enjoyed working with Don during his Director years at the Knoxville VA. His interest and appreciation in personally knowing names and experiences of the employees and patients at the hospital and his many genuine involvements with the community made him stand out as a VA Director. Most memorable were his participation with the employee Christmas caroling on the patient units followed by Christmas cheer at his Director’s quarters, and his involvement with the VA Employee Wellness walking group’s litter pick-up events, and the annual Arbor Day tree planting on the campus.

  • Jim & Fran Wadle Posted February 21, 2022 5:10 pm

    Dear Teresa & Family, Don was a pleasure to work with, He was an asset to the V A system in general and to especially to Knoxville, Ia VAMC.

  • Fr. Charles Fladung Posted February 22, 2022 11:12 am

    Teresa and family, my love and heart goes out to you upon Don’s passing. I remember how much Don helped so many veterans at the VA. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let the perpetual light shine upon him. Love Fr. Charles Fladung

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