Services for Don Simonson, Sr.

Don Simonson, Sr., age 89, of Mentor, MN, passed away on Sunday, August 30th, at his home. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 6th, in the park area west of the Fire Station in Mentor with the Rev. Michael Sletto officiating. Interment will be in Faith Lutheran Cemetery, Mentor. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service on Sunday at the park in Mentor. All are welcome to attend and usual Covid-19 guidelines will be in place. Also, please bring your own chair to the service. Arrangements are with Carlin Funeral Home of Erskine and messages of condolence may be shared at

Donald Wilson Simonson was born March 22, 1931 in Woodside Township, Minnesota to John and Ocie Simonson. Don discovered what would be his lifelong passion when he began working on heavy equipment operations at the age of 16. While living and working in Cando, ND, Don and his brother, Earl, met a couple of Windjue sisters and fell in love. They won over the girls’ father by digging their way to the girls by hand when the driveway had snowed in. Not long after, Don married the love of his life, Betty, on February 10, 1951.

Don and Betty lived in several towns in North Dakota and Minnesota before settling in the Mentor area in 1954 to raise their family. Don always said that he kept busy by chasing Betty but was thankful he couldn’t catch her because he wouldn’t know what to do if he did. However, we know she let him catch her at least few times because they ended up with five wonderful children. Don worked for several companies doing road construction, and other developments, until he and Betty purchased the Mentor grocery store in 1974. The couple ran the grocery store, until Don started D&B Construction in 1981. He worked in this business until he “retired” at the age of 86. In his “retirement,” he often volunteered as a supervisor at D&B Construction throughout the rest of his life, even briefly testing the turn radius (and his children’s patience) on a road grader just last fall.

Don enjoyed working and providing for his family. He valued spending time in his yard, meticulously working on his plant and flower beds - tracking down any trace of weeds. Throughout his life, Don has been a huge supporter and fan of local sports – starting with watching his own children and grandchildren. He and Betty were regular fixtures at basketball games in the area. By far, Don’s favorite pastime was sharing his time, love, and lots of laughs, with his family and friends. Nothing gave him greater joy than to be called dad and grandpa - he embraced many others as his own over the years. There is no truer definition of a “family man” than Grandpa Don. As his family, it was easy for us to share him because he had time and love for everyone. He taught us the priceless value of openheartedness (and a good sense of humor) over and over again.

Don passed away peacefully in his home, with family by his side, on August 30, 2020. He was adored by his family and many, many others. His smile, his wit, his zest for life, and the pure love you felt when he hugged you, will be missed. When asked how he was doing, he would always reply, “I’m damn close to perfect but don’t think anyone would believe me” – which always got a laugh, but it’s doubtful anyone was in disagreement!  We are so grateful for the time we’ve been blessed to have with him.

Don is preceded in death by his parents, John and Ocie Simonson; his parents-in-law George and Ethel Windjue, and his daughter Sandi Johnson, as well as siblings and siblings-in-law.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Betty (Windjue).

Children: Deb (Bruce) Roed, Vickie Pippin, Donnie (Shirley) Simonson, Gary (Juli) Simonson.

Grandchildren & Great-Grandchildren (#): Eric (Nicole) Roed (3), Cherie (Matt Rivera) Thompson (4), Shelly (Mark Sorenson) Henrickson (3), Karla (Mike) Ness (3), Josh (Amy Kleinwachter) Pippin (3), Katie Simonson, Sarah (Jason Sherriff) English (2), Shannon (Missy Fallon) English, Chad (Kary) Johnson (2), Brent (Heidi) Johnson (3), Jana (Jeremy) Beard (1), Tony (Kelli) Simonson (2), Krystle (Justin) Giarusso (3), Kyle (Jade Pries) Simonson (3), Tiffany (Jesse Parker) Simonson (2).

Sister Lila (Earl) Lucken, sister in-in-law Kate Simonson, and brother-in-law Lloyd Windjue.

The Simonson family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Kanten and his nursing staff. Your dedication and care was always a comfort to our family. We will never forget everything you have done for us and we are forever grateful for the extra time you undoubtedly afforded us with our husband, brother, dad, and grandpa.






Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225

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