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In Memory of Donald R. Waalen

Donald Ray Waalen, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, died on Thursday, April 2, 2020 at the age of 90. Don was born on April 17, 1929 in Alden Township to parents Nels and Tena (Christensen) Waalen. He grew up on a farm along the Apple River as the fifth of six children. He graduated from Amery High School in 1947 and started a career as a cheesemaker for the Wanderoos Cheese Factory. Don married June A. Foss of Nye, Wisconsin in June 1951. Don was drafted by the United States Army in 1953 and spent time in the occupational forces in Japan. Following his time in the US Army, Don studied at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and received his B.S. in 1959 in Physics and Mathematics. In 1963, Don and June settled in Hudson, Wisconsin where they raised their three daughters. Don spent much of his career in the real estate development business, first with Jandric Construction and then Andrews Allen Company, both in St. Paul, Minnesota. Later he owned his own business, Winona Hospitality Corporation, and sold real estate part-time for Century 21 in Hudson. 

Don was an active member of Bethel Lutheran Church in Hudson, the Hudson Boosters and Hudson Band Backers. He also served on the City of Hudson Planning Commission and as a Hudson City Councilman. A baseball player himself as a catcher for the Army’s Black Knights in Japan and the Amery Flyers in the 1950s, Don was an avid sports fan, taking in countless Hudson Raider, Green Bay Packer, Wisconsin Badger and Milwaukee Brewer games over the years with his wife June, family and friends. Don and June loved to travel to visit their daughters and families and also enjoyed trips to Europe and especially Norway. Don was proud of his Norwegian heritage and had a particular passion for lutefisk.

Don is survived by daughters MaryAnn Anderson (Loren) of Minneapolis, Jill Waalen (Douglas Schulz) of San Diego, California and Karen Breitnauer (Douglas) of Verona, Wisconsin; grandchildren Maren Johnson (Elliott), Siri Flores, Andrew Schulz and Wyatt, Shelby and Emilie Breitnauer; and great-grandson Nels Johnson. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Sylvia Waalen, Mabel Waalen, Betty Bliese and Sue Ann Foss and brother-in-law Roy (Beverly) Foss and many dear nieces, nephews and friends.  He was preceded in death by his wife June, parents Nels and Tena Waalen, sister Anna (Ralph) Anderson, and brothers Reuben (June), John, James (Josephine, Myrtle) and Curtis Waalen.

In honor of Don, a memorial service will be held in Summer 2020.  Interment will be in the Bethel Columbarium.  Details on the memorial service will be published at a later date.

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Donald R.'s Tribute Wall

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    • Karen and family,
      My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. Wishing you comfort and peace in the loss of your father.
      Dean and Steph Hogeboom

    • I am very sorry to hear that your father has passed away. As a long time member of Bethel, your parents were fixtures of our church. They were both pleasant and welcoming people. I attend the 11 am service on Sundays and would often see your dad and say hi. I remember one time after your mom had passed and we were downtown, I came up to him to tell him how sorry I was for his loss and he just held my hand and cried for a moment. I will be keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    • May God comfort all n Don’s family and in Don’s community of friendship in the time of loss that comes when a beloved one’s earthly days end. Know that in the time ahead, you will find true what the Psalmist wrote so long ago. The Lord, the Good Shepherd, ‘is with me; your rod and staff comfort me’.

      May you find blessing in your memories of Don, and in the comfort offered by the many who knew and loved him

      Dennis Nelson

    • Don and I worked on the City council for many years and I hold him as a dear friend and one of the finest men I know. We had many wonderful discussions about a variety of things and he will be truly missed.