Donald Broekema, 52, of Roxbury passed away on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 at Albany Medical Center following a brief illness.
Don was the son of John and Barbara Broekema, born on October 19, 1961 just a few minutes after his twin brother John (Jay). They were later joined by his little sister Deborah. He grew up in Mt. Tremper, and graduated from Onteora Central School.
Don was well known for his love of animals, music, and the outdoors; hunting, fishing, working his dogs, paddling his kayak, riding his motorcycle, hitting the slopes with his ski family and hiking in the peaks of his beloved Catskill Mountains. He retired from the New York State Department of Corrections in April after 25 years of dedicated service. He was a member of The Ulster County Sheriff’s Department and the Town of Shandaken Police Department.
Don felt a deep respect for fellow law enforcement officers, which extended to our nation’s veterans. His appreciation for the service of others led him to work tirelessly last fall to provide a hunting experience for veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project. Looking for ways to help others was a way of life for this kind man with the quick wit, intelligent mind, and mischievous smile.
Don made the most of his retirement; traveling to Maine, camping with friends, enjoying bluegrass music, exploring the Adirondacks, and traveling west to enjoy the family’s annual fishing trip on Idaho’s South Fork. Family and friendship were everything to Don. With each new interest came a different group of friends to enjoy, learn from and add to his growing “family.” He cherished the time he spent with each of his nieces and nephews, and celebrated the special gifts that made them each unique, usually with a camera in hand! He shared a special bond with Allyn Michael, whose life was a constant source of pride to Don.
Don is survived by his best friend and partner in adventure, Karen Munro and son, Allyn Shultis and his wife Meg of Ambler, PA. Also surviving are his mother, Barbara of Mt. Tremper; his brother, Jay of Kerhonkson and Jay’s daughters, Heather of Troy, and Jessica, and Briana at home. His sister, Deborah and her husband, Harry Baldwin and their children, Cody and Emma of Willow also survive.
Don was predeceased by his father, John Broekema; his sister-in-law, Chris, and a special friend and mentor, Bob Munro.
Calling hours were held at The Emerson, 5340 Route 28, near his favorite peak, Mt. Tremper on Friday, Jan. 10.
A service to celebrate Don’s life was held at the Gould Memorial Church, Route 30 in Roxbury on Saturday, Jan. 11 with a gathering of friends and family to follow. Friends and family were encouraged to dress in attire fit for their favorite outing with Don (ski gear, hunting clothes, etc.).
Don’s ski family gathered at Belleayre Mountain on Sunday to make a few turns in honor of their friend. As they gathered to mourn the loss of this good man, they knew that his strength and spirit of giving will carry on through the thousands of friends Don met and cared for along the way.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Miller Funeral Home, Roxbury.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Don’s name to one of the following charities: The New York Ruffed Grouse Wounded Warrior Project, The Heart of the Catskills Humane Society, P.O. Box 88, Delhi, NY 13753, or to the Country Cutting Gallery Relay for Life Team.