Donald Chryst, 1926-2019

Published 1:00 am Saturday, November 9, 2019

Donald Phillip Chryst, 93, of Albert Lea passed away Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. A celebration of life will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Bonnerup Funeral Service, 2210 E. Main St. in Albert Lea. The Rev. Dwight Netzer will officiate. Visitation will begin one hour prior. Following the service, those in attendance are welcome to join the family at Bonnerup’s reception room for cake and fellowship. A private family inurnment will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Albert Lea.

Donald Chryst

Donald Phillip Chryst was born July 2, 1926, in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, the son of the late Harold and Gladys (Jiles) Chryst. He was raised and received his education in Burkhardt, Wisconsin, and graduated from Hudson High School in the class of 1944.

He was a World War II veteran. He served one enlistment in the United States Army, until receiving his honorable discharge at the rank of private first class. Following his discharge, Don journeyed to Alaska, where he had a brief stint in mining gold.

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Don was united in marriage on his 29th birthday to Shirley Grace Fleming on July 2, 1955, in Garden City. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this past July. Following their marriage, they made their home in Albert Lea. He began his 40-year career with Bell Telephone Co. in the Albert Lea/Glenville area, until he retired.

Don and Shirley had four children, but Don — and his soft heart — was known to take on a fatherly role for children within his community who may have needed a little extra help or a little more love. After tensions of the Cold War began dissipating, Don traveled to Russia with friends, exchanging culture and making lifelong connections. He was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Albert Lea. Generous with his time and resources, Don supported his community in an incalculable amount of ways, including involvement in several volunteer organizations. They would include the Young Republicans, Kiwanis Club, Y’s Men International and the Audubon Society. He helped to deliver Meals On Wheels, ran the conservation building at the fairgrounds, read to children at various childcare centers, was a mentor with Americorps and volunteered with Freeborn County ride services. In 2007, he was presented with a regional award, the Jefferson Award in Washington D.C. for his excellence in community service. Among his special interests, he enjoyed tending to his tree farm and finding solace in nature as he spent time in the cabin he built.

Don will be remembered by those who knew him as a remarkable man, an extraordinary father and the epitome of a good neighbor.

Don was preceded in death by his parents Harold and Gladys Chryst; siblings Clayton, Mary, David and Eleanor; and his son, Randy, in 2018.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley Chryst, of Albert Lea; sons Jeff (Kris) Chryst of Albert Lea and Mark Chryst of Warrens, Wisconsin; his daughter, Kathryn (Jeff) Hoyt, of Scappoose, Oregon; his sister, Nancy Chryst, of Gig Harbor, Washington; and two brothers, Robert (Betty) Chryst of Hudson, Wisconsin, and Bill Chryst of Beloit, Wisconsin. Also surviving are his five grandchildren, Sarah (Eric) Schmidt and their daughters Alyssa and Katelyn, Mark (Katie) Chryst and their sons Emmett and Declan, John Chryst, Emily Chryst and Daniel Chryst; and many nieces, nephews and extended family.

The family suggests that remembrances may be contributions to the Albert Lea Audubon Society,, in his memory.

Bonnerup Funeral & Cremation Services in Albert Lea is entrusted with the arrangements.