Donald Andrew Pykkonen

Donald Andrew Pykkonen, “Farmer Don,” 86, passed away at home from complications of pancreatic cancer on September 5th, 2021, not more than 100 yards from where he was born. Donald was born amidst a blizzard on January 5th, 1935 to Andrew and Hulda Mary (Helberg) Pykkonen in Thomson Township, Minnesota. It was there on the family farm that he spent his entire life. He was the middle of five children with four sisters. Finnish was Donald’s native language and once he went to Washington School in 1941 he began learning English. He farmed his father’s and grandfather’s homestead; the Pykkonens are one of the area’s oldest pioneer families. In 1952 he enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard where he served for 6 years. In his early years he worked various jobs besides working the farm. He worked as bus driver/mechanic for the Esko School District and retired in 1973 to devote his full time to the family dairy farm. Don was very inquisitive, as a result he read about many different topics and skills. With a manual, it seemed he could learn how to fix just about anything. He had a very kind heart and was willing to help his family, neighbors, and friends when they needed it. Donald was also a member of the County Extension Committee for nine years. As a member of St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Don, along with Ardy, were able to go on two mission trips to Haiti (2005 and 2008) to work on the construction of an orphanage. Donald was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Ardeth (Malluege) Pykkonen, sisters Helen Koski and Milly Virgin and brothers in law Tom McKeever and Paul Koski. Donald is survived by children Craig (Lynn) Pykkonen of Laporte, MN, Susan (John) Nelson of Burnsville, MN, Brent (Leah) Pykkonen, Esko, along with his sisters Edna McKeever, Mavis (Richard) Singpiel, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren. The family would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all that loved and cared for Don during his extended fight with pancreatic cancer including dear family and friends along with Dr. Alkaied, the nurses at the Lakeview Infusion Clinic and the Whiteside Institute for Clinical Research. A Celebration of Life for both Don and Ardy will be held at St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Esko, MN on Saturday September 18th at 1:00 with visitation occurring one hour prior. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the St. Matthews 1918 Memorial Fund or the American Cancer Society. A time of lunch and fellowship will follow in the Family Life Center. Burial will be in St. Matthews Cemetery. A video recording of the service will be available on St. Matthews Lutheran Church Facebook page. To sign the guest book and offer an online tribute, see www.atkinsnorthlandfuneralhome.com


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