Donald Hartzell

Donald Eugene Hartzell, 86, passed away peacefully under hospice care at his home in North Branch, MN on June 22, 2020, surrounded by his loving wife and daughter. 

Don was born on a hot summer day on June 2, 1934, to Gladys and Earl Hartzell in Tyler, Minnesota. He graduated from Lynd High School in 1952 and earned a BA from St Cloud State in 1956. Don taught for one year in Hutchinson, MN and then served in the Army from 1957-1959. Upon returning from Korea, he continued teaching and earned a MA from Indiana State University in Terre Haute. 

Then, Mr. Hartzell spent a year as Elementary School principal in Hector, MN. He came to North Branch in August 1963 to become the principal of North Branch Elementary School and retired in 1991. Don married Marlene Rutz of Hutchinson, MN in August of 1965 and became the proud father of daughter, Linda Louise in 1974.The Hartzell family lived in North Branch since 1965 except for a sabbatical year in 1983-1984 when the family served at Faith Academy in Manila, Philippines. 

Over the years Don was involved with the Jaycees, Cub Scouts, Civic Clubs, a weekly bowling league and serving in the community including playing the town Santa for three decades. He was active with the Lions Club (charter president in 1973) and the Gideons (since 1968). In retirement, Don worked at Grandview Christian Home, McDonalds and Rod’s Berry Farm. He liked to fish, hunt, garden, grow apple trees and harvest produce for the family and the local Farmer’s Market.

Don was an Elder, Choir member and faithful to Elim Baptist Church in Isanti now New Hope Community Church. Don and Marlene supported missionaries and even took five trips to the Ukraine around the year 2000. To know Don was to know his jokes, smiles, generosity of spirit, hugs and handshakes. Don Hartzell showed his love for God and people by his way of life.

Don is survived by his loving wife, Marlene Hartzell of over 54 years; daughter, Linda (Brian) Schubring of Minneapolis and granddaughter, Camila Schubring; sisters, Mary (Phil) Anderson of Windom, MN, Diane (John) Jamison-Richards of Alexandria, MN; sister-in-law, Phyllis Hartzell of Benson, MN; brothers, Bob (Kay) Hartzell of Leadville, CO, Deane (Connie) Hartzell of Nashville, TN; and countless nieces, nephews, cousins, loved ones, dear neighbors, friends and former students.

Don is preceded in death by his parents, Earl Hartzell, Gladys Fields and Lester Fields, father and mother-in-law, Frank and Louise Rutz; his brother, Richard Hartzell and niece, Karin Hartzell.

A visitation will be held from 4p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1 at Strike Life Tributes in Cambridge. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 at New Hope Community Church Cambridge Campus. There is a capacity of 150 people at the service and it will be live streamed on Facebook; check funeral home website at for link. Online condolences can be placed at 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the following organizations he loved and supported.

The Gideons International

With every GideonCard you send, your donation provides for Bibles and New Testaments to be distributed around the world.

Children’s Shelter of Cebu

Providing homes for orphaned abandoned, and surrendered children in the Philippines since 1979.

Recycled Lives

A non-profit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of people living in poverty through facilitating access to resources that are physical, spiritual and/or financial in nature.

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