Dr. Donald James Grandgenett
April 21, 1932 – April 5, 2020
Dr. Donald James Grandgenett was born April 21, 1932. He passed away on April 5, 2020 at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Don was born and raised in Little Sioux, Iowa and exceled in academics and sports. After serving as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, including a combat tour during the Korean War, Don returned to Omaha and studied in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska Omaha. After earning his Bachelor’s degree, he taught at George Norris Middle School and became a favorite teacher of many students. He studied for his Master’s Degree at Wichita State University and for his Doctorate at Arizona State University. He taught as a professor at UNO in the Department of Teacher Education for 33 years, where he won various outstanding teaching awards, took students on international trips, and served as a part-time pitching coach for the baseball team.
As part of his service work at UNO, Don helped many educators and business professionals become more effective communicators through the many listening, non-verbal behavior, and speaking skills clinics he presented in the Midwest.
He married the love of his life, Jeanette Ann (Kavanda) Grandgenett on October 1, 1955.
Don was preceded in death by his father, Nealy Grandgenett; mother,Waneita Grandgenett; sisters, Bettie Volk, Cathy Grosskopf, brother Dwaine Grandgnett; father-in-law, Frank Kavanda, mother-in-law, Anne Kavanda.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 64 years, Jeanette Grandgenett; son Nealy Grandgenett (Anne) grandchildren Nicholas Grandgenett, Hanna Grandgenett, Emily Grandgenett; daughter Suzanne (Grandgenett) Allen (James), grandchildren Jacob Allen, Stephanie Sabin (Matt) great-grandson Carter, Samantha Allen, Skylar Allen; son Reed Grandgenett (Wendy) grandchildren Megan (Grandgenett) Dolney (Lowell), Ryan Grandgenett (Molly), Drew Grandgenett; son Michael Grandgenett (Roxanne) grandchildren, Randi Grandgenett, Cory Grandgenett, Jared Grandgenett; brothers Dr. Dwight Grandgenett (Rita), Roger Grandgenett (Nancy), Richard Grandgenett (Lynda); sister, Dr. Myrna Grandgenett (Nancy Flaherty); brother-in-law, Scott Grosskopf; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues, and a multitude of dear friends.
Don’s passion in life was first and foremost spending as much time as he could with his family and being an incredible husband, father, grandfather, sibling, and uncle to all. He never missed a youth sporting event, graduation, wedding, or event of any kind that his children or grandchildren were involved with. His other passion was teaching and mentoring thousands of students over his long and distinguished career in education.
One of Dad’s favorite sayings was “Be the brightest flame you can when you are here so that when you leave, the loss of light will be noticeable.” No one we have ever known had a flame that burned brighter than Don’s. His words, and more importantly his actions, touched, mentored, inspired, and loved so many in his 87 years on this earth. While the flame of his earthly existence has been extinguished, we know that his heavenly flame will eternally burn with an intense brightness.
So many people have shared stories about Don with concrete and specific examples of how he helped them. Don’s amazing legacy of demonstrated caring and actions of love show that he truly “walked the walk” and didn’t just “talk the talk.”
Funeral and internment services will be private. However, you can “virtually attend” the services, and share a story about Don with the family, by visiting the Heafey, Hoffmann, Dworak and Cutler funeral home website: heafeyheafey.com. A Memorial Mass and Reception will be held at a later date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested toward a new scholarship for undergraduate teacher education students being established in Don’s name by the family. These memorials may be sent to the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit the UNO College of Education Scholarship Fund (01108310), 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln, NE 68508, or contributed online at: https://nufoundation.org/fund/01108310/ . With either process, please include a note (if online in the Tribute box) that says: Dr. Donald Grandgenett Scholarship Fund.