Donald Runningen

Donald Jorde Runningen, 85, of Houston, died on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at the Caledonia Care and Rehab Center in Caledonia, Minn.

       Donald was born on November 20, 1926, in Caledonia, Minn. to Martin and Alma (Jorde) Runningen. He grew up on the family farm at Fort Ridgley. Donald was a dairy, beef, hog and crop farmer on Fort Ridgley for 50 years. He married Virginia Lassig in La Crosse, Wis. on October 4th, 1947. He served as a Fire Warden in Houston County for 40 years. He was a lifelong member of Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Houston where he served on the church council. Donald was a great steward of the land who understood the importance of land conservation.  He was a good Norwegian who loved lefse, lutefisk and oyster stew. He also enjoyed his travels around the world, especially his trip to Norway with his brother, Wallace. Donald was a very kind hearted, soft spoken man with a wonderful big grin. More than anything, he enjoyed being with his family or riding his John Deere tractor.

Donald is survived by four children: Kathleen Runningen of La Crosse, Wis., Karen (Merlin) Kneisler of Seymour, Wis., David (Nancy) Runningen of Houston, Minn. and Kristi Runningen of Bloomington, Minn.; eight grandchildren: Brandon, Grete, Angie, Dan, Chad, Katie and Astri; five great grandchildren: Tyson, Elsa, Aiden, Elin and Blake; one brother Wallace Runningen of Springfield, Missouri; and by three sisters-in-law: Violet Runningen, Sue Lassig and Jeanne Blanchard.

       He was preceded in death by his loving wife Virginia, his parents; two brothers: Maynard and Dale; sister, Cleone; granddaughter, Kelsey and brother-in-laws Gary Lassig and Kenneth Blanchard.

       The funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 26, at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Houston with the Rev. Lane Zaffke officiating.. Burial will be at the Stone Church Cemetery in Houston. Visitation will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday at Hoff Funeral and Cremation Service in Houston, and one hour prior to the service on Saturday at the church. 

       The family prefers memorials to be directed to the Cross of Christ Lutheran Church.  

       Leave a memory of Donald, sign his online guestbook and view his tribute video when it becomes available at