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Official Obituary of

Don Lee Severson

October 28, 1935 ~ March 30, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Don Severson Obituary

Don Lee Severson, 88, of Atwater, died Saturday, March 30, 2024, at CentraCare Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

His memorial service will be held at a later date.  Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar.  The family expresses its heartfelt thanks to the staff and residents of Compassionate Cottage in Willmar for their loving care of Don over the past few months.

Don was born October 28, 1935, in Grafton, North Dakota, the first child of Leonard and Marguerite (nee Jongewaard)) Severson.  As a child he lived with his family in Park River, New England, Lakota and Steele, North Dakota, moving to Fargo, North Dakota, in third grade.  He graduated from Fargo High in 1953 and attended North Dakota State University.  As a child he spent time in Hettinger, North Dakota, where his grandfather had homesteaded in the early twentieth century.  There he helped on the farm and learned to hunt pheasants.  At that time, as he recalled, “there were so many pheasants you could hardly see the sky.”  He remained an avid pheasant and deer hunter for much of his life.

Don was a talented mechanic from an early age.  He bought his first car, a Plymouth, at age 13.  It cost $80 and he paid with a $100 bill that his grandpa gave him for helping on the farm.   At 14 he started working at the 10th Street Texaco, a full-service gas station owned by the father of his life-long friend Erlyn Carlson.  At the gas station Don did everything from washing cars to cleaning the restrooms to helping in the repair shop. He learned to swim in the Red River near his home, was a strong swimmer who helped teach swimming at Fargo High, and claimed to have been the first person to water ski on Cotton Lake, where he and his wife eventually lived for 23 years.

While a student at NDSU, Don was recruited and hired by the Burroughs adding machine company, which trained him in Chicago and sent him into the field to repair machines.  He married Darlene Casler of Fargo June 24, 1955.  Don’s career eventually led him to farm machinery and he was employed by International Harvester and Massey Ferguson corporations in sales and store management.  Don and Darlene lived with their family in Fargo, Grand Forks, Mandan and Dickinson, North Dakota, Spokane, Washington, Mason City, Iowa and Huron, South Dakota as Don pursued his career.  In 1971 he purchased a Massey Ferguson dealership in Willmar, Minnesota, and operated that business for over 10 years.  He and his wife, Darlene, moved from Willmar to Scottsdale, Arizona, and then in 1990 to Cotton Lake in Becker County, Minnesota, where they resided for 23 years prior to moving to Atwater.

Don was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Darlene, to whom he had been married for 59 years prior to her death in 2014.  He is survived by his sisters Adra Browning (Robert) of St. George, Utah, Jean Hansen (Bruce) of Prescott, Arizona, children Kim Severson (Philip Jemielita) of North Oaks, Minnesota, Don Severson (Debra) of Willmar and Leslie Severson (Kazuhiro Nomura) of Irvine, California, six grandsons, Joshua Severson, Matthew, Thomas and Isaac Jemielita and Oscar and William Nomura, and three great- grandchildren, Lindy Severson and Verona and Roman Jemielita. 

 

 

 

 

 

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