Cover photo for Donald Ernest Ruud's Obituary
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1939 Donald 2023

Donald Ernest Ruud

July 1, 1939 — January 13, 2023

Donald Ruud, 83, of Fergus Falls, died Friday, January 13, 2023 at his home, under the care of Knute Nelson Hospice.

Donald Ernest Ruud was born on July 1, 1939, to Ernest and Ethel (Straka) Ruud near McGrath, MN, the youngest of three sons. He attended school in McGrath until junior high when his family moved to Browerville, MN. He did not graduate from high school and entered the service of our country in the U.S. Air Force. He served at several stateside bases and bases in Korea and Japan. He received his GED, and after an honorable discharge from the Air Force he attended St. Cloud State University, graduating with a BA degree. He later earned an MS degree in Education from Bemidji State University and an Educational Specialist degree from North Dakota State University. He completed coursework for his PhD in Education.

On April 6, 1988, Don married LaVonne Teberg, his best friend and caring love of his life. To this marriage Don brought four children: Timothy (Bev) Ruud, Debora (Doug) Rapp, Scott (Joyce) Ruud, and Michael Ruud. LaVonne brought three children: Kevin (Sandy) Watterud, Greg (Kim) Watterud, and Tammy (Chuck) Anderson. Together, they have 19 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren. Tim, Bev, and Mike preceded Don in death.

Don’s career included several positions in public education. He was Speech Therapist, Guidance Counselor, High School Superintendent, and Principal. He always focused on supporting students facing difficult life situations. During his career he was most proud of all the students he helped in their school journey; bringing the High School Knowledge Bowl Program from Colorado to Minnesota where it has become a statewide MSHSL sponsored activity; Don also started an alternative school in Caledonia, MN that continues to be successful to this day.

Don wanted to share a final comment to everyone who knew him… and to those who didn’t. “My last request… give hugs to those you love every day and please don’t say how good I was, but that I did my best. Just say I tried to do what’s right… I gave the most I could, nothing less. Please don’t give me wings or halos, that’s for God to do. I want no more than I deserve. No extras, just my due. Don’t be concerned about me now, I’m well with God. I have made it home. Don’t talk about what could have been, it’s over and done. The battle has been won! When you draw a picture of me, don’t draw me as a saint. I’ve done some good, I’ve done some wrong… it hasn’t been all bright and light, there has been some gray and dark. Don’t put me down on canvas, just paint me in your heart. Don’t just remember all the good times, but also the bad, for life is full of many things. Some happy and some sad. But if you must do something, then I have one last request: forgive me for the wrongs I’ve done and with the love that’s left, thank God for my soul’s resting. Thank God for all who loved me, and praise God who loves me best!”

Don was survived by his wonderful wife, LaVonne; his children: Deb (Doug) Rapp, Scott (Joyce) Ruud, Kevin (Sandy) Watterud, Greg (Kim) Watterud, Tammy (Chuck) Anderson; grandchildren: Willy (Jenny) Westrom, Eric (Jennifer) Huseth, Danny (Angie) Huseth, Amy (Levi) Stenerson, Brian (Anna) Rapp, Russ (Nickie) Rapp, Melissa (Jason) Sims, Tony (Amber) Ruud, Adam (Joleesa) Ruud, Maia (Zach) Maurer, Timothy Ruud, Nathan Ruud, Kacey (Ashley) Watterud, Jacob (Lexi Svendsgaard) Watterud, Zach (Karra) Watterud, Mara (Brady) Schwartz, Taylor (Taylor) Karger, Rylee (Hannah) Anderson, Kya Anderson; great-grandchildren: Kyra and Laura Westrom, David, Elsie, and Arlene Huseth, Austin, Logan, Mady, and Jaxson Huseth, Mila Stenerson, Mia and Isla Rapp, Chloe, Madi, and Noah Rapp, Garrett, Mikayla, Dylan, and Naomi Sims, Gracie, Jackson, Tatum, Colbianne, William, and Gabriel Ruud, Layla and Braelyn Ruud, Oliver Watterud, Hallie, Harper, and Rhett Watterud, Hayes Anderson; great-great -grandchildren: Bexley, Kylan, Oliver, Onyx, and Waylon Smith. Preceding Don in death were sons, Timothy Ruud and Michael Ruud.

Donald Ernest Ruud left us feeling peace physically, mentally, and spiritually. He touched many people’s lives, and he lived a very good life. Be at peace with Jesus, Don.

Memorial Service: 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 21, 2023, at the Olson Funeral Home, with visitation one hour prior to the service
Participant: Scott Ruud
Military Participation: Fergus Falls VFW Post 612 and American Legion Post 30
Interment: West Elbow Lake Cemetery

Olson Funeral Home, Fergus Falls, is in charge of arrangements
Online condolences may be sent to
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 21, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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