R. Ronald Donarski, 82, of Stephen, MN, died on March 11, 2023, in Riverview Memory Care Center, Crookston, MN.
Roger Ronald was born during a blizzard on March 7, 1941, on a farm in Nelson Park Township, after his folks (Walter and Clarice Donarski) were snowed-in there. His childhood was spent on the family farm in Wright Township. When he was 16, Ron left school and went to work for Ray Hougard during Harvest Brigades, later driving truck for him. Ray took Ron under his wing and told him he could only continue working if he finished high school: Ray paid for all the gas that took Ron to Strandquist, MN, where he graduated (a little late) with the class of 1961. Ron continued with Ray and later worked for Donarski Brothers of Crookston out in Dunseith, ND.
On October 5, 1963, Ron was married to Linda Frei in Salem Lutheran Church near Stephen, MN. The two were united in all things, with Linda doing bookkeeping while Ron brute-forced his way to success. Ron was made to drive truck for himself: he enjoyed the challenge, the hours, and returning the many favors that helped him start his career. He did his best to pay-forward all the good turns others had done him, never forgetting the Stephen grain elevator's help with the purchase of his first semi-trailer. He ran a route delivering grain to Duluth for years and helped start Karriers Inc. in 1981, working for them until his reluctant retirement in 2015.
Ron and Linda have four children, all of whom learned life lessons in the passenger seat of Ron's truck. From how to clean a truck [Saturdays], wax rivets [once a month], or drive in Michigan's Upper Peninsula [under the legal age?], Ron's appreciation for tidiness was shared with them, as was with his love of working hard and, when off the clock, playing hard too. Taking time off, Ron enjoyed traveling the region and camping with his family, deer hunting, and meeting people, both friend and stranger. He could hardly go anywhere without running into someone who knew him or his CB handle, “Double R.”
Living his final years in Riverview Memory Care, Ron still kept tabs on the upkeep of his trucks and was visited often by his loved ones.
Ron is survived by his wife of 59 years, Linda; his three sons, Kevin, Shawn, and Terry Donarski; daughter, Ronalin Steer; five grandchildren, Samantha (Tyler), Amanda, Tiffany, Lane, and Austin; great-grandkids, Avynn, Kemry, Finnley, Ashtyn, and Braxtin; sibling, Veronica Knoll-Stanislowski; brother-in-law, Gale (Fanny) Frei; sisters-in-law, Lori (Darwyn) Anderson, and Ellen Frei; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Clarice; stepmother, Fran; siblings, Joanne (Tom) Borowicz, Wayne (Donna), Robert, “Big Lou,” Dolores Kujava, Florence Kuznia, Ardy Westberg and AJ Donarski, and infant brother, Gary; and brother-in-law, “Big Al” Frei.
FUNERAL SERVICE: Saturday, March 18, 2023, at 10:30 AM, in DuBore Funeral Home Chapel, Warren, MN.
VISITATION: One hour prior.
RECEPTION: To follow at the Warren American Legion- 424 N. 1st Street, Warren, MN 56762.
GRAVESIDE SERVICE: Spring of 2023, in Salem Lutheran Cemetery, Stephen, MN; with a reception to follow in the Church.