September 11, 1929 – August 26,2019


The mass of Christian Burial celebrating the life of Donald “Don” Bartkowicz, age 89 of Bowlus will be at 11:00 AM Friday, August 30, 2019 at the St Edwards Catholic Church in Elmdale MN. Burial will be in the parish cemetery immediately following mass. There will be a visitation from 4-7:00PM Thursday August 29th, at the Miller-Carlin Funeral Home of Holdingford, and Friday August 30thfrom 10 – 11:00 AM Friday at the church in Elmdale. Parish prayers will be at 4:30 PM followed by Knights of Columbus prayers.

Don was born September 11, 1929 in Sobieski,MN to Stanley and Cecelia (Kedrowski) Bartkowicz and passed away Monday, August 26 2019, at the Mother of Mercy Campus of Care in Albany. He married Bernadine Maciej on May 15, 1950 at St Edwards Catholic Church in Elmdale. They lived in the metro area for a time while he worked at the Ford Motor Plant until they decided they wanted to move back to the Elmdale area. After a short time farming the opportunity came for them to purchase Bernadine’s parents farm in Elmdale Township. While farming, Don worked in Little Falls for many years at the Hennepin Paper Mill but decided his true commitment was to his family and farming.

Don was a lifetime member of St Edwards Catholic Church. Through the years, he served on the church Council, as church Trustee and as a mass Lector. He had a vision and followed it through to organize a Knights of Columbus council in his local area. His dream was fulfilled with the organization of the Knights of Columbus #12604. His dedication allowed him to play different roles and earn different titles as the council and his commitment grew. On his way he received The Star of Honor, became a Fourth Degree, would serve as Faithful Navigator of the Fourth Degree and was named Minnesota Knight of the Year.

Don had a love for all sports. Earlier in life he enjoyed playing softball. He was always up for a competitive card game of Smear or 500. In the early 1980’s, he became a part of a group who pursued the dream of having a community recreational gathering facility. He was very involved with what became the construction and the organization of the Upsala Recreational Building. From there, it lead to him being instrumental in the forming of the Upsala Horseshoe League of 60 plus members, in which he was President of for many years. During those many years, he proudly wore the title of “Mr. Horseshoe” with a high pitch average of 40-50%. His love of sports was carried over to watching the Twins or Vikings games but what he truly enjoyed was being a fan of the local sports teams. He enjoyed watching his sons/grandsons play football, basketball and baseball. Mix in some wrestling and then add in his daughters/granddaughters basketball, volleyball and softball games and you could be guaranteed to see him with Bernie in the stands on any given night.

Don is survived by his wife, Bernadine Bartkowicz, Avon; his children; Diane (Larry) Berens, Blaine; James (Lora) Bartkowicz, Bowlus; Dave (Nancy) Bartkowicz, Circle Pines; Leonice (Mike) Urbanski, Holdingford; Rodney (Lynn) Bartkowicz, Holdingford; Mary Lou (Butch) Gerads, Bowlus; Kevin (Lisa) Bartkowicz, Mound; Daughter-in-law Jane (Randy) Tretter, Burtrum; 26 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Ernie Bartkowitz.

He is preceded in death by his parents, his son, Ken Bartkowicz, son-in-law, Jeff Rogers and his brother and sisters, Gertrude Milbert, Esther Lashinski, Rita Stewart, Lorraine Jarnot, Richard Bartkowicz and Elizabeth Maciej.