Jan. 5, 1934 – June 22, 2015
With a song in his heart and love of God, family and friends in his soul, Donald Hugh Friesen took his final train to join Carolyn Ruth Friesen, his wife of 54 years, on June 22.
Don was born on Jan. 5, 1934 in Washington, Iowa, the fourth child of Peter and Myrtle Friesen. Raised Mennonite, Don and his big brother Herb and three sisters Rosa, Katy, and Betty, learned to praise God in song and to love and honor family.
The family moved to Des Moines, Iowa where Don spent his childhood, helping his family employed as a young paperboy and making his family proud as a marbles champion. The family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado where Don enjoyed his teen years, playing basketball on the city team, driving his car on the railroad tracks, and being mischievous beaming his lights on couples on lovers’ lane!
After high school Don decided to join the Marines and moved to Camp Pendleton, California. Joining the Marines not only allowed Don to serve his country, but also gave him many lifelong buddies and the opportunity for a blind date with a beautiful blonde nurse named Carol. Don and Carol fell in love.
Don converted to Catholicism and married Carol and soon they had five daughters: Rose, Paula, Eileen, Carol and Jo.
Don was a loving father who enjoyed coming home to hugs and kisses from his daughters, taught them how to play basketball and to waterski, and waited up for them when they went out on dates.
Don also enjoyed dates with Carol, often commenting how proud he was to have her on his arm. Most of their “dates” included their daughters, enjoying Sunday morning at the donut shop, dinners out at their favorite Mexican restaurant, and Sunday night popcorn and root beer floats watching Disney and “Bonanza.”
Don and Carol enjoyed their life together in Montrose.
Don started working as an appliance repairman soon after leaving the Marines and eventually became the owner of Foster Appliances Maytag Service. Don was not the typical “lonely Maytag man” but had a thriving business that kept him busy and connected in the community. Don had the gift of good story telling and remembering everyone whom he met, and he was known for his generosity and kindness.
Don displayed his capacity for love through his character and his interests. Don was an active member of Holy Redeemer parish, serving as a Eucharistic minister for many years. Don’s love of singing never ceased and he joined a barbershop chorus. His barbershop quartet took time frequently to sing to hospital patients, nursing home residents, waitresses having birthdays, family members and anyone who needed some cheering.
A great interest in trains led Don to HO model railroading and taking his family on road trips that typically involved a train ride or two. Somehow Don’s train fascination became strong enough to manifest in his genes with his grandson Dustin and his great grandson Lucas both sharing the fascination.
Don’s greatest love was for God and the goodness of God that he saw in everyone. He befriended everyone and was always ready to help when help was needed, whether you were his family, friend or just someone he met at the rest stop and you needed money for gas.
His generosity and kindness knew no limits. Donald’s legacy continues in the love and memories of his many friends and family.
Don is survived by his three sisters Rosa Kempton, Katy Wallace, and Betty Magyar; daughters and sons-in-law Rose and Bill Faler, Paula and Jim Gallagher, Eileen and David Mosher, Carol Grant, and Jo and Herb Wedekind; grandchildren Donald and wife Theresa Gallagher, Jason Gallagher, Sara Gallagher, Dustin Mosher, Jeremy Mosher, Ashley Wedekind and Herb Wedekind; great-grandchildren Lucas Gallagher and Muriel Gallagher; and his doggy Cash.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of Don’s favorite charities, the Red Cross www.redcross.org, Barbershop Singing www.harmonyfoundation.org and California State Railroad Museum www.csrmf.org.
A Memorial Mass for Don Friesen will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 2 p.m. at Holy Redeemer Church, 2411 Montrose Ave. in Montrose.
Please visit CrippenMortuary.com for a memorial tribute to Don.