Donald “Don” R. Tessmer, 87, Princeton
November 9, 1934 - July 26, 2022
Donald “Don” Tessmer, age 87 of Princeton, MN, passed away on July 26, 2022, in Coon Rapids. Funeral Services will be at 11:00 AM on Saturday, August 6, 2022, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Princeton. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 PM on Friday, August 5 at Williams Dingmann Funeral Home in Princeton and one hour prior to the service on Saturday at the church. A private burial will take place at a later date.
Donald Roy was born to Clarence and Marie (Wandersee) Tessmer on November 9, 1934, in Buffalo. The family moved to Blue Hill Township in 1938 (near what is now the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge). Don was on a tractor doing field work, as well as maintaining the tractor, at 11 years of age. His family moved to Princeton in 1948. Don graduated from Princeton High School in 1952. Don met the love of his life, Joyce Wallin, while roller skating at Barr's Resort on Spectacle Lake, later marrying on August 14, 1954. The newlyweds started their life together in south Minneapolis, then moved to Columbia Heights. Don learned the carpentry trade. The couple moved to Fridley where they built a home and raised two children, Todd and Jill. The new family survived the Fridley tornado of May 6, 1965. Don and Joyce enjoyed camping and snowmobiling with their children. They owned a cabin in the McGregor area in the 1970s.
Don was known for having an unparalleled work ethic. Working was so associated with enjoyment, he often said, "I've never had to work a day in my life." In the early years, he built homes with Joe Stroncek. He then went on to work for August Cederstrand Construction in Northeast Minneapolis where he was a foreman. Don owned his own woodworking/construction business where, in the 70s and 80s, he moonlighted for Scarp-Heilman Co. in New Brighton and RMS, then in Spring Lake Park. Don could build, remodel, fix, improve, and modify almost anything. He was a jack of all trades and master of many.
Don and Joyce liked to travel. The couple had been to Alaska, Vancouver, and sailed in the Caribbean. Don and Joyce took in the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany.
The couple moved to Princeton after retiring in 1993. Don and Joyce visited Nashville and Branson as they were country music fans. They took some time to get away during occasional winters and go to Arizona or Texas. Don was active in the community as a member (and pancake maker) of the Princeton Lions Club. Don bowled in a league. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. He was a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. He did volunteer work at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Don used his carpentry and construction skills to convert the former high school in town into apartments and to convert the former grocery store into Trinity Crossing. He also led the project of remodeling the Crystal Cabinets showroom.
Don loved his family and worshipped Jesus. Don led several fly-in fishing group trips into Canada. He enjoyed deer hunting and turkey hunting, spending time in a turkey blind this May. Don was a fan of the Twins and Vikings. He often took the Northstar train from Elk River to meet his son, Todd, at Target Field to take in a Twins game. Don and Joyce enjoyed watching the wildlife on and around their Princeton pond. Don tended to the wood duck houses, bluebird houses, and bird feeders.
Don is survived by his wife, Joyce; children, Todd Tessmer of St. Paul and Jill Wallin of Superior, WI; granddaughter, Prudence Tessmer; brother, Arnold (Kay) Tessmer of Oakdale; and many other relatives and friends. He will be missed.
He was preceded in death by his father, Clarence (Gladys) Tessmer; mother, Marie Tessmer; brother, James Tessmer; and infant sister, Betty Jane Tessmer.