Donald Leroy Gesme was born on November 14, 1921, in St. Peter, to A.L. and Anna Katherine (Lockrem) Gesme. He attended school in Emmons, graduating from high school in 1939. Don attended Waldorf College for one and one half years. He worked at the Emmons Leader Newspaper in Emmons, where he learned the art of linotype. In 1941, he moved to Tyler, where he sold advertisements for the local paper. After working there for a few months, he took a job as a linotypist at the Balaton Press Tribune in Balaton. Since Don had mastered the art of linotyping, he was given the opportunity to stay in Balaton and use this skill to keep the newspaper in circulation or join the army. He chose to join the Army.
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Donald enlisted in March of 1943. He was stationed in the Philippines and Japan. After the war, he worked, again, at the Balaton Press Tribune. He later went to work at the Marshall Messenger in Marshall. On June 5th, 1947, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth “Betty” Donahue. To this union were born four children. In 1958, he started his own business, Gesme’s Rapid Print. The name was later changed to Gesme’s Printing. Don’s wife, Betty, died in 1991. In 1992, he married Dorothy Schipper of Naples, FL. The couple lived in Naples until her death in 2011.
Don enjoyed his family, the State of Florida, bowling, going to casinos and golfing. He was very proud of his five holes-in-one. He was a member of the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree, Rotary, and the Marshall Chamber of Commerce. Don served as Commander of the Legion from 1956 – 1957.
Don died on February 11, 2019, at the Bethany Home in Brandon, SD. He is survived by his daughters Jean (and Dennis) Zwach, Robin (and Terry) Schleif, and Peggy (and Arlyn) Lindsay, son Paul Gesme, and stepdaughter Carole Ryan; seven grandchildren: Scott (and Mary) Zwach, James (and Emily) Zwach, Heather (and Robert) Aanstad, Kelly (and Scott) Jarrad, Jennie (and Tim) Harding, Angela (and Dustin) Sharpe, and Randi (and Matt) Riggs; eleven great-grandchildren: Hanna Zwach, Halle Zwach, Parker Zwach, William Zwach, Austin Jenniges, Tanner Aanstad, Jax Jarrad, Joss Jarrad, Emersyn Harding, Avyn Harding, and Eve Riggs; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his two wives, Betty and Dorothy, his parents, great granddaughter Reece Jarrad, sisters Katherine Ann (and Maurice) Lykke and Lorraine (and Spencer) Honsey, and step son-in-law John Ryan.
Blessed Be His Memory.