Donald C. Watchorn
July 10, 1926 - October 20, 2017

Donald C. Watchorn

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I served in the armed forces.
Donald C. Watchorn age 91 of Fremont
passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends on October 20, 2017.

Don was preceded in death by his wife Joan, parents Walter and Pearl, 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Don is survived by his daughter Carolee and son-in-law Patrick Cronin of Fremont, grandson Andy(Trisha) Cronin of Tumwater, WA and granddaughters Colleen (Tanner) Cronin Daum of St. Louis, MO, Kelly(Travis) Cronin Blecha of Omaha, and Mary Kate Cronin of Denver, sister Donna (Eslick) of Atlantic, IA and great grandsons Deacon and Evan Cronin and Jack Daum.

Don was born in North Bend, on July 10, 1926 and raised in Ponca, NE. Don enlisted in the US Navy following graduation from Ponca High school and served on the USS Windham Bay in the Pacific during World War II. While Don had a distinguished 40 year career as a Football Coach and Athletic Director at locations including Ponca High, Schuyler High, Omaha University/UNO, and Midland Lutheran College, he will always be remembered for the relationships he established with student-athletes, staff and coaching peers, and family and friends.

Visitation will be Monday at the Ludvigsen Mortuary Chapel in Fremont from 3pm to 8pm with the family present from 6pm to 8pm. The funeral will be Tuesday 10am at First Lutheran Church in Fremont. Burial will be in Memorial Cemetery with Military Honors.

Memorials are suggested to Ponca Community Educational Foundation, 505 3rd Street, Ponca, NE 68770

Online guestbook at

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Monday, October 23, 2017
3:00pm to 8:00pm
Ludvigsen Mortuary - Fremont
1249 E. 23rd St.
Fremont, NE  68025
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Monday, October 23, 2017
Family present from 6-8
Ludvigsen Mortuary - Fremont
1249 E. 23rd St.
Fremont, NE  68025
Map & Directions

Funeral Service
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
First Lutheran Church
3200 East Military Avenue
Fremont, NE  68025
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Memorial Cemetery
800 West 23rd Street
Fremont, NE  68025
Map & Directions


  1. Jim Davenport
    As a former "Schuylerite" who played under Coach Watchorn during his early years of coaching, I was deeply struck by the sincere outpouring of love and respect shown in this "Guest Book" for Coach Watchorn. He clearly impacted many, many lives in a fundamental way over a long lifetime. What a wonderful legacy!...My condolences to the entire Watchorn family.
  2. Gregg Kupfer
    Coach and I went to Tarkio College in 1991 to recruit students as the college began to close. It was a very emotional day, but he did get two players to transfer. Coach and I were colleagues at Midland not once but twice. Many notes and conversations were shared about students we were both recruiting, sometimes for different reasons. In the end, Midland always won. Watchdog, as he was affectionately known everywhere on campus, was a man of purpose. Set your goals high. Don't let anyone get in your way. His 1974 team was indeed the transitive Division I national champion. Coach, you defined Midland football in the modern era. Midland is less because you are gone. Thanks for all the campus tours you helped me be successful with. And thanks for bailing my brother Jeff out of jail after the Lutheran Brotherhood Bowl. Respectfully- Gregg Kupfer

  3. Jay Pilkington
    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Watchorn family. I am thinking of you during this difficult time. I am very thankful that my father led me to his good friend, Coach Watchorn, when I was looking for a college to transfer to. Meeting him and playing for him had and still has profound positive influences on my life. It was a blessing and a pleasure to to be one of the many lucky ones whose lives crossed paths with his. I also enjoyed seeing him and visiting with him when I would attend Warrior games even long after I graduated. He was always interested in my life and my family. He was a great man and will be missed by many.
  4. Leigh Schmale
    I want to express my condolences to the Watchorn family. Coach Watchorn was a great teacher, coach, and mentor. Coach had a positive influence on so many students, players, and coaches. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to represent Midland Lutheran College Football under his guidance and direction. The year's 1976-1980 have a special place in my heart because of Coach Watchorn. Thanks not only for the memories but for the life lessons you taught us Coach.
  5. Kathy Spicer
    A remarkable man. It was a pleasure to have known him, even for a brief time. (Shalimar) Praying for peace and comfort to cover you all.
  6. Gene Ray
    So sorry for your loss. Your father and mother were both wonderful and giving people. I am so thankful your family touched my life.
  7. Jeffrey Gustin
    Rest in peace Coach.

