BIG RAPIDS — Dr. Donald J. Hitzemann, 69, of Big Rapids, passed away on Jan. 20, 2017, in his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born Sept. 4, 1947, in Reed City, to Rose and Russell Hitzemann. Don graduated from Reed City High School in 1965. On Sept. 6, 1969, he married Jean Gawne in Reed City. Don graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in 1971. After his graduation they moved back to Big Rapids and together they raised their family. He and Jean established 19 Mile Veterinary Clinic in Big Rapids, where he provided compassionate care to animals and their families for 37 years.

Don was multi-talented; he enjoyed woodworking, traveling and was an avid recycler. He loved all aspects of nature and was a strong believer in preserving the environment. Don left his mark on this community mentoring and helping others. He cherished spending time with his family and grandchildren. Don will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Dr. Hitzemann is survived by his wife of 47 years, Jean Hitzemann, of Big Rapids; two daughters, Nicole (Matt) Ridenour, of Ypsilanti, and Miranda (Brendan) Budine, of Philadelphia; a Dutch son, Peter (Nancy) Heideman, of Utrecht, Netherlands; five grandchildren, Evan and Liam Ridenour, Bryce Budine, and Guusje and Loekie Heideman; brothers-in-law, Gary Gawne, of Big Rapids, and Jamie (Kelly) Gawne, of Grass Lake; sisters-in-law, Patricia Moore, of Big Rapids, Irene (Ron) Buit, of Grandville, Barbara (Larry) Lebaron, of Gerrardstown, W. Va., Kim (Eddie) Roak of Simpsonville, S.C., and Claudia Hitzemann, of North Providence, R.I.; sister, Charlotte Phillips, of Pell City, Ala.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by four brothers, Wayne, Brian (Cynthia), Mark and Clark Hitzemann; and two brothers-in-law, Richard Gawne, of Baldwin, and Robert Moore, of Big Rapids.

A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, at the Falcon Head Golf Course. The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service on Saturday at Falcon Head.

Share a memory or leave a condolence for the family at daggettgilbertfuneralhome.com.