Donald “Donnie” Harry Grages was born on July 10th, 1938, in Benson Minnesota, and died unexpectedly in his home on January 2nd, 2020 in Paynesville MN at the age of 81. He was the son of Harry and Bernadine (Schlieman) Grages. Don was the oldest of ten children growing up in Holloway Minnesota, was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith and graduated from Holloway High School in 1956.
On August 9th, 1963, Don married Mardonna Mueller in Ortonville Minnesota. They shared 56 years of marriage and were blessed with five children: Todd (Heidi) Grages of Omaha Nebraska, Timm Grages of Paynesville Minnesota, Michelle (Jeff) Clements of Delano Minnesota, Nichole (Joel) Bjerke of Buffalo Minnesota and Dustin (Nicole) Grages of Rogers Minnesota. He had nine Grandchildren; Tyler (Tawni) and Justin Grages; Lindsey (fiancé Sean) and William Lucas Clements; Jake and Emma Bjerke; Brooklyn, Greyson, and Mia Grages. Don and Mardonna shared their life in Cosmos, Minnesota from 1968-1994, after which they resided at their Koronis lake home outside of Paynesville, Minnesota.
In 1955, at the age of 17, Don joined the Army National Guard. Don served 32 years in the Army National Guard and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Don attended Basic Officer Infantry School and Advanced Officer Infantry School at Ft. Benning, GA. Don later attended the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. During his time as an Infantry Officer, Don served as a Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Race Relations/Equal Opportunity Officer, Battalion Staff Officer (S-1, S-2, S-3, and XO), G-5 of the 47th Inf Div., Battalion Commander and Directorate of Personnel and Community Activity. Don was extremely proud of his military service.
Don graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and went on to teach and coach football, basketball, and baseball at Bellingham High School and Westbrook High School in Minnesota. Don received his Master’s degree from Mankato State Minnesota and became Principal at Westbrook High School in 1965. Don and Mardonna moved to Cosmos, Minnesota in 1968 where he spent his time as Principal and Athletic Director. He retired from ACGC in 1994, completing 35 years in the field of education.
In his retirement, Don became a realtor and spent the next 14 years selling real estate. He enjoyed retirement at his lake home spending time with his family and watching football, basketball, and the Twins. He was an avid Gopher, Viking, and Twins fan and rarely missed a game on TV. He also really enjoyed fishing, hunting and watching his grandchildren's’ activities.
He is survived by his wife Mardonna, children, grandchildren, and siblings Lannie (Bonnie) Grages, Jim Grages, Wendy Graf, Mike Grages, Arly (Karla) Grages, Randy Grages, and Connie (Jack) Siljendahl. He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers Jerry Grages and Delroy Grages.
Don was a beloved husband, dad, Papa, and big brother and will be truly missed by all that knew him. His Funeral will be Sunday, January 12th,2020 at Paynesville Lutheran Church in Paynesville, Minnesota. Visitation is at 1 pm with service starting at 3 pm.
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