Donald Splettstazer, age 96, of Lester Prairie, Minnesota, died on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, at his home in Lester Prairie , Minnesota.
Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 11:00 A.M. at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie, Minnesota, with interment at the church cemetery.
Gathering of Family and Friends will be held on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, from 10:00-11:00 A.M., one hour prior the service at the church.
Donald Walter Hermann was the 3rd child of Emma (nee Clasen) and August Splettstoszer. He was born in Lester Prairie at 22 Hickory Street North on September 7, 1921 in one of oldest house built in town. Both families were pioneers of Carver and McLeod counties, the 1860 Census shows their families on adjacent farms north of Patterson Lake near Waconia. August and his brother Reinhold “simplified” their last name to Splettstazer about the time of Donald’s birth.
Donny and his good pals Clyde Beise, Wally & Doug Dibb and Bud Daggett had the run of the town in the 1920’s and often shared stories about their feats of entrepreneurship, from plowing gardens with a team from the Clasen farm to digging sewers for the town (by hand). “Jack August”, Donald’s father, proudly retold the tale of Don’s dog Pal delivering rural newspapers by carrying them placed in a cheese box with a bell hung from his collar. The bell notified the recipient that the paper could be retrieved with a treat.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was his lifelong church home, here he was baptized, confirmed and now buried. After graduating from school in Lester Prairie he earned a welding degree from Dunwoody Institute and got a job working in the Superior WI, ship yards. There he met his “Angel” Helene Brill, they were married on March 11, 1944, and enjoyed over 70 years together before Helene’s death. He enlisted in the Marines to serve in WWII, and had the good fortune of spending much his tour of duty in Honolulu.
Returning to Lester Prairie in 1945, they lived with Donald’s parents and Carol was born a year later. Don really wanted to train dogs for a living, but was persuaded that a cement factory was a more reliable livelihood. He and Helene operated Lester Prairie Cement Products until they retired. Daughter Mary was brought home to a new house built with blocks from the factory. The home site at the edge of town included a dog kennel, horse barn, riding arena and pasture. Don loved working with animals and began raising Brittanys in the early 50’s after receiving a pair from a client as a thank you for training a particularly successful German Shorthair field trial champion. Prairie Rambler Kennels raised fine “Bold and Birdie” Brittany dogs for hunters in every state of the union and even Canada.
Donald loved God, people, hunting, dogs, horses, polka music and sourdough pancakes, not necessarily in that order. He had a booming voice, loved to hear and tell a good story, and had a friendly outgoing way of being.
He is survived by his daughters Carol Kuhlman (Calvin), Mary Lawrence (Kevin), Grand-children Aaron Kuhlman (Stephanie), Nathan Kuhlman, Elizabeth Carlson (Jake), John Lawrence and Ellen Lawrence. Great Grand-children Adam Kuhlman, Jessica Scholl, Ella Kuhlman, Seth Kuhlman, Owen Carlson, Wyatt Carlson, and Trevor Carlson. And many people who he loved dearly.