Ronald Henry “Ron” Donarski, 92, of Crookston MN, passed away peacefully in his Summit Apartment residence early Friday evening, August 14, 2020.
Ron was born in Crookston on October 6, 1927, one of eight children of the union of Frank and Belle (Mackowick) Donarski. He was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith and attended Cathedral Elementary School. He moved with his family to Middle River, MN, for a year before returning with them to Crookston. He then attended Carmen Middle School, followed by the Northwest School of Agriculture for a short time. Ron worked on the John DeBoer farm for several years before entering the US Army on January 28, 1946. He was a truck driver and cook stationed stateside at Camp Lee, VA, in support of the war effort. He was awarded the WWII Victory Medal before his honorable discharge on April 22, 1947. After his return to Crookston, Ron was employed as a carpenter by Mackowick Construction, which was owned by his uncles. He then bought a truck and hauled gravel for the Spring Gravel Co. A few years later, he partnered with his brother, Adolph, as they established Donarski Brothers, a gravel hauling business located in Crookston. On August 16, 1950, Ron was united in marriage to Mary Jean Huot at St. Dorothy’s Catholic Church. Over the years, they became the proud parents of Dennis, Gene, Cheryl, and Julie. Mary Jean worked as a bookkeeper for Ron and Adolph as the company grew and prospered. Ron and Adolph sold Donarski Brothers to Ron’s sons, a second-generation of ownership, in 1994. Ron continued to help out until his well-earned retirement in 2010. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, VFW Post 1902, American Legion Post 20, and an Eagles Aerie 873 member since 1949.
Ron and Mary Jean were longtime members of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. They were graceful on the dance floor, and in fact, first met at a wedding dance. Ron enjoyed music, had a golden voice, and loved to sing in church. The couple traveled to Arizona in the winter to enjoy the sunshine and spend time with family. They also enjoyed the summer in their motor home around the lakes of northern Minnesota. Ron loved to cook for his family, especially Polish dishes. He liked watching movies, television comedies, and reading. As a talented carpenter, Ron always had a project going on, with the biggest and best being the addition he put on their home. Ron loved making people smile and would hand out candy bars (or what he called “Attitude Adjustments”) to everyone. Ron and Mary Jean took great pride and joy in their family. Sadly, Mary Jean would pass away on July 27, 2011, leaving Ron with 60 years of the best memories a devoted husband and dad could ever hope for.
Grateful to have him in their lives are his four children and spouses: Dennis and Renae Donarski, and Gene and Cindy Donarski, all of Crookston; Cheryl, and Randy Kvidt of Pelican Rapids, MN; and Julie and Rodney Romuld of East Grand Forks, MN; and twenty-four grandchildren and thirty great-grandchildren. Ron also leaves his brother and sister-in-law, Adolph and Bernetta Donarski of Crookston; sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Denis Kawlewski of Crookston; sister-in-law, Delores Donarski of East Grand Forks; brother-in-law, Ronald Gruhot of Crookston; and many other relatives, and friends. In addition to his beloved wife, Mary Jean, Ron is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Belle; parents-in-law, Hubert and Mildred Huot; and siblings: Leo, Irvin, 6-month old, Albert, Frank Jr. (Elaine) Donarski, and Mary Lou Gruhot. Blessed be the memory of Ron Donarski.
Because of COVID-19 considerations for the safety of family and friends a PRIVATE FAMILY ONLY Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Ronald Donarski at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 2:30pm, Thursday, August 20, 2020. The service will be available for livestream viewing by going to www.crookstoncathedral.com at 2:20pm that day and following the prompts. Interment will be at St. Dorothy’s Cemetery, Dorothy, MN with military honors provided by the Crookston Veterans Council and the Minnesota National Guard Honors Unit from Moorhead. The Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home is assisting with funeral arrangements.