Donald Leighton Close, age 92, passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at Season's Hospice in Rochester, MN after living with prostate cancer for several years. He was born June 9, 1920, in Byron MN to Edwin and Patrina Close. He graduated from Byron High School in 1938. He was employed in the whole sale food business until enlisting in the Armed Forces in 1942. He served in the army combat engineers on the Aleutian Islands and was discharged in 1945. Don married Eileen Leuhrs on April 27, 1947. He operated heavy transportation and construction equipment in Rochester before becoming a carpenter. He later formed his own construction company developing Forest Hills, the Forest Hills Water Company and later joining the Cascade Corporation development (Elton Hills, Crescent Park). In 1971, he terminated the business and entered employment with the Olmsted County Code Enforcement Division from which he retired in 1980. He and Eileen moved to Rogers, Arkansas where they built a home on Beaver Lake. They thoroughly enjoyed their twenty-five years in Arkansas before returning to Rochester in 2005, when Eileen's health began to deteriorate, taking up residency at Shorewood Senior Campus. Some of Don's fondest memories were of the many lengthy trips he and Eileen spent traveling by boat along the Mississippi River. Upon their return to Minnesota, Don continued to spend time on the river, enjoying boating and fishing out of the Wabasha Marina.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Eileen, son Craig, his brothers Victor and Gordon Close, and his sister, Mary Hadley. He is survived by two sons, Tracy (Kristin Peterson) of Duluth, MN and Kerry (Kris) of Eagan ,MN as well as , his seven grandchildren Kevin, Kristin, Karin (Phil) Sollom, Susie (Raphael) Gottardi, and Barbie Close.
The family would like to thank Dr. Rachel Havyer, the staff at Season's hospice, and his friends at Shorewood for taking such good care of Don these past few months.
A celebration of Don's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 16th at Byron United Methodist Church. A luncheon will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, Don would have wished you to make a contribution to the Salvation Army. In the case of inclement weather, please call the church at 507.775.6610 to determine if the service will be postponed.