Cover photo for Donald J. Nuffer's Obituary
Donald J. Nuffer Profile Photo

Donald J. Nuffer

May 18, 1946 — May 8, 2023

Donald James Nuffer, “Mr. Nuffer”, “Mr. Wonderful”, took the Lord’s hand, as he peacefully traveled to his heavenly home while surrounded by his loving wife and daughters on May 8, 2023 in Greenbush, Michigan at the age of 76. Don, “dad” is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Sandra Nuffer of Greenbush, MI and proud daughters, Buffy Beranek (Travis Edwards) of Wabasha, MN and Heather Loyer (Jason Loyer) of Harrisville, MI. Papa Don is survived by his biggest pride and joy, four amazing grandchildren, Jennifer Beranek of Kansas City, MO; Nicholas Beranek St. Paul, MN; Luke Loyer of Detroit, MI; and Anna Loyer of Kalamazoo, MI. Don is survived by his older brother Phillp Nuffer (Judy Nuffer) of Elbert, CO and three nephews and their families, Scott, Stuart and Shawn Nuffer, all of Colorado. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, George and Imogene Nuffer of Glennie MI. Don was born on May 18, 1946 and raised in Bay City, MI where he attended Zion Lutheran School until moving north with his family to open Nuffer’s Grocery Store in Glennie MI. Don’s outgoing and fun personality made friendships and involvement in numerous activities and clubs easy. As Student Council President, he unknowingly crowned his future wife, Sandra Pagels, Homecoming Queen! Don graduated from Oscoda High School in 1964, and his football skills and leadership as Co-Captain led him to a collegiate scholarship to play for Weber State University. Don and Sandy were married on June 23, 1967. Shortly thereafter, Don graduated from Northern Michigan University with a degree in Education. After moving to Greenbush, MI he began working for Oscoda Area Schools as a Physical Education and Science teacher. Don loved teaching. He loved being a Jr. High teacher! Don took great pride in being a coach of wrestling, track, girls basketball, football and baseball and often a life mentor. He believed in people and their potential, both academically and athletically. When first married, Don and Sandy established Nuffer's Antique’s and together, enjoyed many years of attending auctions and yard sales, searching for, refinishing, collecting and selling antiques. Don was known for his love of finding a good bargain and taught his skill of negotiating and dickering to his daughters and grandchildren. The 100 mile yard sale in MN was a dream come true! There were many years of memories made with his family and friends at the hunting camp, with a good campfire, reading, looking for morals, hunting, trailing, cutting wood and escaping quicksand and bear! At their cottage in MN, Don enjoyed kayaking, trapping, fishing, hunting, and watching for eagles. Don’s appreciation and respect of nature is embedded in his children and grandchildren as they value and appreciate its peace and beauty. Don was a man of service. In addition to teaching, he was employed by Alcona EMS, saving lives and providing comfort to individuals in their final moments. Don received a Special Tribute by the State of Michigan for his life saving measures in the hope that everyone will take note of his example of helping others. He also served on the Alcona School Board of Education for many years representing teachers and was proudly instrumental in the construction of the current Alcona Elementary building. Don retired in 1993 after 30 years of teaching and coaching. To this day, he is still remembered as the GOAT by the students he once taught and coached and respected by his fellow teachers, staff and administrators. Don’s competitiveness, hard work, determination and “NEVER GIVE UP” philosophy continues to thrive in his daughters, grandchildren and others that he interacted with. After retiring, Don was able to engage more in his outdoor life passions, began making birdhouses, and walking sticks. He faithfully attended his grandchildren's school and sporting events and enthusiastically cheered them on. He loved ice cream and an occasional good cigar or pipe! Don was known to joke around and tease those around him. He was an avid reader of westerns and had great respect for Native Americans, their culture, and their perseverance. Don loved deer – he loved to watch them, hunt them, shoot them and eat them. He is remembered by many as a friend and by the lucky ones, as a hunting buddy. His children remember him as an amazing dad. Their dad was loving, humorous, supportive, and a positive role model. He taught them the importance of giving, saving, kindness, faithfulness, and resilience. He made “his girls” say “I feel terrific” every morning before school! He taught them the value and respect of nature and embedded in them the love and peace of the outdoors. He instilled in them the meaning of family and encouraged them to love, be loved, and to pursue their goals. Make a difference, live with purpose. A private memorial for the immediate family is planned to take place in Wabasha, MN at a future date, in a place where Don shot his big buck and saw the Chief in full headdress on his horse. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN; the Alcona County Library or Hospice of Michigan. The family would like to thank the amazing medical staff at MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena, MyMichigan Therapists, Alcona Commission on Aging, and Hospice of Michigan for their loving care and help. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald J. Nuffer, please visit our flower store.


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