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1949 Don Roberts 2024

Donald Linne' Roberts

March 20, 1949 — May 4, 2024

North Mankato

Donald Linne Roberts was called home to eternity with God on May 4, 2024. He died at Mayo Health System, Mankato, MN after his final battle with ALS. Don was born on March 20, 1949, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, MN to Dolph and Ruth Roberts. He graduated from Two Harbors High School in 1967, graduating from University of MN Duluth in 1971 with a degree in Business Administration. He entered Northwestern Seminary in the fall of 1971, graduating in 1975. Don’s internship was in Lindenhurst, Long Island, NY. 

While at seminary he met the love of his life, Bonnie Schulz, and they married in 1975. It was a busy May in 1975….graduating from seminary, marriage and ordination over three consecutive weekends! Their first congregation was a two point parish at East and West Sveadahl in St. James, MN. In 1979, Don began ministry as an Associate Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Red Wing, MN, where he served for 13 years and where they welcomed their three children, Jeremy, Paul, and Katie.  In 1989, Don accepted a call to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Mankato, MN where he served until his retirement from the ministry in 1996 due to ALS. 

ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a vicious illness that slowly robs the body of motor skills. The normal span of life of this terminal illness is 2 - 5 years. Don was diagnosed in 1995. In the year 2000, he made the decision to permanently go on a ventilator and feeding tube as he gradually lost more and more ability to function. He and Bonnie made this difficult decision together as they did all things. It gave him the opportunity to watch his children grow up, graduate high school, college, marry and experience the joy of grandchildren and he participated in it all. For 29 years, Don and Bonnie fought ALS together. Bonnie was his advocate in all things and fought for him and his care. His family will be forever grateful for Bonnie’s loving care. Don’s communication was through his eyes….the windows to the soul. From twinkling to laughter to serious to emotional, his eyes welcomed us. He wrote monthly devotions for the Bethlehem newsletter. He wrote Words of Hope, a devotional sharing his faith. He ministered throughout his illness. His witness to the power of God’s redeeming love and overwhelming gift of God’s grace was a testament to his faith. 

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Bonnie’s parents, and brother-in-law John Hanson. He is survived by Bonnie, his beloved wife of 49 years; sons Jeremy (Brandi) Roberts, Paul (Heather) Roberts, daughter Katie (William) Sordahl, sister Betty (Dennis Peterson) Blettner, grandchildren Ethan and Jack Roberts, Jordan Roberts, Erik, Isaak, and Anderson Sordahl, sister-in-law Jane Hanson, and brother-in-law Gary (Debbie) Schulz, and nieces and nephews who adored him. 

The family wishes to thank the doctors and staff of Mayo Heath System, Mankato, the fabulous Bethlehem family who showed us how a church family is supposed to work, the numerous care givers over Don’s 29 year ALS struggle who bonded with him and the family, the many people who touched his life and whose lives he touched….may God’s peace and grace be with you all. A private family service will be held at a later time.

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