By HDN Staff
Donald G. Matzke, 80, a retired railroad employee, died Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001, at a Havre hospital of natural causes.
Cremation has taken place.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Jude Catholic Church with Fr. Robert Grosch officiating. Fellowship will follow the memorial service at the Knights
of Columbus Hall, with interment to follow at the Highland Cemetery.
Donald G. Matzke was delivered by mid-wife on Jan. 10, 1921, to Gust and Loretta (Arnsdorf) Matzke on a farm near Marion, N.D. His family moved to Fargo, N.D. in 1929. Donald was educated at a country school near Marion, before moving to Fargo, where he was educated at Horace Mann Grade School and Roosevelt Junior High. His family traveled by horse and buggy. His first official trip took place when Donald "faked his age" (he was 14 years old) to serve time in the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC put him on his first train to serve in Idaho. He served in the CCC for 18 months.
Donald married Fern Carson in November 1939 at Moorhead, Minn. To this union, five daughters were born. She died in 1986. On June 4, 1988, Donald married Margelaine "Marge" Shelden in Havre. She had three daughters and one son at the time of their marriage.
Donald served in the European Theater of Operations as a tank driver during World War II with the 9th Armored Division. He worked at different jobs until going to work for the Great Northern Railway. He worked as a brakeman and was later promoted to conductor. Donald finished his railroad career on the Burlington Northern after 39 years of service in 1982.
Donald was a member of the VFW, Eagles Lodge, and the Railroad Museum. He enjoyed watching his children enjoy life, eating good food, and friendships.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Gust and Loretta Arnsdorf Matzke; first wife, Fern Carson Matzke in 1986; daughter, Laurie Jensen in 1992; sisters, Ordell, Opal, Belvidere and Donna; brothers, Bernard, Charles and Edward.
Survivors include his wife, Margelaine Shelden Matzke; daughters, Gloria Oas of Phoenix, Ariz., Diane Van Gelderln or Canyon County, Calif., Sherry Hansen of Cottage Grove, Minn., and Susan Heffernan of Rochester, Minn.; stepsons, Jerry Ward of Winthrop, Wash., Terry Ward of Portland, Ore., and Kerry Ward of Havre; stepdaughter, Merry Jones of Bozeman; 25 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to The Gift of Life Housing, P.O. Box 7008, Great Falls, MT 59406-7008, or The Railroad Museum, P.O. Box 1605, Havre, MT 59501.
Services and arrangements are under the direction of the Holland and Bonine Funeral Home.