Donald Nieukirk, 84, of Peoria, IL, died at 1:51 am Tuesday, June 23, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. He was a member of Peoria Chapter of American Guild of Organists for many years and served on the executive board for two consecutive terms. His funeral was held on July 2, 2015 at Tremont United Methodist Church. Pastor Dan Perry officiated. He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Tremont. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tremont Historical Society or the Tremont United Methodist Church.
Don was a member of Tremont United Methodist Church since 1943 and served as church organist for 57 years, with February 5, 2012 his final Sunday playing organ. He helped design and draw specifications for a new pipe organ which was installed in 1965. He also served as chairman of the Administrative Board, chaired various committees and was the church treasurer for several years.
He was born June 16, 1931 at his maternal grandmother’s home at 1013 S. Capitol St. in Pekin. He married Delores Ann Benn on June 23, 1963 at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Peoria.
Surviving are his wife, Delores; one daughter, Leanne Marie (Martin Jones) of Tucson, AZ; one sister, Ruth Ann McCormick of Lincoln; and several nieces and nephews.
Don graduated from Tremont High School in 1949, and graduated from Brown’s Peoria School of Business in 1951 after completing their most comprehensive course in accounting and federal taxation.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1952-1954 where he served in Headquarters, 7th Transportation Corp Major Port, Pusan, Korea. In addition to assigned duties, he played the piano for Port Chapel services.
Don worked at International Harvester Company District Sales office in Peoria from 1954-1962. He later worked in public accounting in Peoria CPA offices for 32 years retiring in 1994. He worked part-time at Illinois Antique Center after retirement.
He was instrumental in reorganizing the Tremont High School Alumni Association in 1951 and served as president of its Board of Directors for several years, and served as General Chairman and Master of Ceremonies for many alumni banquets. Don was named distinguished alumnus in 2003
He was a member and frequent soloist with Pekin Civic Chorus for 35 years, and a charter member of Bradley Community Chorus organized in 1958 and also did solo work with this group. Don was acknowledged at a 1998 concert as a 40-year member and continued to sing until 2006. He was a long time member of Morton Messiah Chorus where he was a bass soloist and later served as pianist for many years.
Don was a member of the American Pencil Collectors’ Society and an avid collector of wooden pencils. In 1997 he appeared on the FX Collectibles Show on national TV with his pencil collection.
He authored the book, “Pekin and Tremont, Illinois, History in Vintage Postcards” in 2000 using cards from an extensive personal collection.
Don was a member of Pekin Bottle Collectors Club.
He was a charter member of the Tremont Historical Society and served as its Vice President from 1985 until 2006, and served more recently as recording secretary. He wrote feature articles on local history for the Tremont News for several years. He was a charter member of Tazewell County Genealogical and Historical Society where he served on the Executive Board and as recording secretary for many years. The Nieukirk and Dillon ancestors were among the first settlers in Tazewell County in the 1820’s.