Donald Dean Blumenberg, 86, of Fulton, SD, died Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. A private family funeral service will be held at Bittner Funeral Chapel on Wednesday, November 25th at 1:30pm. Burial will be at Graceland Cemetery in Fulton, SD following the service. The family will host a celebration of his life in May. There will be more details to follow. We hope that all will attend this Celebration! The family will be forming a Memorial fund to honor Don.
Don was born May 25, 1934 in Mitchell, SD to Martin and Maude Blumenberg. He grew up on the family farm North of Fulton and moved to the family farm West of Fulton, and attended Fulton High School. In high school Don was active in all sports and clubs.
Don met the love of his life, Ellene Gannon. The classic love story. “Cheerleader meets basketball star.” He had a Piper Pacer plane that he flew in high school, and rumor has it that he and Ellie had a great date landing in the top of a shelterbelt. Don was united in marriage to Ellene Gannon on August 8, 1958. In 1994, Ellie gained her angel wings. In 2005, Don married Judy Brockhouse.
Don went to DWU and took as many night classes as he could so he could farm during the day. He was drafted into the army where he served as an airplane and helicopter mechanic. His love for flying continued. Don was, also, in the South Dakota National Guard. He graduated from DWU in 1956 and continued farming with his father. Don farmed and fed cattle just west of Fulton until 2009.
Don enjoyed camping and traveling with his children, attending grandchildren’s events, wintering in Texas, and his almighty DWU Tigers. At 6:30pm, he loved solving the Wheel of Fortune mystery phrases. In 1998, he was awarded the “Outstanding Service to Alma Mater from Dakota Wesleyan; In 2013, he was inducted into the Dakota Wesleyan University Hall of Fame; in 2014, he was the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Honorary Parade Marshal; in 2015, he was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award; and in 2019, inducted into the Hanson Athletic Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements. He was strong in his faith of God and was a Lay Leader for the First United Methodist Church. He served on many boards throughout his life. He was instrumental in forming the DWU Teammakers and served on the DWU board of Trustees for 12 years. He served on the Methodist Hospital Board and dedicated the new Nursery unit.
Throughout his life, he assisted and mentored so many people. He had a tough shell with a heart of gold. He was very proud of his German heritage and the forefathers that started the Fulton State Bank in 1924. He served as the Chairman of the Board for a long time. Don was a forward-thinking man that could remove obstacles from whatever path to see success. He was a Can-Do Man! He enjoyed Life! He would tell you to take the trip, go to the game and to take time for family.
Don is survived by his wife, Judy; daughters: Brenda (Rick Sowada) Blumenberg of Mitchell, Lisa Blumenberg Switzer of Alexandria, and Dawn (Todd) Mayer of Fulton; grandchildren: Westin Switzer, Mason (Ashley Daughters, fiancee) Mayer, and Maddilyn Mayer; and sisters, Darlene Fox and Ruth Turek of Minnesota.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Ellie, brother, Wes and his baby sister, Violet.