Donald Francis Plouffe was born on Dec. 29, 1937, in Northbridge, Mass., to Charles and Irene (Lozier) Plouffe. He was the second of five children who were raised on the Milford, Mass., family farm. As a child, Don loved the out of doors. He was always tormenting his mother with baby racoons, pet foxes and any number of other wild creatures that he thought to tame. One of his favorite pranks was to have a baby flying squirrel in his pocket when he went to school. He fed the squirrel when the teacher wasn’t looking. All was well until the day the squirrel got loose in the classroom. Don always claimed the punishment was worth seeing the Nun dancing on the top of her desk as the squirrel flew around the classroom. Eventually Don was allowed to graduate from Milford High School.
Upon graduation from high school, Don enlisted in the United State Navy. He spent the majority of his service on the U.S.S. John Paul Jones. Don’s main duties were as a boiler tender, however while on board Don’s reputation as a great cook traveled ship wide. His fellow sailors would trade their cooking duty shifts with Don so that he would cook his fantastic Italian cuisine. He was relieved of many tedious hours of watch just so the sailors on the ship could eat well. All but three months were either at sea or on foreign soil. He was especially drawn to Japan and spent a year there after he was honorably discharged.
Over the years Don developed a passion for all sorts of building — both large and small projects. His craftsmanship and attention to detail produced many beautiful pieces of furniture while his knowledge of architecture and design produced stunning homes and buildings. He collaborated with a Harvard professor on a three-bedroom envelope home that required only a candle for heat.
During this time, he met and married Mary Shepherd. To this union, three children were born, Kim Mary, Amy Lou, and John Paul.
Don worked as a lobster boat captain, steeple jack, and recovered stolen or abandoned vehicles for the Boston Police Department. In his spare time Don loved the ocean and spent as many days as he could on Cape Cod. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, an interest that lasted for many years.
In 1988 he moved to Minnesota to be closer to his children. He met and married Cheryl Gunderson McLain and became stepfather to Erin and Colin. He ran his own handy-man service. He still received calls to see if he would be willing to fix a deck, paint a door, or build a cupboard long after he retired.
Don retired and concentrated his energies on creating a beautiful landscape around his home. He designed and constructed a water fall, reflecting pool and pond in his backyard. Trellises abounded to support vines and flowers. In his work shop he built cabinets, refinished furniture and designed and built custom projects.
His carpentry work was curtailed when a diagnosis of lung cancer was received in 2006. He battled bravely through various debilitating conditions and finally passed to the heavenly kingdom on Aug. 8, 2012.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Irene; and brothers, Albert, Evert and Paul.
He will be sadly missed by his wife, Cheryl; children, Kim Chapel, John Plouffe (Carrie) and Amy Plouffe; stepchildren, Erin Darling (Molly) and Colin McLain(Amy); sister, Donalda Plouffe and Frances Moroz; grandchildren, Breanna Knott, Jacob Crowley, Caitlyn, Rochester, Seirra, Kira, Oscar and Evangeline McLain, Destiny Plouffe, Ashley May, Frida and Arlo Chambers; and extended family and friends.
Services will be held 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Baxter. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday at the Nelson-Doran Funeral Home in Brainerd and will continue the hour before services at the church on Monday. Burial will be in Solem Lutheran Cemetery in Kensington, Minn. Military honors will be provided by the Kensington American Legion Post No. 268 Color Guard.
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