June 2, 1918-April 30, 2008
Donald J. Eveslage, 89, teacher and administrator at Frazee High School for 36 years, died of heart failure on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 in Burnsville, Minn.
Born to August and Rose Eveslage on June 2, 1918, in St. Cloud, Don graduated from Cathedral High School in 1935 and St. Cloud State Teachers College in 1939. He earned a Master of Science degree in Education from Northwestern University in 1948.
After his first two years of teaching, Don married Florine "Mickey" Schwartz, his high school and college sweetheart, on June 6, 1942. They moved to Minot, N.D., where Don taught social studies and coached six-man football. (He later said that the first game of six-man football he ever saw was the one he coached.)
His first son was born in Minot in 1943. They moved to Frazee the following year. Their sons Thomas (Sonja) of Philadelphia, Robert (Patty) of New Ulm, James (Jenni) of Rochester and Jon (Pat) of Burnsville grew up in Frazee.
Don was Frazee High School principal and taught English and social studies from 1944 to 1953, when he became a full-time principal. He later served as assistant superintendent for two years, retiring in 1980. During his 36 years at FHS, a new senior high school and a lower elementary school were built and certified personnel increased from 17 in 1944 to 104 in 1980.
An avid sports fan, Don watched his sons compete at Frazee High School. They later often joined him to cheer on any other Minnesota college or professional sports team. He played tennis in and after college, then golf into his late 70s. He also enjoyed music. At the end of a work day, he loved to sit at the piano and improvise with a flourish any melody that fit his mood.
But more than anything, Don was an educator. During his early years in Frazee, he taught economics and college-prep English, often endearing himself to students who 10 or 20 years later would write or visit him to express their appreciation. While he enjoyed helping students learn, he found equally satisfying what he later said were "the many things I could do as an administrator to improve the education of young people."
Beyond those contributions in Frazee, Don was recognized for 31 years with the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals and for administrative work on District 23 athletic programs. He also was active in Elks and the Knights of Columbus.
After retirement in 1980, Don and Mickey kept their summer home on Wymer Lake near Frazee, but traveled extensively and sought a warmer winter climate. They tried Texas one year, then Arizona, but settled on Florida. For 23 years they spent winters in Apopka, outside Orlando. During his years in Florida, Don volunteered as a reading and English teacher. In 2006 their second home became The Rivers, an independent-living community in Burnsville.
For years, Don's daily ritual included a morning crossword puzzle and an evening card game with his wife Mickey -- and bridge games whenever possible. His love of language continued throughout his life. During his last two years as a resident of The Rivers, he was a regular contributor when residents gathered to complete crossword puzzles.
Surviving Don are his wife Mickey, four sons, brother Eugene of Silver Spring, Md., 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be at the Furey Funeral Home in Frazee from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday, May 4, with a prayer service beginning at 6:30 p.m., and continuing for one hour prior to Monday's services in the church.
Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, May 5 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Frazee. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery.
The family would like memorials sent to Hospice, 2450 26th Ave. So., Minneapolis, MN 55406. Arrangements are being provided by the Furey Funeral Home, Frazee.