Gordon Carlyle MacVey, 88, peacefully died in his sleep on August 7, 2020, in Hermantown, Minnesota under the care of hospice. Gordon has now joyfully rejoined his beloved wife, Dona, in forever matrimony.
Survivors: Gordon is survived by his children and their spouses: Richard and Kathy Kiekhaefer in Lester Prairie, MN; Deb and Don Jackson in The Villages, FL; Lyle and Grace MacVey in Duluth, MN; and Kathryn and Jeff Schussler in Marion, IA. He is also survived by grandchildren: Anne and Jed Jenkins in Columbus, MS, James Kiekhaefer in Minneapolis, MN, Sarah Jackson (Smith) and James Burruss in Eagan, MN, Kris and Amanda Jackson in Chicago, IL, Jon and Kassi Jackson in Ham Lake, MN, Alexandra and Jake Rajala in Esko, MN, Joshua MacVey in St. Paul, MN, Caitlyn and Alexander Jungels in Sartell, MN, Maria Schussler in Marion, IA, Eric Schussler in Marion, IA, and great grandchildren: Harrison, Addie and Theo Jenkins, Aiden Smith, Ellie and Olivia Jackson, and Easton Rajala.
Predeceased: wife Dona Mae MacVey, parents Noble and Katherine MacVey, brother Noble MacVey, Jr; as well as grandsons; Jarrett MacVey and Dane Schussler.
Life: Gordon was born on December 14, 1931, to his parents, Noble and Katherine MacVey. He was raised in St. Paul, MN. During the summer, the MacVey family would travel to the family farm, located in Blackhoof Township, Carlton County, Minnesota. Gordon always enjoyed farming activities, especially hay season, with his father, even during the time of horse and wagons. It inspired him to obtain his bachelor’s degree in agriculture at the University of MN, St Paul Campus. After college, he began a career as a soil scientist for the USDA.
He entered active military service during the Korean war. He hoped he would deploy to Germany because he loved travel. Instead, he served state-side at a nuclear deterrent unit, where he spent time travelling between bases. At that time, he fell in love with racing motorcycles in dirt track oval events. After an honorable military discharge, Gordon moved to Albuquerque, NM, where he promoted motorcycle racing and served as managing partner at the Albuquerque Light Opera Workshop. During one of the rehearsals, he met the love of his life, Dona Kiekhaefer (Clausen) whom he wholly treasured. He was drawn to her beautiful soprano voice and golden curls. They were married on March 5th, 1961 by the Reverend Walter Clausen, Dona’s father. After the wedding, Gordon and Dona moved to the family farm in Barnum, MN to farm. Under their management and through a lot of hard work, the farm became one of the largest dairies in Carlton county. He later expanded the farming operation into vegetable farming. He was a pioneer in the field of organic farming of vegetables.
Children always played a part in Gordon and Dona’s life. Dona had two children, Richard and Deb, when she met Gordon. Together, Gordon and Dona were blessed with two children, Lyle and Kathryn. Throughout the years on the farm, Gordon and Dona also provided foster parent services to numerous children including Vince and Gwen Martineau, Mary Diesen, and others. As a father, Gordon’s children revered and loved him for his kindness, caring nature, strong work ethic, and playful sense of humor.
Gordon and Dona didn’t spend all their days on the farm. They loved to dance, play cards and travel to international destinations. After retiring from the farm, Gordon pursued other business interests in the Barnum and Duluth communities. Gordon enjoyed the fruits of his family, enjoying life’s myriad of celebrations. He retained his love of musical theatre his entire life and enjoyed seasonal performances at the Duluth Playhouse. In his later years, beyond business and family, Gordon found friendship with Wilma Thunstrom with whom he enjoyed a variety of mutual activities. He will be missed by all and lives on within our fondest memories.
Thanks: The family wishes to thank Elim Lutheran Church in Barnum, MN and the many staff and care providers that so diligently and tenderly cared for him at Edgewood Healthcare and Caring Edge Home Health and Hospice in Hermantown, MN for all being part of his life.
Service and Interment: Services were entrusted to Affordable Cremation and Burial in Duluth, MN (218) 491-7011. On September 26 at 11 am, Gordon will be interred at the private family cemetery located on Paradise Road, Barnum, MN on the former family farm. A small marker will be placed for remembrance. Friends and neighbors are welcome to attend the informal outdoor remembrance.