    Your guidance and mentorship have inspired me to spend the last 40 years of my life in education, coaching and being an athletic director. Thank you for starting my life journey in the right direction. Class of 1977
  8. Pat Ryan
    I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to be coached by Coach Watchorn in 68 and 69 at UNO. He was a terrific coach and mentor to whom I owe more than I can repay. I believe I speak for all former teammates, coaches, equipment managers and trainers who have gone before Coach Watch "Via Con Dios" .
  9. Phillip Wise
    Coach you were one of the most important parts of our UNO family. Thanks for helping me become a man. Condolences to his family most of all
  10. Keith Bailey
    Don was my coach, then my mentor but more importantly my friend. We first connected in Schuyler High in 1952. He was one of a kind and was loved and respected by my entire family. Rest in peace coach until we meet again.
  11. Lee Roy Swanson

    Coach, thank you for making a truly positive influence on so many student-athletes lives. You were a very special person, THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  12. Greg Glaze
    RIP Coach Watchorn. I am so proud and grateful to have played for you Coach. You taught us to always give your best effort, be respectful, and play the game with passion, not knowing at the time , you where preparing us for life after football. Thank you for being part of my life, Coach you will be missed.
  13. Diane Brown
    So sorry to hear about your dad. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
  14. cheryl montgomery
    Carolee, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family on the passing of your father. May you be comforted by the memories you share, and the loving tributes of so many lives that his life touched.
  15. Dominick Polifrone
    Coach RIPπŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸˆ
    Thanks for showing me the way at UNO.
    Gave me the right direction. Glad I chose Omaha.
    Met and still stay in contact with the wonderful
    People I met at there. Thank you again.
  16. Stan "Buddy" Belitz
    Played football at Omaha University, aka UNO for COACH WATCH. He was a great role model, leader and instilled morals and respect of the game in his players. He always said there is life after football so make sure your grades represent your goals. So very sorry he has passed. God Bless and RIP Coach!
  17. Al Pallone
    Coach you bit my ass till I barked like a bulldog. Now you & Coach Benning are on the same team again. πŸ™πŸˆπŸ™
  18. Roger W. Sayers
    To the family, God Blessings to each of you. Coach Watchorn was a good man who touched the lives of so many. I am thankful I was one of them. Please accept my deepest sympathy and Love.
  19. Fran H Schwenk
    Dear Watchorn Family,

    Our love and admiration to Coach Watchorn, his family and the MIdland Lutheran Football Program. We battled for many years with all the respect to him, both on and off the playing field. He is the true example of character and class. He will always be remembered as one of the outstanding coaches in our profession.

    With highest regards,

    Fran Schwenk, Doane College Football Program, 1984-2005
  20. Mark & Suzanne Baker
    Carolee - our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
  21. Ron johnson
    RIP Don. A Mentor for coaches and players at Midland. Thank you for making me a member of your Midland family. It was a pleasure to learn and coach with you. My thought and prayers are with your family.
    Ron and Sandie Johnson
    Steve and Scott and families
  22. Joe Berger
    Rip coach you will be missed I enjoyed the time I had playing for him 1980 - 1984 it was a pleasure
    Thanks for everything 😭😭
  23. Steve Feye
    My deepest sympathies to Coaches family.

    He was a one of a kind person who touched so many young men during his career as a coach, but more importantly as a mentor. While we will all remember the on the field times we had under his tutelage, it was the difference he made for so many of us off the field that we will all be forever indebted to him.

    I, like many of his former players, could probably go on for ever telling one story after another, all of which the invoke special memories we have of Coach. I can truly say that no other person, other than family, has had such an important influence on my life. So thank you for sharing Coach with all of us! He was unique and he made a difference.

    May he rest in piece.
  24. Jack Petersen

    I had the privilege of playing for your father at OU in the early 60's. He had a lasting impression on my growth as a man and I have always treasured my association with him (and your mother, as well).

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

    Jack Petersen
  25. Bob Coufal
    I have fond memories of Coach Watchorn. My sympathy to the family. I will keep him in my prayers.
  26. Jerome Reynolds
    Dear Coach (Watch Dog) thank you for teaching me how to prepare, respect and play the game of football. All that you taught me has helped me in being a good man, husband and father. I love you and will greatly miss you.
  27. Dexter C Batts Sr.
    Coach thanks for everything, rest my good and faithful servant.
  28. Doug Harrington
    Coach watch on was a great man and a great coach who recruited athletes from the inner cities of Washington DC New York City Florida or Chicago giving these young men an opportunity to change their environment and continue to play football and getting a college education. I was able to visit Coach when we return to Midland for our Hall of Fame enshirement banquet. He called out my name and it means more once i found out he was suffering from dementia. I willI will cherish the teachings and memories for the rest of my life! I love you Coach
  29. Tony Allgood
    I'm so sorry for your loss. Coach Watchorn taught me so much about life and what it means to be a man of character. I will never forget him as a mentor and a person. May he find comfort in God's kingdom and Rest In Peace. We all Love you Coach!
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