Donald Nord


Donald Harris Steen Nord, aka Don and Donnie, was born on April 5, 1929, on the farm his grandfather homesteaded in 1876 near Hawley, Minnesota. He died peacefully at the Sanford Medical Center on March 1, 2023. He leaves a legacy of faith, humor, storytelling, farming and business expertise, music, kindness, and loving care for others.

Visitation will be Tuesday, March 28, 2023, from 5 to 7 P.M. with a prayer service at 7 P.M. at Wright Funeral Home in Hawley, MN. The funeral service will be Wednesday, March 29, at 11 A.M. at Hawley Alliance Church in Hawley, MN. A livestream of the service will be available at Interment will be in the spring at Dale Covenant Cemetery.

Don Nord loved growing up on the farm and from an early age was very active in helping his father John and brother Earle with all the field and livestock duties. He and his wife, Ellen, eventually bought the farm, and he was actively engaged on the farm until 91 years old.

Of course, he farmed with horses when he was young. He loved all the animals on the farm, particularly his horse Tony and his dog Pal and told many stories about his two four-legged friends.

He studied at a one-room schoolhouse until he entered the seventh grade at Lake Park Schools where he attended through the ninth grade. When his brother Earle entered the U.S. Navy to serve in World War II, Don served his call to farming fulltime and never looked back. He only left the farm twice - for six months in his early 20s to study at Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis, where he talked of the great friends he made. Again, in the winter of 1949 he worked for his cousins, Harold, and Roy Sellin, moving snow in North Dakota, and would occasionally run their large equipment during the fall.

Donald Nord was a singer, professionally trained by a local voice teacher. He loved singing and would break into song if a comment or activity sparked his repertoire of hymns, American standards, or pop songs. He typically sang at weddings and special events particularly at churches.

It was at one of the special church services as a guest singer where he officially met his future wife Ellen Bratlien, (he remembered her from Lake Park School “her hair bouncing on her shoulders”). They chatted during the event’s meal, and he gave her a ride home. From that point they dated and were married on June 25, 1955.

Donald Nord’s life was filled with farming, singing, and being a very active parent to his six children even during busy times on the farm. For example, he and Ellen would arrange for a family vacation to start the minute harvest was done. Already packed, he would finish the last field, get off the combine, shower, and get in the car. He taught all his children the Bible, baseball, horseback riding, and to drive cars, tractors, pickups all at an early age.

He was a friend to many. After he retired from fulltime farming and his wife Ellen Nord died, he would spend many days going into town for lunch to visit with friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. He enjoyed traveling the countryside to see neighbors, relatives, or to simply observe the crops.

He leaves behind six children, Deanna Nord Nogel (Randy Nogel), Daniel Nord (Julie Nord), Douglas Nord (Cathy Nord), John Nord (Barbara Nord), Joy Nord (Janusz Nord), and Kristen Nord; 12 grandchildren - Randy Nogel Jr., Jesse Nogel, Caleb Nord, Cierra Nord, Justin Morrison (Breann Morrison), Heather Winkler (Stephan Winkler) , Harrison Nord, Jakub Nord, Emma Nord, Samuel Centeno, and Diego Centeno; 7 great-grandchildren - Serena Nogel, Shea Nogel, Jack Nogel, Colton Morrison, Easton Morrison, Viera Winkler, and Calan Winkler.

He also leaves behind an extended family of cherished cousins, nieces and nephews, and many friends.

Besides his wife, Ellen, Don was preceded in death by his parents, John and Emma Nord, siblings Earle Nord, Viola Erlien, and Erma Teisberg as well as beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins.

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