Donald Roen

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Donald Roen

June 14, 1939 • November 21, 2018
Donald Roen, 79, also known as “Smiling Don”, a Douglas, ND area farmer and rancher, passed away Wednesday, November 21, 2018, at his home, surrounded by those that love him.

A visitation was held Tuesday, Nov. 27 from 4-7 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Minot, ND.  Funeral services were held Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Minot, ND. Interment was in the Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot, ND.

Donald LeRoy Roen was born June 14, 1939, the son of Oscar and Agnes (Olson) Roen, on the family farm north of Douglas, ND. He was raised on the family farm and attended the country school. He was confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church of Minot in 1955 and graduated from Minot High School in 1957.    

While attending high school, Donald lived at an apartment by himself, catching rides home on the weekends to help clean the calf stalls. After graduating, he stayed home to help farm and ranch with his dad.

In 1958, Don met Marlene LaVon Varberg at a chiveree dance at his farm. The two were united in marriage July 16, 1960 at First Lutheran Church of Minot.

During the early 1960s, Don and his brothers-in-law would go south and custom harvest. Over the following 20 years, Don and his son, Mark, would rent combines to Oklahoma, Nebraska and South Dakota. When the combines returned to North Dakota, they would custom combine. Don farmed and ranched a 250+ herd for his entire life. His true passion was the fall harvest. He loved combining!

In July of 1977, Don was involved in a round baler accident. He was in the hospital in Minot for 39 days before being sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for a week. He eventually was able to regain full strength of his arm and hand.

Don served on the Ward County Soil Conservation Board for 26 years, the NACD (Northern Plains Region) for four years, the South Prairie School Board for 12 years (seven years as chairman), the Verendrye Electric Board for 15 years, the North Dakota Stockman’s Association for 55 years and as the Rice Lake Township supervisor and assessor. Don was also involved in 4-H, FFA (State Farmer Degree FFA), Ping Pong Champion for FFA, 2013 Ward County Soil Conservation Farmer of the Year and was a member of the Moose and Eagles Club. He enjoyed hunting and snowmobiling.

Don touched the lives of many people far and near with his infectious smile, quick wit and friendly demeanor.  

Surviving family includes:  Wife of 58 years, Marlene Roen, Minot; daughter, Colleen (Luther) Pederson, Benson, MN; son, Mark (Jenny) Roen, Douglas; beloved grandchildren, Kyle (Caitlin) Pederson, Alexandria, MN, Karysa Pederson (Cory Luckow), Hawley, MN, Garret (Emily) Roen, Douglas, Levi Roen (Megan Hogue), Douglas, and Kalley Pederson (Dan Fake), Fargo; great-granddaughter (and apple of Don’s eye), Crosby Jeanne Pederson, Alexandria, MN; brothers, Gordon and Richard; sisters, Lucille and Donna; and sisters-in-law, Joan Varberg and Mary Schmidt.  

Don was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Elsie (Boyd) Benson; brothers-in-law, Kenneth Lawley, Harley Varberg, Lowell Varberg and Orvan Varberg, Jr.; and sisters-in-law, Betty Lawley and Jeannette Varberg.

Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories may access the online obituaries section at:


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