FIFTY LAKES - Donald Joseph Raph was born on Feb. 2, 1927, and passed away on Oct. 1, 2008, at the age of 81. He was survived by his wife of 60 years, Bertella. Don and Bertella have nine children - Terry Fornell (Gregg), Lucinda Harrison (Jim), Laurie MacInnes (Fred), Colleen Sheehan (Tom), Danny Raph (Diane), Kelly Raph (Ann), Blair Raph (Tammy), Tracy Raph (Danette), Holly Kline (Joel). They are also the proud grandparents of 21 grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Born in Holland, Minn., Donald moved to Swanburg when he was 6. He attended school in Fifty Lakes and Pine River and served in the U.S. Navy in 1944-45. Upon returning to Swanburg he became a carpenter. He married Bertella Goldenstein on April 11, 1948, in Swanburg where they lived for two years until they moved to Fifty Lakes where he lived the rest of his life in the house that he built himself.
To say that he was an outdoorsman is an understatement. Donnie was a hunter and trapper and had an expert understanding of the natural world. Always an early riser, he monitored and recorded the weather and could predict its outcome from the habits of the birds and animals he observed. A voracious reader, his curiosity was insatiable and his memory unfailing.
He was a sought-after carpenter and was a mentor in that regard to his four sons. Donnie loved trees and planted rows and rows of them along and through his fields and yard. He also grew a huge garden each year and gave vegetables to family and his many friends around the area. They will miss him terribly.
Donnie was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Mary Raph, four brothers, Roy Jr., Earl, Gerald and Arvid. He is survived by his brother, Merlyn, and two sisters, Viola Hardy and JoAnn Mudd (Tommy).
Donations in Donnie's memory may be made to the Faith Lutheran Church of Swanburg.
Services will be 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, at Faith Lutheran Church, Swanburg, with Pastor Marlyn Korman officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Arrangements are with Kline Funeral Home, Pine River.
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