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Donald W. Frederick, 86

May 17, 2020

Don Frederick

(Formerly of Wells) Donald William Frederick, age 86, of Mesa, Arizona, passed away Wednesday, May 6, 2020. A celebration of life will be held at a future date at Open Doors United Methodist Church in Wells.

Donald was born to William Fred Frederick and Mildred Marian Gaines on Oct. 22, 1933, in Bricelyn. Shortly after his birth, the young family moved to Wells.

Education was always important to Don. His elementary and secondary education was completed at Wells Public School. He graduated from Wells High School in 1951. Upon completion of High School, he attended Mankato Commercial College where he completed classes in Business Administration and Economics for one year.

Don enlisted in the U. S. Air Force for four years and attended the U.S. Air Force Comptroller School in Colorado where he completed classes in Accounting. After his time in Colorado, he moved to Texas while he completed classes in Instructor Training. For the next four years, Don taught Accounting at Shepard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas.

During his stay in Texas, Don attended undergraduate classes at Midwestern University. In 1959, after his tour of duty, he returned to Minnesota and attended Mankato State College. He completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Business Administration and Economics. Don’s advisor at Mankato State College urged him to complete a Master’s Degree program. In 1969, he completed his Master’s Degree in Marketing.

On June 20, 1958, Don married Eleanor Faye Matz, daughter of Harold and Ruby (Courrier) Matz. To this union, two sons were born, Steven Harold, Scottsdale, Arizona and Paul Donald, Mesa, Arizona.

His work history was indeed challenging and exciting. As a young man, he worked in a theatre, hotel, variety store, an accountant and parts man for a Ford dealership, assistant manager of a Woolworth store, and numerous other careers.

With his wife, Ellie, they went into the mink ranching business. New challenges made life interesting. An opportunity presented itself, and the couple purchased an existing jewelry and gift store in Wells.

Don was offered a teaching position in the School of Business at Mankato State University. After two years, Don was hired in Wells to direct a new Vocational Center from “SCRATCH.”

With his talented and creative wife, a decision was made to start a men’s clothing store in Wells, The Country Gentleman. The store was outstanding! Over the years the name changed to Frederick’s Department Store.

Don served on the Wells Development Corporation, Wells Chamber of Commerce, Lions, Kiwanis, Wells Golf Club, American Legion, Jaycees, and numerous other committees. He served as Chairman of the Administrative Board when two Methodist Churches merged; Chairman of Pastor-Parish Committee; served on Finance Committee, and Council of Ministries.

Don was awarded the “Outstanding Secondary Vocational Educator,” in 1974 at the Governor’s Conference on Vocational Education. In 1964, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Wells Jaycees. The Minnesota Jaycees presented him with a Silver Key Award for Outstanding State Chairman of “Speak up Jaycees.” In 1980, he was nominated for “Outstanding Wells Citizen Award.”

As Mayor of Wells, the Tri-City Sanitary Sewer Project was born. Easton, Minnesota Lake, and Wells worked together to significantly upgrade its sanitary sewers in all three towns. This award winning State Project was extremely creative and set the example for future cities. This multi-million dollar project was cost effective, and the cooperation of all three towns is a living example of small towns working together to solve a huge problem for each city.

Winding down his career path, he was hired in Olivia, as the City Administrator/Clerk. The next ten years were extremely productive and fulfilling. A new library was built, and it was well stocked with new technology to meet the needs of a community with an appetite for new and creative ideas. A new state of the art water treatment plant was planned and constructed in the community. The sanitary sewer facility was evaluated and upgraded significantly. A new senior independent living apartment building, Fairview Place, was a much appreciated addition to the community. At the same time, new streets and sidewalks were upgraded annually.

In retirement, Don and Ellie purchased a home in Sunland Village located in Mesa, Arizona. He was elected to the Board of Directors twice and served as President/CEO. They later lived at Mariposa Point of Mesa.

Don is survived by his two sons, Steven (Sue) and Paul (Lori); six grandchildren, Ben (Joanne) in California, Michael in Minnesota, Alex (Melissa) in California, Joseph in Washington, Stephanie (Ross) in Arizona, and Kaitlyn in Arizona; four great-grandchildren, Nathan (Michael), Mason (Ben), Austin (Ben) and Crew (Stephanie); sibling, Dorothy Garver.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Eleanor; parents; and brothers, Larry and Gerald.