Donald Pearson, formerly of Litchfield, MN died at Harmony River Living Center in Hutchinson, MN on October 17, 2022. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday October 21, 2022 at the Litchfield United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at church. Interment will be held in Ripley Cemetery.
Donald Lowell Pearson was born in Danielson Township to Carl L. and Esther (Erickson) Pearson on Nov. 22, 1924. He grew up on their farm, was confirmed in 1937 at the Rosendale Methodist Church and graduated from Litchfield High School in 1942. Donald served in the U.S. Army infantry during World War II from 1944 to 1946, when he was honorably discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant. Donald was part of fierce fighting in the Philippines and was training for the invasion of Japan when the war ended. He then was sent there as part of Allied occupation forces.
Donald began farming in 1947, and also worked for the Danielson Creamery Co-op. He met his future wife – E. Constance (Connie) Nesset – through friends while she was in nursing training at Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Donald and Connie were married on Sept. 16, 1950 at Messiah Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. They were married just short of 68 years until her passing in August 2018. They purchased their dairy farm in 1957. This marriage was blessed with four children – Mark, Karen, Lowell and Linda. Later, Donald’s in-law children -- Barb, Gary, Kim and Jim -- were so important to his life. Donald served on various dairy cooperative boards from 1965 to 1980, including the Danielson creamery and First District Association, where he was vice chairman, and then chairman of the board of directors.
Donald had great fondness for horses. He raised many and especially cared for teams of horses. He’d talk about the teams they had on the farm where he grew up, and Pete and Dixie, a team he had when he and Connie retired from farming. He passed his love of horses to his children. They belonged to the Atwater Saddle Club, through which they would join in trail rides, parades and other fun times.
In 1986 Donald and Connie sold their farm and moved to Litchfield. He took a part-time job as a groundskeeper at the Litchfield Golf Club which he held for 15 summers. He took up the game, and loved to play the course with family and friends. An annual “Pearson Open” golf tournament tradition began for the family, complete with prizes and a traveling trophy encased golf ball for the winner.
Donald and Connie closely followed the sports competition, musical and church events of their children and grandchildren. They were eager to go cheer and enjoy their events. Donald was never reluctant to milk the cows early to go watch a game or performance on the road. Donald and Connie were faithful members of the Rosendale and then the Litchfield Methodist churches, serving in many roles at both congregations. His agrarian roots carried forward to their Litchfield home, where he planted and lovingly tended a large garden. Donald so enjoyed playing board and card games with any relative or friend who stopped by to visit. If you didn’t know the game, he would gladly teach you. After retirement from farming, Donald and Connie would eagerly dive into newspaper crossword puzzles. They often would tag-team the puzzle, tapping into each other’s areas of expertise. They weren’t reluctant to make phone calls for help if stumped by clues.
Donald is survived by children Mark (Barbara) Pearson of Annandale, VA, Karen (Gary) Poortvliet of Comfrey, MN, Lowell (Kim) Pearson of Hutchinson, MN, Linda (Jim) Johnson of White Bear Lake, MN; grandchildren Preston (Andrea) Pearson, Nathan (Jenny) Pearson, Beth (Brady) Warrick, Jodi (Damon) Bilitz, Greta (Tyler) Olson, Tyler (Emily) Pearson, Hannah (Alex Ortiz) Pearson, and Annie (fiancé Joel Alexander) Johnson; 15 great-grandchildren (and another on the way); many dear nieces and nephews and dear first cousin Sandra Meyer.
Donald was preceded in death in 2018 by his wife Connie; parents Carl and Esther; and siblings and their spouses Carlton (Audrey), Harriett (Glenn), Leslie (Mabel) and Vernon (Janet).
Interment will be in the Litchfield Cemetery. Following the services at the cemetery, family and friends are invited to return to the church for a time of fellowship and a meal. Those not going to the cemetery may go directly to the fellowship hall and be served and await the return of the family. An opportunity to share memories and stories about Donald will be available then.
In lieu of flowers, memorials or donations can be designated for distribution by the family for the Litchfield United Methodist Church, the Rosendale United Methodist Church, Ecumen of Litchfield Home Care and Hospice (ecumenoflitchfield.org), or the Disabled American Veterans (dav.org).