Donald Robert Leuning, 88

Published 3:46 pm Thursday, July 29, 2010

Donald Robert Leuning, 88, passed away on July 26, 2010, in Austin.

He was born on March 30, 1922, to Fredrick and Kathryn Leuning in Enterprise Township, Moody County, S.D. The family moved to Hendricks, Minn., in 1932. He attended school in Hendricks until leaving early to work the family farm.

Donald joined the U.S. Navy on Sept. 19, 1942. He was a boatswain’s mate on the U.S.S. Rixey APH-3 Evacuation Transport Ship. He was involved in many campaigns in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. Donald was Honorably Discharged on Oct. 12, 1945.

Email newsletter signup

Donald was united in marriage to Lorraine Engel on July 10, 1945; they later divorced. He then married Janet Lien in 1956. They moved to Carrington, N.D., for a short time and before settling in Sioux Falls where he raised seven children and worked as a grain elevator contractor and co-owner of D & W Construction Co. Donald moved his family to Mobridge in 1968 after buying the Mobridge Grain Elevator. Unable to stay in one place for very long, he sold the elevator and went to work for Jacobson Construction, doing what he loved most: building grain elevators. Donald and Janet were later divorced. Donald married Jean Smith in December of 1973. They lived in Austin for a short time before moving to Canada to build another elevator. He moved to Bozeman, Mont., after leaving Canada. He then moved to Faribault, Minn., for a short time and finally retired to Austin at the age of 65.

Donald was a member of the El Riad Shriners, spending many hours with fellow members riding their motorcycles. He was a Mason, a Journeyman Carpenter, and a member of the Crane Chapel Church. Donald loved to fly. He owned several single engine aircrafts. He would fly to many of his job sites.

Those grateful for sharing his life are his six sons and one daughter: John (Holly) Leuning, of Owlshead, Maine, Brian Leuning, of Austin, Leon (Karen) Leuning, of Sioux Falls, S.D., Jeffrey (Lisa) Leuning, of Ethan, S.D., Danny (JoAnne) Leuning, of Kilgore, Texas, Ross (Francy) Leuning, of Owatonna, Minn., Lois (Joel) Thompson, of Hartford, S.D; two brothers, James (Alice) Leuning, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., Phillip (Karen) Leuning, of Arco, Minn.; one sister, Lillian Thompson, of Hendricks, Minn.; 23 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and a host of relatives and friends.

Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Kathryn Leuning; his wife, Jean; his brother, Howard Leuning; his sister, Anne Danielson; and his nephew, Dean Leuning.

Memorial service will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, 2010, at Christ Lutheran Church in Hendricks, Minn., with Rev. Chuck Lindgren officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the memorial service at the church. Burial will follow at the Hendricks City Cemetery with Military Honors by the Rueben-Hansen American Legion Post 195.