Donald Whaley, age 88 of Wheaton, Minnesota, passed away Thursday, August 15, 2019, at the Browns Valley Health Center in Browns Valley, MN.

Visitation for Donald Whaley will be held Thursday, August 22, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Wheaton, MN.

Funeral Services for Donald Dean Martin Whaley will be held Thursday, August 22, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Wheaton with Pastor Tim Shekleton officiating.

Burial will be in Wildwood Cemetery, Wheaton.

Don was born in Graceville, MN, to Floyd Whaley and Hanna (Jacobsen) Whaley on November 6, 1930. He was a life long resident of Wheaton, MN. He was baptized and confirmed at the St. John Lutheran Church, Wheaton, MN.

Don and Joan Nelson were married in 1951 and celebrated 45 years of marriage. They had
four children: Kevin, Kent, Roslyn, and Mitchell.

He followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps and became a well driller. Don Whaley Well Drilling was started in 1957 and was in operation for 35 years. His concern for the quality of service guaranteed many loyal customers. Don and his crew drilled and repaired many wells for the farmers in the area. His three sons worked along side their father and learned every aspect of the well drilling business. In time, the business grew to include drilling wells and putting in complete water systems for the new homes built on a number of Indian Reservations in the tristate area. The well drilling business was later sold to key employees, the Reinhardt Brothers. The excavating portion of the business was sold to his two sons, Kent and Mitch.

Don was always an active man. When not operating his businesses, he was busy pursuing his many interests. In the summer, you could find Don out at Lake Traverse. He loved being on the water and enjoyed speed boat racing with friends and brothers, jet skiing with family and friends, teaching his children and grandchildren how to water ski and fish, and sailing his Hobie Cat with his wife, Joan. He also loved riding motorcycles, motor scooters, and four wheelers on and off the road. In his younger years, his all time favorite activity was go-cart racing. He was extremely proud of his Grand National Go-Cart Championship. Another one of his favorite hobbies was building and flying small airplanes with his good friends with whom he created the group called the ‘Black Sheep’. Every fall, he anxiously waited for duck and deer hunting season to open. In addition, he went on numerous hunting and fishing expeditions in other parts of the country with his friends, sons, and grandsons. During the long cold winters in Minnesota, Don would be ice fishing or snowmobiling. When he retried, Don and Joan enjoyed road trips around the country that included visits with their daughter, Roslyn, and her family on the northern west coast.

For the past 22 years, Don enjoyed sharing his life with his dear friend, Mary Lou Block. He loved dogs, particularly good hunting labradors. Whenever you saw Don, there was a loyal lab at his side. Don was an exceptional woodworker and extremely generous in crafting many gifts for family and friends.
He enjoyed his time at the local cafes, Crandall’s and the Country Corner.
The last four years, Don lived at the Browns Valley Health Center where he received excellent and loving care. He will be deeply missed by all those who loved him.

Don is survived by three children: Kent (Karen) Whaley of Wheaton, MN, Roslyn Riley of Eugene, Oregon, and Mitch Whaley of Wheaton, MN; seven grandchildren: Trista Whaley and her children Gabrielle and Bianca Froemke of Wheaton, MN; Jarvis (Jamee) Whaley and their daughter Samantha Whaley of Burnsville, MN, Tyler (Suzanne) Whaley and their children Ellie and Brenden of Wheaton, MN, Julia Riley of Los Angeles, CA, Vanessa (Dale) Riley and their son Tristin, Megan Whaley of San Diego, CA, and Michelle Whaley and her daughter Halle of Baxter, MN; two sisters-in-law: Evie Kurth of Alexandria, MN, and Irene Whaley of Wheaton, MN; and special friend: Mary Lou Block.

Don was preceded in death by his wife: Joan; son: Kevin Whaley; father: Floyd Whaley; mother: Hanna Hills; step-dad: Dan Hills; three brothers: Robert, Arlis “Bud”, and Wayne; and a grandson-in-law: Jeremiah Froemke.

Bainbridge Funeral Home of Wheaton, MN, is in charge of arrangements.

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