Donald Peter Bins died Friday, March 15, 2019, at the age of 75, of complications resulting from a brain tumor.
Don was born on June 18, 1943 to Harry and Alice Kotil Bins on the Northeast side of Green Bay. This was quite an occasion for the Bins family as Don's only sibling, Jerry, was 11 years old at the time. The whole neighborhood celebrated this almost biblical event. Next-door neighbor George Vanden Busch, who owned the Vanden Busch Bakery on Willow St., even brought over a special cake for the homecoming.
Don was always a special kid from the start. He was born an artist. Don's first exposure to the arts was his kindergarten class at Nicolet School. It was there that Don discovered watercolors and poster paints and immediately started expressing his artistic talents. Moving on to SS. Peter and Paul Grade School, Don was fortunate to have the encouragement of some wonderful Dominican Nuns like Sister Marie Martin to help him grow his passion for expressing himself with color and design. Graduating from Premontre High School in the class of 1961, Don always talked about the guidance he received from his favorite art teacher, Fr. Ralph Schmidt. Upon graduation, Don received a scholarship to the Cleveland School of Arts, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art and Design. Don then went on to receive his Master's Degree at the prestigious Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. His formal education was followed by numerous trips to Europe to study classical art and design first hand.
Don grew up on Morrow St. and life was good in the 1950's. He hung with a bunch of guys his age who all lived on the same block. Their names were Pete Bante, Keith Johnson, Tom Goldbach, Bob VandenBusch, Dick Burkart and Paul Novotny. The "Morrow Street Gang" had a pact going with the neighborhood. The boys respected their neighbors and their property, and in return the neighbors gave them free reign. When life got boring, Don and his friends would ride their bikes to Bay Beach, walk the tracks and camp out near the railroad tressel along Baird Creek, and play Monopoly, Clue, Canasta, Sheepshead and Poker for hours and hours on those long summer days. They would build plane models purchased from Matt's Bay Craft and Hobby shop on Forest Street, watch the night skies for UFO's, and hang around the airport watching planes land.
Entering adulthood, Don used his artistic talents in many ways. Don was an Art Instructor at UWGB for many years. He learned business skills from his father and owned and operated the Berendsen Framing business located on Washington Street in Downtown Green Bay. Don had a great eye for quality art pieces. Don was also a successful licensed appraiser of fine paintings and statuary. Don also owned and operated the McDonald Floral Shop located on South Monroe Street until his retirement.
There was another side of Don that was less open. He had a warm and caring heart and loved to help others in need. Don became involved in helping and supporting others through the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program. Don was always proud to tell people he had 28 years of Sobriety. Don also helped the dying as a Hospice Caregiver. He was able to help young men dying with AIDS and their families as their life came to a tragic end. Don was a true Christian who understood love and forgiveness.
Don will be deeply missed by his brother, Jerry Bins and sister in law Marilyn, his nephews David and Daniel Bins, and his grandniece Alyssa Johnson and grandnephew Andrew Bins. He will also be missed by all his good friends in the A.A. recovery Community, the remaining members of the Morrow Street Gang and so many other people he met and befriended over the years.
Don was preceded in death by his parents and niece Julianne Bins Johnson.
Family and friends, and especially Don, want to thank the staff of Allouez Parkside Village and Unity Hospice for the loving care they provided Don during his last days.
Family and friends will gather together on Saturday, April 13, 2019, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Newcomer Funeral Home (formerly Schauer-Schumacher Funeral Home), 340 S. Monroe Ave., Green Bay., with a memorial service to follow at 12:00 p.m. Entombment will be in the Allouez Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers and other expressions of sympathy, please consider a donation to Unity Hospice in Don's memory.