Don Joseph Blaeser


Don Joseph Blaeser, 73, passed away on February 4, 2023 with his family by his side at the Sanford Broadway Hospice House in Fargo, after a year and a half battle with cancer. Don was born in Crookston on April 29, 1949 to Ervin and Leona (Teuber) Blaeser. He grew up on the family farm near Mahnomen, MN and attended school there, graduating in 1967. He attended Moorhead State and graduated in 1972.

He began his career in education teaching at the Campus School at Moorhead State and then at Campbell Tintah. He took a break from teaching to earn his masters and specialist degrees from Moorhead State and the Tri-College University. Don met Pam Bonawitz and they were married in 1979. Don and Pam began their married life together in Karlstad, MN, where Don was Elementary Principal and also taught in the elementary part time. He went on to become the Superintendent there. In 1986, Don and Pam moved to Halstad where Don was Superintendent at Norman County West Schools until 1998. Their daughter Emily was born in November 1986. After a year as Interim Superintendent of Tri County Schools in Karlstad, the family moved to Fertile, MN in 1999 where Don was Superintendent of Fertile Beltrami Schools until his retirement in 2007. He came out of retirement a few years later to fill in for two and a half years in Fisher, MN. Throughout his years in education he enjoyed driving school bus, attending high school sporting events, superintendent meetings with his peers, and early morning coffee with the cooks and custodians. Don worked with a lot of good principals, teachers, paras, board members, bus drivers, cooks, custodians, and students who made his job easier.

Don was a farm boy at heart. He worked for Curt Borgen in college and beyond. In retirement he worked for Scott and Karl Tollefson and Paul Engelstad. He had many adventures in the beet truck and hauling corn and soybeans. He also worked at JT’s Station and helped with outdoor maintenance at the Sandhill River Golf Course.

Don loved his family, golfing, ice cream, and beer, especially his favorite kind-cold and free. In retirement Don and Pam enjoyed traveling in the winter. They spent much of their time in Kingsland, TX and attended Twins Spring Training in Florida. He also enjoyed finding new and interesting places to eat. He was well known for his booming laugh that lit up a room.

Don is survived by his wife of 43 years, Pam and daughter Emily, Pipestone, MN, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Nancy and Larry Erickson, Moorhead, MN, and brother Robert Blaeser, Munich, Germany and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Ervin and Leona Blaeser and his in-laws Harold and Joyce Bonawitz.

There will be a celebration of Don’s life on Saturday, June 24, 2023 at the Sandhill River Golf Course in Fertile, MN from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Memorials can be directed to Sanford Broadway Hospice House of Fargo, the Fertile-Beltrami Education Foundation, and the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library. Please view our guestbook and share condolences online at Arrangements with Erikson-Vik-Ganje  Funeral Home of  Fertile, Minnesota

Modulist Image