Dr. Donald Jerome Pfau, 87, of Walker, Minn., passed away peacefully on Monday, March 22, 2021, at The Minnesota Veteran’s Home in Silver Bay.
A memorial service will be held April 15 at 2 p.m. with visitation starting at 1:30 at Hope Lutheran Church in Walker, followed by military honors. A reception open to the public will be held at Charlie’s Up North following from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Interment will be at Minnesota Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls, Minn., joining his beloved wife Lucy.
Don was born on April 10, 1933, to Reinhold (R.W) and Vivian Pfau in Hettinger, N.D. Don grew up in Wishek, N.D, attended Wishek Schools and graduated High School in 1951. Don enlisted into the U.S. Army, served honorably from 1952 to 1954, during which he was active duty stationed in Germany during the Korean War. Don earned several medals while in active duty during that time.
Following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Don attended University of North Dakota, graduating in 1958 earning a bachelor’s of science degree. Upon graduating from UND, Don continued on to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., to pursue his Doctorate of Optometry. Don graduated as an Optometrist in 1964. During the last few years of optometry school, Don started to gain the interest of his eventual wife Lucy while both were lifeguarding at the hometown pool, they eventually married in June 1964. After their wedding they moved to Walker as Don’s family vacationed in the Outing and Hackensack area and his stepfather and mother were living in Hackensack.
Don started his optometry career in Walker, in 1964 where he owned and operated his optometry practice for over 20 years. After he closed his practice in Walker, Don worked as an optometrist for Pearle Vision in Duluth, St. Cloud and Bemidji for another 10 years after which he officially retired from being an optometrist in 1995. It is at this time Don was officially “under foot” full-time with his wife, Lucy as they together enjoyed retirement and their home on the south end of Walker Bay on Leech Lake. Don particularly enjoyed the deck of their home on the lake, always inviting family, neighbors, friends, friends of friends, whomever to join him there for a beverage. On many occasions, this invite would mean being “trapped” as those invited stayed much longer than they intended and Don held court telling story after story, many of which you had probably heard before! He was a true storyteller in every way.
Don loved the outdoors and Walker was perfect for all the things he enjoyed. Whether it be just staring at trees in the yard, taking a drive out into the woods, walking in the woods behind the house, deer hunting, or even canoeing, he was most happy when surrounded by nature. The love of outdoors even allowed Don, although against the advice of his wife, to “dabble” in making maple syrup for several years as well as a couple seasons of harvesting wild rice, both being quite the ordeal, albeit successful with the end products they produced.
Don also loved Walker and being involved with the community. Don was part of several organizations throughout the years in Walker — Coffee Flippers, Walker Rotary, Walker Boy Scouts (Scoutmaster Troop 34), Lions Club (Walker and Mesa, Ariz.), Walker Jaycees, Walker Curling Club, Walker American Legion Post 134 and Hope Lutheran Church, to name quite a few. Don also was part of the Minnesota Army National Guard, specifically the 204th Medical battalion (M.A.S.H. Unit) eventually retiring in 1993 after serving for 25 years with a rank of major.
In 2007, Don and Lucy sold their Walker/Leech Lake home and moved to Mesa (Leisure World). They enjoyed their time together there from October to May, returning to Walker for the summers until Lucy’s passing in October of 2015. Don continued to reside in Arizona until health issues arose requiring more attention where he eventually became a resident at the Minnesota Veterans home in Silver Bay. Don enjoyed Silver Bay; after all he had a fresh audience to tell all of his stories to. Trouble was so did “everyone” else! He truly did enjoy Silver Bay, especially outings to various lakes, parks and the annual fishing trip on Lake Superior, — really, all the activities that were offered until his health limited his ability to take part any longer.
Don is survived by son David (Shawna) of Blaine/Walker, and granddaughter Allison.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother John; and his loving wife Lucy.
Don’s care has been entrusted to Whispering Pines Funeral & Cremation Service (whisperingpinesnorth.com).