Donald Edward McGrath of Spring Park, Minn. and formerly of Spicer and Willmar passed away peacefully June 21, 2020 of natural causes, surrounded by his extended family.
Born June 29, 1932 in Los Angeles, California, Don was a US Navy veteran, successful businessman, active community volunteer, and loving husband, father, and grandfather.
Raised in the Twin Cities, Don played varsity baseball, basketball, football, and tennis at Murray High School in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul. He graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Mines in 1954. His collegiate years included time on the Gopher basketball squad, participation in the Naval ROTC program, and faithful brotherhood in the Beta Pi chapter of Beta Theta Pi.
Thereafter serving aboard USS Talladega APA-208 through 1958, he was homeported at Naval Station Long Beach, Calif.
During this time he married his college sweetheart June Elizabeth Thorsell of St. Paul on October 20, 1956. After USN service, Don entered the business world displaying increasing talent in leading corporations toward improved profitability. Moving on from an early engagement with Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, Don realized his desire to return to Minnesota in 1964, moving to Anoka, Minn. with his growing family. His experience at the Cornelius Co. included a stint managing the Canadian division in Mississauga, Ont. from 1971 to 1973, turning around a struggling operation. Again looking to return to Minnesota, Don moved on to Tyler Corporate Industries of Benson, Minn., rising to the position of President prior to retirement in 1997.
Always active in the community, Don was affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America for the better part of six decades, from his own youth earning the Eagle Scout Award, later leading Packs and Troops, and venturing to Philmont Scout Reservation on multiple expeditions. He inspired his entire family through these years, as all became Scouts and leaders, and indeed passed on this passion to his grandchildren.
In addition to church activities over the years, Don worked with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) promoting entrepreneurship in western Minnesota during his retirement years.
An avid sailor his entire life, Don with June spent several years sailing their motor sailer The Blue Suki in the Irish Sea, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean Sea. They then moved on to touring the US in their classic 1975 GMC motorhome in the early 2000’s.
Don’s other passions included tennis, golf, and downhill skiing right into his 80’s.
He is survived by his devoted wife of more than 63 years, June, and sons Gus of Fischer, Tex., Eric of Reno, Nev., and Duncan (Rebecca) of Plymouth, Minn., and daughter Gretchen (Hendrik) Vroege of Deephaven, Minn. In addition his nine grandchildren, whom he held dearest to his heart, include Braden and Brett McGrath, Madisen and Jack McGrath, Olivia and Anna McGrath, and Hans, Lucas, and Ellen Vroege.