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Donald P. Skopec

Jun 21, 2022 (0)

Donald Patrick Skopec, 78, of O'Neill died Thursday, June 16, 2022 at Arbor Care Center in O'Neill.

Visitation was held Sunday, June 19, 2022 at Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill with a prayer service.

Funeral services were held Monday, June 20, 2022 at Christ Lutheran Church in O'Neill. Rev. John Nelson officiated.

Burial was in the O'Neill Cemetery in O'Neill.

Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.

Donald was born St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1944, at St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neill. He was the first of two boys born to parents Mildred and George Skopec. 

Don lived his early years in Emmet until moving with his family to their farm, three miles south of Emmet. Don attended elementary school in Emmet and O'Neill High School from which he graduated third in his class in 1962. Don Larson, long-time sponsor of O'Neill's National Honor Society, recounted during Don's daughter Sherri's induction into the organization that her father Don had been the first inductee into NHS in its inaugural year.

Upon graduation, Don joined his father George and grandfather Charles in the family farming operation. In the summer on 1965, Don was riding down the streets of Page with his brother Dwaine and longtime friend Jim Carr and his girlfriend Peggy. Dwaine was driving because just that day Don had lost his glasses while fishing at a local lake. His vision was not obstructed enough though to miss a cute young Page girl, Peggy Crumly, also waiting for a friend in Page. The boys stopped Peggy and wanted to know if she wanted to go to the carnival with them all in O'Neill. Peggy was generally cautious, but knew Jim's girlfriend so decided they were ok and they all went to the carnival. According to Peggy, “We all got on the ferris wheel, but as we were going, a thunderstorm erupted. They started letting everyone off, but as you can imagine, Don and I were stuck in the top seat. Before we got off, we were soaking wet. That was our first date.” Peg said that they soon discovered that they had so much in common. The romance flourished and they were married that Dec. 27th at the Methodist Church in Page.  They met in a thunderstorm, and they married in a blizzard. First thoughts were that the wedding might have to be postponed, but they went ahead. They made it as far as Bassett that evening but awoke the next morning to a car covered under a heavy blanket of snow. Undeterred, they shoveled out and continued on, enjoying a honeymoon exploring western Nebraska.

Don and Peggy returned to pick up their life together, Peggy teaching school and Don farming with family. On Aug. 2 of 1967, Don and Peg were blessed with the arrival of their son Steve to be followed by daughter Sherri on Dec. 3, 1972. 

In addition to farming, Don worked for many years as a custodian at St. Mary's school. His custodial duties included care for the facility but also care for many students assigned to work for tuition or for "behavioral growth." Don enjoyed all of those children and they enjoyed his joyful nature and sense of humor.  Following his years at St. Mary's, Don worked for 10 years at St. Anthony's Hospital. 

In his hours outside of work, Don always enjoyed hunting and fishing, especially with neighbor boys.  Equal to his love of hunting and fishing was his love of music, especially polka music, listening, dancing and singing. Peg shares fond memories of Don driving his John Deere tractor and listening and singing along with KBRX's daily Big Joe Polka Show.

In Don's later years he was plagued by a variety of health issues. His loving wife Peg cared for him throughout these years but needing more specialized services, Don entered Arbor Care Nursing Facility in the summer of 2021. 

In discussion with his pastor John regarding baptism for a grandchild, when asked about his own baptism, Don replied, “Yes, I want to be on your team.” Pastor dutifully complied. Don was baptized along with his great-granddaughter Audrey on March 12, 2022. He passed away peacefully on June 16, 2022.

Don will be greatly missed by his family, neighbors and friends.

Don is survived by his wife of 56 years Peggy Lynne Crumly Skopec; one son Steve (Karin) Skopec of Stuart; one daughter Sherri Moe of Grand Marais, MN; three grandchildren Mike Skopec, Shelby (Chris) Andersen and Marcus (Bailey Butcher) Skopec; five much loved great-grandchildren; and one brother Dwaine Skopec of Columbia, MO; as well as countless friends and family.

He was preceded in death by his mother Mildred, his father George and one son-in-law Frank Moe.    

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