Donn Ehlenz


Donn T. Ehlenz, formerly of Mitchell, South Dakota, passed away September 10, 2020, at the Madison, Minnesota hospital. Donn was born in Madison on August 9, 1941. He grew up in Madison and was baptized and confirmed at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. He attended St Michael’s school and graduated from Madison High School in 1959. While in high school, Donn participated in sports, musical ensembles and wrote a sports column for the school newspaper, the “Rouser.”

After high school Donn attended St. Cloud State University and the Minnesota School of Business, preparing for a career in business management. He worked in Minneapolis and St. Cloud for Franklin Manufacturing Company before he found his niche in the hospitality industry. His motel management career would take him to Watertown, South Dakota, Rochester, Minnesota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and finally to Mitchell, South Dakota.

Donn loved Mitchell and the plains of South Dakota. He managed the Best Western Motel and later became the co-owner of the Corn Palace Motel. In Mitchell, Donn was able to indulge his passion for pheasant hunting and would host and guide hunters from all over the United States.

Donn was also an avid golfer. He never met a golf course he couldn’t talk his way around. When he did hit a fantastic shot he said it was due to his “great upper body strength.” One of his favorite activities was holding court. His audiences often questioned his sources but he was never deterred. This was part of “Dandy Donn’s ” charm and charisma that attracted many people over the years.

He was a dog lover forever. His Beagles ran his house and his life and he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

Health considerations brought Donn back to his hometown in 2018.

He is survived by his brother Richard, and sister-in-law, Renee, his nephew, Jeff Ehlenz of Albert Lea, MN and niece, Jennifer Becker of Rochester, MN.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mavis and Lambert Ehlenz and his nephew, JP Ehlenz.

Memorials may be sent to Madison HealthCare Building Fund.

There will be no service.

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