Donald J. Hahn

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 2:44 pm

Donald J. Hahn, 87, of Decorah, and formerly of Cincinnati, Ohio, died Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah. Memorial services were at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb., 21, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah. An additional service is in Cincinnati, Ohio at a later date. Online condolences may be made at

Donald James Hahn was born in Covington, Ky., Dec. 10, 1931, the only child of Helen Margaret (Carney) Hahn and Clifford Henry Hahn. Don graduated from Covington Latin School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in math and physics from Villa Madonna College, Covington, Ky., before earning a master of science degree in physics from the University of Cincinnati. Don began his career in the early computing industry with General Electric (GE) in Cincinnati in the early 1950s. It was at GE that he met his wife, Gretta Marie (Bjerke) Hahn. They were married Oct. 11, 1958, and had three children: Michael, Kristine and David. Don continued with GE in its aircraft engines business group for his entire career, where he took numerous courses to continue to improve his professional skills as a software engineer. He ultimately retired from GE in 1985. Don grew up in a Catholic family and it was a significant decision for the times to marry a Lutheran. He regularly attended Lutheran church services with his family and eventually became a member of the Lutheran church. Over the years, Don and Gretta attended Trinity Lutheran Church, Faith Lutheran Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Cincinnati. Don and Gretta enjoyed the symphony, picnics and playing bridge with friends. Don also enjoyed watching baseball, and was a tremendous movie enthusiast, making regular visits to the video store and collecting movies and movie reference books. He could often be found late into the night in front of multiple TV screens with multiple remote controls on hand.  He was an early adopter of VCR technology, holding onto his Betamax tape player for many years. Don also enjoyed jazz music as well as well as some of the musical genres introduced to him by his son, Dave. In retirement, Don enjoyed traveling the world. He and Gretta visited 31 countries on various cruises and other trips. Don and Gretta spent nearly all of their adult lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and then moved to Decorah in Nov. 2014 to be nearer to family.  In early January of 2015 Don’s health began deteriorating, with a need to be attached to an oxygen concentrator 24/7. He then suffered through a bout of shingles, and grew weaker and had little appetite. Then, Feb. 18, 2015, he was rushed to the hospital where he could not be revived.

Don is survived by his wife of 56 years, Gretta Hahn of Decorah; son Mike (Criss) Hahn, of West Des Moines; daughter Kris (David) Henderson of Edina, Minn.; grandson Ryan Henderson; granddaughters: Alexis Hahn, Kylie Hahn, Erin Henderson and Megan Henderson; and several nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifford “Bud” Hahn and Helen Hahn, and by his son, Dave Hahn (9/11/2013).

The family requests memorials be given to Ladd, Inc. (Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled,, where his son Dave had been employed for many years), 3603 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH, 45229.


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