Donnie’s Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Ekelund Lutheran Church in rural Goodridge, MN, with Rev. Kristin Ostercamp officiating. A private family burial will take place at a later date at St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery in Thief River Falls.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM with a 7:00 PM Prayer Service on Friday, June 22, 2018 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN. Visitation will also take place one hour prior to the funeral service on Saturday at the church.
Donald Richard Grabowska was born on May 26, 1956 in Thief River Falls, MN, the son of Albert and Bernice (Race) Grabowska. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Ekelund Lutheran Church. Donnie attended Goodridge Public School, graduating in 1974. After graduation he attended Northland Community College in Thief River Falls. He was an avid athlete and excelled in many sports in high school and continued to participate in a variety of sports activities throughout his life, his latest enjoyment being golf. Not only did he participate in all sports, he was also a true sports fan of the Minnesota Twins, the Timberwolves, the Wild, the Vikings, and enjoyed following all the other teams.
On December 15, 1979 Donnie was united in marriage to Julie Scheef at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Goodridge, this being the first wedding held at the new church. Together they made their home in the Goodridge area, then moved to Thief River Falls. They were blessed with three boys, Christopher, Scott, and Jeffery who Donnie nicknamed, “My three sons.” Donnie was excited to welcome “daughters” Tracy and JoLynn to their family.
After school Donnie worked construction in Northwestern Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota. He started farming in rural Goodridge in 1984 with his father, Albert, eventually taking over the family farm and continued to farm until his recent death.
Donnie enjoyed competition and was a competitive player in whatever game he played, from cards to golf. He was a thinker and could figure out how to win whenever he played. Donnie enjoyed traveling with Julie, making trips to Montana, Florida, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Aruba. His favorite activity while traveling was relaxing on the beach. He also enjoyed reading the daily and Sunday Star Tribune from cover to cover, keeping up with the local and world news happenings. Donnie and Julie took up wine making as a hobby and enjoyed sharing the fruits of their labor with friends and family. Above all, Donnie enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren.
Donnie is survived by his loving wife Julie of 38 years of Thief River Falls; children, Chris (wife Tracy, and children, Bristol and Paisley) of Manhattan, MT, Scott (wife JoLynn, and children, Jaxson, Charles, Zoey, and Noah) of Alexandria, MN, and Jeff (son, Gannon) of Killdeer, ND; sister-in-law, Helen Grabowska of Mesa, AZ; siblings, Larry (Pat) Grabowska of Stephen, MN, Shirley (Steve) Holte of Grygla, MN, and Mark (Jeannine) Grabowska of Hereford, AZ; mother-in-law, Marge (Willie) Scheef –Kosmatka of Minto, ND; brothers-in-law, Tom (Becky) Scheef of Belfield, ND, and Mike (Tonie) Scheef of Warroad, MN; 19 nieces and nephews; several great-nieces and great-nephews; and many cousins and special friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Bernice Grabowska; brother, Gerald Grabowska; and father-in-law, Jack Scheef, along with many uncles and aunts.
Some may think that this is the end of his story, however it is not. Donnie’s story will continue in the stories and memories shared by all who loved him and by the way his children and grandchildren continue his legacy.