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Olson Burke Sullivan OBITUARIES

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Donald Chris Voigt , Age: 74
November 30, 1947 -- March 29, 2022

Don Voigt was born on November 30, 1947, the third of four children born to Theodore (Ted) and Louise (nee Rheim) Voigt. He was born and grew up on the South Side of Chicago; the family moved to south suburban Crete while Don was in high school. He graduated from Bloom High School and Columbia College Chicago, where he majored in television production.


In 1970, he joined the staff of WTTW/Channel 11, the Chicago PBS station, where he rose through the ranks to become a television director. Just a few of the many programs he directed at WTTW include Kup’s Show, Sneak Previews with film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, Chicago Sunday Evening ClubImage UnionTime Out!, and Chicago Tonight with legendary journalist John Callaway. He met countless celebrities, authors, and politicians, including Richard Burton, Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., Luciano Pavarotti, and many, many more - if they were famous, Don had met them - and he took great pride in having had his promo copy edited by none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener.


In 1986, he left WTTW to direct Siskel & Ebert & the Movies for Buena Vista Television, and in 1989, he joined Ameritech’s in-house television department as a producer/director. Over the course of his career, he was nominated for a Chicago Emmy Award and won several corporate television awards, including a gold Philo Award, a 1997 Telly Award, and an Aegis Award of Excellence. Yet he remained humble and down to earth.


All memories of Don start with a smile. Kind, gentle, and witty, he was a man of many talents. A die-hard Chicago sports fan (Bears, White Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls in their heyday), he was thrilled to be in the White Sox locker room in 1983 when they clinched the division title. He loved movies and television; among his favorites were The GodfatherMy Fair LadyPattonSeinfeldFrasier, and Northern Exposure. An avid reader, his interests were certainly eclectic; he was most recently reading Ron Howard’s memoir The Boys and was preparing to start both The Lincoln Highway and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s thriller The Apollo Murders. He loved classical music and classic rock equally, with a side of Chicago blues thrown in for good measure.


His outdoor passion was skiing. A consummate skier, he was gifted with enormous grace and style. Though only 5’6”, he skied on insanely long skis, his elegant, tight parallel a sight to behold. One of the many joys of his life was introducing his 3-year-old son Christopher to the sport and sharing it with him for decades.


He loved to travel. Alaska held a special place in his heart, sparked by John McPhee’s Coming into the Country, a favorite book. A 2008 cruise/land trip to Alaska, culminating in many views of the rarely glimpsed entirety of Denali, was a special favorite. Alas, he was denied his fervent wish of seeing bears up close or visiting Africa.


He loved creating surprises for his family. For many years at Christmas, Don created an elaborate multi-step treasure hunt for Michelle and Christopher. The form of the clues changed every year, from limericks to haikus to parodies of Christmas carols.


Genial host of legendary parties. Killer charade player. Trivia champion. Unbeatable at Scrabble. Foodie. Terrific sous chef. A decidedly below-average golfer, but an above-average tennis player. Connoisseur of single-malt scotch, especially Lagavullin. Animal lover and Doggie Daddy to Thurber, Bailey, Bubba, and Zeus.


But in his heart of hearts, Don was a lover - of people, of places, but most especially of his family. He was a loving and devoted son to his father Ted and mother Louise, and a caring and supportive brother to his sister Elaine and his brothers Ron and Lee and their families. He married Michelle - whom he met at WTTW - in 1979 and their teamwork built a loving lifetime together. Endlessly encouraging, he was always the first to cheer her on.


But of all his many accomplishments, he was most proud of being Christopher’s father. That was the greatest joy of his life. He was at every high school game, every concert, every school event, every Little League game. He loved just spending time with him, whether it was watching TV together, skiing in Aspen, or playing catch in the backyard.


An exceptional man has “slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the face of God.” He will be lovingly remembered and forever missed by all who had the great good fortune to know him.

Don is survived by Michelle, his wife of 42 years; his son Christopher, daughter-in-law Adrienne Chudzinski, and grandson Vincent; his sister Elaine Sumners, nephew Gary Sumners (Tonia), and niece Julie McColly; brother Ron “Skip” Voigt, sister-in-law Marilyn, niece Shannon Kopp (John), and nephew Tyler Voigt; brother Lee Voigt, sister-in-law Robin, and nephew Eric (Colleen); and grandnieces and grandnephews


“I’m so glad we had this time together…

Seems we just get started and before you know it,

Comes the time we have to say so long.”




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Olson Burke-Sullivan
Funeral & Cremation Center
6467 N Northwest Hwy
Chicago, IL 60631