Donald Frederick Aagenes, 99 years 8 months, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Mountain Iron, Minn.
He was born on April 22, 1921, on his mother’s birthday, to Alfred and Hannah (Larson) Aagenes in his grandmother Caroline’s house in Fertile, Minn.
He attended grade school in Fertile, then a one-room school house in Sundahl, Minn., and later graduated from Gary, Minn., High School in 1939. He graduated at the top of his class and earned a scholarship to Hamline University which he declined to stay and help on his parent’s farm.
On Aug. 1, 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was at Camp Crowder, Mo., for basic training in the Signal Corp. Additional training was at Pittsburgh, Pa., and Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, N.Y. After completing radio school, Don was assigned to a naval communications ship, the USS Blue Ridge in September of 1943. The USS Blue Ridge set sail from Port of New York and traveled to Cuba, Panama Canal, Tonga Tabu in the Fiji Islands, Brisbane, Australia and finally to the east coasts of New Guinea. He crossed the equator on Nov.7, 1943.
The USS Blue Ridge was the command or Flagship of the Seventh Amphibious Force and radio communication center for the area. Don was a supervisor of a crew of radio operators coordinating the operation and landing of the Army. He was involved in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines, the largest naval battle ever fought. After that, the USS Blue Ridge returned to Hawaii for new equipment where he was discharged on Nov. 2, 1945, as Master Sergeant.
In the spring of 1946, he started working in Flom, Minn., in the grocery business where he met Muriel Jacobson. They were married on June 5, 1948 in Flom. He continued to work at Flom Creamery until February 1953 when they left for the Iron Range and settled in Eveleth, Minn. He worked 30 years for the Erie Mining Company (Pickand Mathers) in Hoyt Lakes, Minn., retiring in February 1983 as shift general foreman. Muriel passed away on Feb. 2, 1978.
In 1994 he moved back to Fertile, where he married Clarice (Gunderson) Lindberg on June 18, 1994. In 2013 they moved into Summerfield Apartments in Fertile. Clarice passed away on Jan. 7, 2015.
In September of 2015, he moved to Independent Living at Edgewood Vista in Virginia, and into assisted living there in 2018. In June 2020 he moved to Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Mountain Iron.
He enjoyed dancing, cross country skiing, (well into his 80’s) and volunteering. He was intelligent, loving, and especially enjoyed time spent with his family. He always enjoyed a good cup of hot coffee! He will be greatly missed!
Donald is survived by his son, David (Patricia) Aagenes of Britt, Minn; daughter, Vicki Parise of Eveleth; step-son, Wayne (Janis) Lindberg of Minnetonka, Minn.; sisters, LaVonne Christianson of Mayville, N.D., and Caroline Erickson of Fertile; sister-in-law, Anne Pederson of Fertile; brother-in-law, Paul Wiesehahn of San Jose, Calif.; grandchildren: Jason (Stephanie) Aagenes, Daniel (Lindsay) Aagenes, Kyle (Danielle) Aagenes, Christina Parise and Jill (Martin) Rudzik; step-grandchildren, Randy (Grace) Lindberg, Matt Lindberg, and Rena (Matt) Lenz; great-grandchildren: Alexa and Hailey Aagenes, Noah, Gabe, and Sam Aagenes, Olivia and Isla Aagenes, Ella and Anna Rudzik; step great-grandchildren, Eira and Erna Lindberg and Henry Lenz.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Hannah Aagenes; brothers, Orvis Aagenes, and Millard Aagenes; and sisters, Helen Aagenes, and Anna Wiesehahn.
The family would like to thank Lindsay and her staff at Diamond Willow for their excellent care and consideration during his stay.
A private family service took place on Thursday, Dec. 24, at Range Funeral Home in Virginia. Burial with full military honors will be held at Concordia Cemetery in Fertile.
Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. To sign the online guest book or send condolences visit www.rangefuneralhomes.com.