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Memories & Candles

“Todd, Sorry to hear about your Dad passing. I have so many great memories of him hauling my motorcycle and me to the races along with you! It was a...Read More »
1 of 20 | Posted by: Al Faber

“My condolences to the Elmer family. Don was a great guy. He always had a smile on his face. We always had fun at the bowling alley. We loved it when...Read More »
2 of 20 | Posted by: Linda Schiele Schmidt

“I remember Donny from years ago as I also was raised in Evansville. We were fortunate to enjoy several lunches at his table at the Trackside Cafe on...Read More »
3 of 20 | Posted by: Dorothy Carlson Anderson ( formerly of the Island)

“Prayers to you and yours. Am so sorry for your loss. I hadn't lived in Alexandria area long but do remember a few games of bowling there with the...Read More »
4 of 20 | Posted by: Bobbie Olson

“The Elmer Family May the Lord give you comfort over the passing of Don. Rest in Peace ”
5 of 20 | Posted by: Roy and Ruth Nodsle

“Todd, Corey, & Darcy, I'm so sorry to hear of Don's passing. I always enjoyed the many times I got a chance to see him over the years because of...Read More »
6 of 20 | Posted by: Arch Simonson

“Our deepest sympathy to the family . Went on a few trips with Don and he always showed us a great time . I remember watching him dance at the Eagles...Read More »
7 of 20 | Posted by: Liz and George Meyeraan

“Never once saw Donny on a bad mood! He always had a smile. I loved it when he took our bus route. He should be known as "Mr. Evansville! " He...Read More »
8 of 20 | Posted by: Carole (Schiele) Hanish

“Prayers for his family he was a great guy Rip ”
9 of 20 | Posted by: Tammy& Rick swenson

“He was such a wonderful man. He always had a smile for everyone. My friends and I would hang out at the bowling alley in high school and visit...Read More »
10 of 20 | Posted by: Deb Schaffer

“Dear Elmer family, I have really enjoyed getting to know your dad. We had some good talks about fox hunting and how I would see him fly over our...Read More »
11 of 20 | Posted by: A friend

“I delivered to Donny for many years. He always greeted me with a smile. I will miss him. He was a great guy. My condolences. ”
12 of 20 | Posted by: John Hughes

“Don was a customer of mine for years. He always treated my employees with kindness and was always fair and honest in any dealing. Rest In Peace Donny...Read More »
13 of 20 | Posted by: Warren Stefanski Alexandria Beverage Co.

“So many good times with Donny. He was a wonderful dancer! Our condolences and prayers for all the family. He was a truly legendary Evansville figure....Read More »
14 of 20 | Posted by: Justine (Bock) Jacobson and Family

“Our love and prayers are with your family during this difficult time. Don was always kind to us and our family. I always appreciated his kindness...Read More »
15 of 20 | Posted by: Chrisy (Lueders) Bates

“So sorry to hear the loss of our friend. Many good times have been spent at the alley and Don's Ballroom. Thanks for sharing all your years with all...Read More »
16 of 20 | Posted by: Louise Schjei Kahler

“So sorry for your loss. We enjoyed visiting with him over coffee and hearing lots of stories. And he had many to tell. We also had a good time at...Read More »
17 of 20 | Posted by: Gary & Sharon Behrens

“RIP, you will be so missed. ”
18 of 20 | Posted by: Lorinda floding

“I enjoyed visiting with Don when he brought us Brandon teachers and others up to Lake of the Woods for fishing. A friendly, helpful man. My...Read More »
19 of 20 | Posted by: Sue Kjelland

“I wonder how many games I bowled at Don's Thanks Don. ”
20 of 20 | Posted by: Roger Johnson


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Don J. Elmer, 82, of Evansville, Minnesota, died on August 6, 2017 at Alexandria Assisted Living in Alexandria, Minnesota, under the care of Knute Nelson Hospice. Don was born in Cottonwood, Minnesota on April 23, 1935, the fifth and youngest child of Clarence and Ella (Loe) Elmer. The family moved to Evansville later that year, where Don was confirmed in the Christian faith at Our Savior's Lutheran Church. As a young man, Don worked in Clarence’s feed mill and hatchery business with his family and many kids from Evansville. In high school, Don and his classmates set school records in football, basketball and baseball under Coach Stan Kaess, whom Don greatly admired. Don graduated from Evansville High School in 1953. Don married Shirley (Fedje) Elmer on August 22, 1953. The couple lived in Evansville and worked in the family feed mill and hatchery business in the early years of their marriage. In 1957, Don faced one of the toughest challenges of his life when a car accident near Parkers Prairie, MN left him sidelined for two and a half years. Through sheer will and determination, Don taught himself to walk again. It was during his recovery that Don decided to build a bowling alley, which was completed in 1960 with the help of two carpenters and twenty-six farmers who poured the concrete. Don’s Lanes was an Evansville institution for decades. Don added a pool hall and bottle shop in 1970, an on-sale in 1976, and a dance hall in 1981. During the heydey of the 1980s, hundreds of people could be found each weekend in Don’s Lanes, Lounge and Ballroom. The bowling alley was the center of Don’s life for 38 years and he enjoyed every day of it. Don loved to entertain people and made sure everyone had a great time. Don was generous with his time, both with his family and, really, everyone else, too. He spent time with each of his sons, on racing trips, driving trips across the country, and trips for ice cream with all of their friends. He was a friend, listener and confidant to many young people throughout the years. Don is survived by his sister, Betty Olson of West Fargo, ND and by his three sons: Todd (Kathy) Elmer of Evansville, MN; Corey (Brenda) Elmer of Moorhead, MN; and Darcy (Leanne) Elmer of Rochester, MN. He is also survived by his five grandchildren: Christian Elmer (16), Jack Elmer (13), and Blake Elmer (9) of Moorhead, and Cameron Elmer (7) and Claudia Elmer (7) of Rochester, and many nephews and nieces. Don was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Shirley Elmer; his parents; and his brothers Wayne Elmer, Ray Elmer and Dean Elmer. Visitation: 4 to 7 PM Friday, August 11, 2017, at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria, MN. Funeral Service: 11 AM Saturday, August 12, 2017, at Faith Lutheran Church in Evansville, MN. Burial to follow at Mound Grove Cemetery in Evansville, MN. Condolences may be sent online at

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