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Donald A. Stenzel

Donald A. Stenzel

DONALD A. STENZEL, 79, of Heron Lake passed away at the Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD on Friday, October 18, 2013. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, October 21 at 10:30 AM at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Heron Lake with Father Russell Scepaniak officiating. Burial with Military Honors by Heron Lake American Legion Post #224 will be in the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the Church on Monday.

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DONALD ALFRED STENZEL was born on October 20, 1933 on the family farm in LaCrosse Township, Jackson County, Minnesota, the son of Harold and Bertha (Hullerman) Stenzel. He graduated from Heron Lake High School in 1951 and then attended the University Of Minnesota School Of Agriculture for a year. He served in the US Army from 1954 to 1956. He then returned to the farm in LaCrosse Township. On June 4, 1958, he was united in marriage to Elaine Brady at St. Gabriels Catholic Church in Fulda. After marriage, they settled on their farm in LaCrosse Township. Donald passed away at the Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday, October 18, 2013 at the age of 79 years, 11 months and 30 days.

Don is survived by his wife of 55 years Elaine Stenzel of Heron Lake. He is also survived by five children: Donald, Jr. (Rhonda) Stenzel of Okabena, David (Angela) Stenzel of Heron Lake, Mary (Dale) Hesemann of Lakefield, Diane (Dale) Henke of Chicago, IL, Jan Stenzel of Worthington; and 15 grandchildren; a brother, John (Judy) Stenzel of Heron Lake and a sister, Marge (Joe) Hobson of Pine City, MN.

Donald was preceded in death by his parents; a grandson, Ben Hesemann; and 4 sisters, Jean Heger, Betty Schoborg, Marilyn Cowan and Lucille Bleess.

Don was a baptized and confirmed member at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Heron Lake. He taught religion classes for over 20 years and was active as a lector, Eucharist distributor, and was a member of the Catholic order of Foresters and choir. Don and Elaine received the distinguished Bishops Medal in 2007 for their generous contributions of self and service to church and the community. Don used his talents to beautify the church over the years by constructing many items in the church, including, an altar, chairs, hymnal racks, reconciliation room, statue pedestals, ambry cabinet, and various other cupboards. He was also an integral part of the installation of the elevator, and numerous other repair projects.

Don and Elaine served together for 37 years with the Worldwide Marriage Encounter organization. They were presenters at over 70 weekend marriage retreats and helped numerous couples strengthen their marriages and relationships.

Don got a kick out of doing random acts of kindness like picking pails of strawberries and giving them away, passing out Valentine candy to whomever he met, giving away green apples on St Patricks Day and roses at church to celebrate Gods gift of love. He enjoyed creating furniture and cabinets for his children and grandchildren and constructing special holiday light displays that adorned the Stenzel farm, and later the Okabena sky line. Don loved watching his children and grandchildren perform in sports and other special events. He was always their biggest fan.

The Heron Lake Community and surrounding area were very important to Don. He was a community club volunteer (15+ yrs), American Legion member since 1956 (serving 1 term as commander), Township Board officer (20+ yrs), and Jackson County Pork Producer President. In 2011, Don and Elaine were presented with the Jackson County Outstanding Senior Citizens Award.

Don will be remembered as a devout Christian with a beautiful tenor voice, who strived to live out his faith every day as a devoted father and a loving husband. His quiet and gentle demeanor reflected the respect he had for everyone he came in contact with. He truly believed the best gift he could give his children was to love and cherish their mother which he did to his final day.