Carbondale, Ill. - Donald Charles Urberger,72, originally from St. Louis, Missouri and long-time southern Illinois resident, passed away at Saline County Nursing & Care Center in Harrisburg in the early morning hours of March 31, 2022. He was born September 12, 1949 and was adopted by Beatrice (Fernandez) and Andrew Urberger at the age of 23-months. He was an only child.
Don was raised in a loving home in the St. Louis suburbs and attended Catholic school before moving to southern Illinois to attend Southern Illinois University. He graduated from SIU Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education in 1972 and was a Lecturer in the School of Technical Careers at SIU Edwardsville in the mid-1970s. He earned a Master of Science in Occupational Education from SIU Carbondale in May 1982. A lifelong learner with an ever-curious mind, Don went back to school at John A. Logan College to earn his degree as a Licensed Practical Nurse in July of 2011.
While attending SIU as an undergraduate, Don met Allen Sargent, who was his roommate in the dorms, and they became business partners and lifelong friends, owning and operating multiple downtown Carbondale businesses together, including a pool installation and maintenance company, Kopies-n-More, and K & M Printing. They also competed in barbecue competitions, winning many awards, which prompted the launch of their restaurant Big Boys Q’n on Jackson Street. The restaurant was a popular hangout for barbecue and sports lovers, but closed shortly after Allen passed away in 2010.
In his later years, Don was diagnosed with a variety of health issues that impacted his physical and mental health, making it difficult for him to continue operating his businesses and to live alone. Fortunately, he had good friends who stepped in to provide love, support, and encouragement when he needed it most, especially his dear friends, Dave and Mary Rosenhauer of Carbondale, who opened their home to Don and provided continuous financial and medical guidance.
Don was highly intelligent and eccentric, with a finely honed and quirky sense of humor and a natural optimism that persisted even in the face of many challenges. He was chatty and outgoing, always ready to make time for good conversation with friends and strangers alike. Before health issues affected his cognitive abilities, Don had an exceptional memory and was so knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics that he could have easily been his own one-man Trivial Pursuit team. He loved gadgets, especially having the latest and greatest of any industry, and had many interests, from electronics and locksmithing to hydroponics and high-tech cooking. He was also a licensed HAM radio operator. He enjoyed going to Saluki Football games and tailgates, spending time with friends, and caring for his beloved Chihuahua, Bear, who survives him at the ripe old age of 22 years.
Memorials may be made in Don’s name to St. Francis Animal Care in Murphysboro at stfrancis-care.org or to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) at theaftd.org.
A Funeral Mass for Don will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 18, 2022 at the Newman Center in Carbondale, IL with Father Brown officiating. Visitation will be from 10:30 until the Funeral Mass on Monday.
Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale assisted with arrangements. To leave a story or memory of Don visit www.meredithfh.com.