Donald Wedge, 94, Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The memorial service for Donald R. Wedge of Albert Lea will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, Albert Lea. The Rev. Dwight Netzer will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Bonnerup Funeral Service, Albert Lea. Interment in Graceland Cemetery will be on Saturday prior to services.

Don died on Monday, March 3, 2008, in very good hands at the Good Samaritan Center in Albert Lea surrounded by his loving family. He was 94, and very active in church, community and with dear friends until he broke his hip in early January.

Don was born on Aug. 5, 1913, at home, the son of Robert C. and Adeline L. (Borchardt) Wedge.

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Don graduated from Albert Lea High School with the class of 1931.

He attended Macalester College for two years and has remained active in its alumni society. Don left college during the Depression to help his father in the nursery.

He married Vera Nielsen on June 3, 1941, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. They made their home and raised their family in Albert Lea. He designed his own home, built a swimming pool and skating rinks each year. Don loved to fill his home and yard with picnics, parties, celebrations and family events.

Don retired from Wedge Nursery after 64 years in the nursery business, which was started by his grandfather in 1878. He served as president of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association in 1961 and 1962, and served as the Minnesota delegate to the American Association of Nurserymen for three years. He was a charter member of the International Plant Propagators Society and was active in the International Lilac Society, receiving the distinguished service award for his work in promoting lilacs.

Don was a very avid community and civic contributor giving of his time and talents in many different venues. He served as president of the board of the historical Itasca Cemetery, and a long serving and contributing member of the Graceland Cemetery board, where he organized and acted in &8220;Echoes From the Past,&8221;a walk into history featuring community members acting out the personal history of Graceland Cemetery residents.

Don served six years on the Freeborn County Museum Board and was an avid historian of Freeborn County. One of his most vivid remembrances was going to town on the First Armistice day, Nov. 11, 1918, where everyone was wearing white cloths over their nose and mouth because of the flu epidemic. He also located and identified the largest trees and the historic trees in Freeborn County and placed plaques at their locations.

He was active for more than 40 years in Boy Scouting, earning his Eagle Scout in 1929, and Silver Beaver Award in 1948. Boy Scouts helped form the foundation that made Don so respected in the community. He was blessed with lifelong friends from scouting and through his leadership years within the Boy Scouts.

He was a very active member of the First Presbyterian Church and a member since birth, (prior to his death he was a member for the longest time). He served on countless church committees throughout the years. He was an original member of the Prime Timers, had served as chairman of the Bell Tower Committee, designed and donated the picture window in Westminster Hall in memory of his wife Vera. Don also designed the mural history of the First Presbyterian Church (which Bill Laumann painted). This hangs in Westminster Hall.

He was a member of the Rotary Club for almost 50 years, on the YMCA Board for six years, and member of 87 club for years.

Don is survived by three great children and their spouses: Cleo Wedge of St. Louis Park, Rita and Loren Gray of Fort Atkinson, Wis., and Brad and Bonnie Wedge of Albert Lea; incredible grandchildren and their spouses: Lora Wedge of Seattle, Wash., Cary and Marty Smith of Norita, Japan, Lesley and John Paske of Fort Atkinson, Wis., Sydney and Kurt Wesemann of Fort Atkinson, Wis.; four wonderful great-grandchildren: Hailey and Kenzie Paske, Lyndsey and Ryan Wesemann; and his sister Dorothy Wedge of Albert Lea.

He was preceded in death by his parents: Robert and Adeline; daughter Gail in 1975 (who continually lived in his heart); and his dear wife Vera in 1997 (the light in his life).