Charles E. McDonald, 88, Reads Landing

Charles E McDonald, 88, of Reads Landing, passed away Friday, December 4, 2020, at Gunderson-St Elizabeth Nursing Home, Wabasha.
Charles Ervin was born January 28, 1932, in Aberdeen SD to Charles B and Ruth (Ostrom) McDonald. His father was a railroad worker, and the family relocated to Reads Landing when Charles was a young boy. This began Charles’ lifelong love of spending time on the Mississippi River, set lining and gill netting, walleye fishing, and hunting ducks and deer in the river bottoms.
On June 9, 1956, Charles married Josephine “JoAnn” Meyer at St. Felix Church in Wabasha MN. A Forestry Management major at the University of Minnesota, Charles and his bride embarked on their first adventure, spending their first months of marriage in a fire lookout tower near Burns, OR. The couple returned to Minnesota and lived in St. Paul, finished Charles’ education, then moved to Ely, MN where he worked as a forest ranger. Eventually, the lure of the Mississippi brought the family back to Reads Landing and Wabasha County, where Charles began his career as County Auditor.
Charles and JoAnn raised six children in their home in Reads Landing, five boys (oof!) and one girl. Charles was always an exceedingly patient and understanding father, which admittedly could not have always been easy. There was a time when there seemed to be endless array of broken windows (golf practice), dented cars (driving practice) and even some accidental fires (flaming arrow practice?). And, no, it was not always the work of the boys; the daughter is the one who almost ran him over with the car.
Through it all, each one of Charles’ children knew that they had his unwavering support and encouragement. Charles lived his life with a strict moral code – the closest he’d ever get to dishonesty would be hiding chocolate- and part of his legacy is that his children (eventually) embraced that same sense of right and wrong.
Charles was always there for his family. Leading the prayer before every evening meal, attending sporting events, participating in the much anticipated family deer hunt. He and his wife provided the perfect example of how a couple should interact and treat one another. He was a loving husband and father. His constant, steady presence, his love of the outdoors, his unique sense of humor, his love of music, will all be sorely missed.
Charles was fortunate enough to retire at age 57 and lead a very long, enjoyable retirement. Aside from annual vacations to Ely and his beloved White Iron Lake, he was content to spend most of his time near his home, puttering around the yard and the woods behind the house, an adopted stray Irish Setter always by his side.
Charles served in the US Army during the Korean War. He left college to volunteer, believing that it was his patriotic duty to do so. He earned the Purple Heart and was honorably discharged as Sergeant in August 1954.
A special thank you to the kind and considerate staff at St Elizabeth’s who helped Charles and his family through an especially trying time.
He is survived by his wife JoAnn; six children: Michael (Jennifer) McDonald, Wayzata, MN; Patrick (Jamie) McDonald, Eyota, MN; David (Connie Carpenter) McDonald, Reads Landing, MN; Charles (Suzette) McDonald, Chatfield, MN; Steven (Beth) McDonald, Caledonia, MN; and Kathleen (Richard) Schell, Winona, MN; nine grandchildren: Emily Robillard, Luke McDonald, Hannah Wegner, Jessica Eggers, Michele Pomeroy, Megan McBride, Ryan McDonald, Owen McDonald, and Brendan McDonald; three great grandchildren: Harley Jo Robillard, Hazel Robillard, and William McDonald; a brother William (Paula) McDonald, Mazeppa, MN; a sister-in-law Darlene McDonald, Wabasha; a brother-in-law Morris Mitteness, Hamilton, MT; and many nieces and nephews, and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother Ralph and twin sister Hilma
The Funeral Mass will be held in the future when restrictions of the pandemic have been lifted.
Services entrusted to Abbott Funeral Home & Crematory, Wabasha, MN. Words of sympathy or remembrance may be left at


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