Services for Donn Hardin Reichert
Wed, 02/17/2021 - 3:57pm admin
Donn Hardin Reichert lived a long and active life as a trucker, a farmer, a business owner, and civic leader in the Clearbrook, Leonard, and Fosston areas. He is most recently remembered as the founder and proprietor of Reichert Saddlery and Farm Supplies in Leonard. He passed away peacefully at his farm home near Clearbrook on Sunday evening, February 14, 2021, following a long struggle with advanced prostate cancer. He was 85.
He began his career managing gas stations in Laporte and Fosston for Anderson Reichert Oil Company, which was owned by his parents, Dean and Arvilla Reichert and his grandmother Sena Anderson. He then founded and operated Reichert Transport, Inc., a trucking business based in Fosston, during the late 1950s and 1960s. It was in Fosston where he met his wife of 57 years, Ruth. In 1970 Donn and Ruth and their four young children moved to their farm outside of Clearbrook and Leonard, where they operated a dairy, and raised beef, hogs, and chickens.
When Donn sold his dairy herd to his son Kurt Reichert in the mid 1980s, he purchased his beloved horse Rowdy and pursued his passion for building and repairing saddles. What began as a hobby soon evolved into Reichert Saddlery, which he operated from an old barn on the farm. When the Leonard Co-Op Creamery was closed in 1989, Donn and Ruth purchased the historic building for their growing business, expanding it to include farm supplies. These last years the store has been managed and co-owned by his son Ray Reichert.
In addition to horses, Donn had a lifelong passion for sailing. Growing up in Bemidji, he would sail with friends on Lake Bemidji. Later in life he acquired a 23-foot sailboat and spent time on Cass and Leech Lakes. In 2006 he purchased a 28-foot sailboat called the Queequeg and spent several months tending to the boat and sailing on the Gulf of Mexico at Freeport, Texas. Because he could never convince Ruth to sail, he turned his focus to river houseboating, and he built a 48-foot houseboat in his machine shed. He was never able to complete the houseboat due to earlier treatments for prostate cancer. It was his dream that in retirement he and Ruth would explore the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers on this houseboat.
Throughout his life Donn was committed to community service. He served on the Clearbrook School Board, the Clearwater County Board of Commissioners, and the Board of the Clearbrook Elevator Association.
He was born on April 22, 1935, in Crookston to George Dean and Arvilla Reichert. He grew up in Bemidji and attended the Bemidji State Teachers College Lab School through his elementary and junior high years and graduated from Bemidji High School in 1953. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and Bemidji State, and served eight years in the Minnesota National Guard.
Donn is survived by his wife Ruth and their five children: Karl Reichert (Reynaldo Diaz) of Minneapolis, Kurt Reichert (Sompit Sailao) of Clearbrook, Eric Reichert of Clearbrook, Donna Martin (Greg Martin) of Blackduck, and Ray Reichert (Valerie Reichert) of Clearbrook, his brother Loren Reichert (Betty Reichert) of Las Vegas, NV, 8 grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, 2 step-great-grandchildren, as well as a daughter from a previous marriage, Lisa Kohlmeier of Centralia, WA. He is preceded in death by his parents George Dean and Arvilla Reichert, and an infant sister Carolyn Deane.
A Celebration of Life will be planned for early summer on the family farm. Memorials preferred to the Clearwater Hospice Fund, a component of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation: Clearwater Hospice, 212 Main Avenue North, Bagley, MN 56621.