Donald C. Plageman was born in Minneapolis, MN, on February 11, 1938, the third child of five for Chester and Evelyn Plageman. After a long battle with COPD, he struggled to win the battle against the Covid-19 virus and went home to meet Jesus on October 9, 2020.
Don grew up in Minnesota, and at an early age worked along with his father learning the roofing business. He graduated from East Grand Forks high school in 1956, and inspired by Horace Greeley’s famous quote, “Go west young man,” and being engaged to his high school sweetheart who recently moved to California, he and a friend drove west. He and Lee got married and were blessed with a baby girl. Don was an ambitious young man and worked several different jobs to support his family. Although his dream of going west for a better life looked different than what he had expected, including a divorce and a struggle with alcohol, he tried his best to follow his dream.
He served in the U.S. Army in Korea for two years during the Korean Cold War. After discharge, he had various jobs but eventually went back to the trade he knew best: the roofing industry, supervising and teaching the trade, becoming a sales rep. During this time, he had remarried. This union produced three special children, the first of which had a serious illness and only lived two months. He became an alcoholic, and his wife divorced him and moved to another state with his two other children.
Always the optimist, his hope for a better life never faltered. He met and married a woman with three children. The marriage didn’t work out, but he loved those children and gained a different perspective on life.
In the late 60’s, Don realized that something was missing in his life after hearing several Christian speakers. He realized the missing piece was a relationship with Jesus Christ. It was during the Jesus Movement of the 1970’s that his life took a turn for the good. He asked the Lord to help him stop drinking and he was set free from his addiction that very day. Life became more meaningful. He took classes in Christian ministry, assisted at his local church, taught a youth group, and shared his testimony whenever possible.
In 1987 he married the love of his life, Barbara Small Ronayne. He led her to the Lord, and together they grew in their faith. Their combined families grew to 13 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. They were married 33 years.
He established his own roofing consulting business and became an established name in his field. Unfortunately, he developed cancer in his throat, which slowed down his career. He managed to beat the odds, but not without side effects for the past ten years. Don was a person who saw the glass half full and lived his life with determination and gratitude.
Don is survived by his spouse: Barbara J. Plageman; brother, Robert Plageman, AZ; son: Donald C. Plageman, Jr. (Okinawa); daughters, Michele Bermudez (Rick) CA, Doriane Plageman OR; stepdaughters, Susan Mead (Doug) CA, Lisa Nolte (Donald) MT; Stepson: Michael Ronayne (Cristina) MT, twelve grandchildren, and seventeen great grandchildren
He is preceded in death by his mother and father, his sisters Beverly Dollard and Virginia Clark, and his brother Thomas.
Don’s final resting place will be at the Colstrip Cemetary…and he awaits a reunion with the family he left behind.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. KJV