Donald G. “Donn” Norling


Donald “Donn” Gene Norling, 74, of Willmar, died Monday, August 23rd at St. Cloud VA Medical Center. His deep faith gave him the strength to live each day, courageously battling cancer for several years. His graveside service will be 1:00 pm, Sunday, August 29th at Fairview Cemetery in Willmar followed by pie and ice cream at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home. Please “come as you are attire” casual, jeans, and even camouflage. He is now at home peacefully with the Lord!

Donn was born January 27, 1947, in Willmar, MN, the son of Stanford and Ella (Ritz) Norling. Donn always said, “I was born in Willmar but grew up in Vietnam.” He graduated from Willmar High School in 1965, and on January 26, 1966, he entered US Army and was quickly sent to Vietnam. He served in the 101st Airborne Division, completing three tours. In September 1968 he was Honorably Discharged. After returning home, he continued his education at Bemidji State College in Law Enforcement and Business. During college in the summer, he worked for Norling Brothers Silo, building silos and later in sales.

In 1978 he started Minnesota Hide & Fur, Inc, buying, processing and selling fur skins to Hudson Bay Company and into the European markets.

In January 1983, he was united in marriage to Patricia Jones. To this union two daughters, Michelle Ann and Jennifer Marie, were born. He was the founder and CEO of the gift store, Minnesota Country.

In 1997 he married Ione McDonnell at First Baptist Church in Willmar. Together, they started The Timberline Inc, an Up North gift line. Before retiring in 2018, he worked for over 20 years as a Senior Monetary Specialist with Investment Rarities Incorporated in Minneapolis.

Donn was an outdoor enthusiast who loved sitting in a deer stand, goose blind, or fishing walleye, rain or shine all year. He was an avid reader of history and more importantly the Good Book! All that knew him will remember his wonderful storytelling ability. Donn also cherished the many trips up north with Ione over the years!

Surviving are his wife, Ione, of 24 years; four daughters: Jennifer (and Jason) Weimer of St. Paul, Joy (and Mike) Elskamp of Plymouth, Laura (and Jeremy) Johnson of Edina, Molly McDonnell of St. Louis Park and was blessed with three grandchildren Owen, Liam, and Ruthie. Also surviving is his sister, Sharon Norling of Hendersonville, NC.

He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter, Michelle Ann, wife, Patricia, and brother, Lefty.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

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