Donald "Don" K. Fenske passed away Oct. 9, 2019, in Rochester. He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 66 years and dance partner, Dorothy Fenske, as well as his parents and brother, Harold Jr.

He was born in New Ulm to Harold and Edna (Knees) Fenske. He attended New Ulm public schools, where he participated in many sports and musical opportunities.

After graduation, he joined the Army and served in the 25th infantry division. In 1952, he married Dorothy Ahlness at the Lake Hanska Lutheran Church. After graduating from the Midwest School of Horology in Albany, Mo., he accepted an offer to enter the optical business. He was a 40-year employee of Benson Optical Company.

Don was a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and a longtime choir member. He was a member of the American Legion McCoy post #90. Don enjoyed family life, hunting, fishing, bowling, golf, and best of all, hunting morel mushrooms in the spring each year, which he did for approximately 75 years.

Don had an unmatched joy of life that lasted until his final days. He was able to make anyone smile with his humor and witty one-liners. His love for his family and friends was always known and had a lasting impact on everyone he met.

He is survived by Cindy (Cary) Tenley of Rochester, Tom (Suzy) Fenske of New Ulm, Steve (Shelly Holst) Fenske of St. Charles, and Karen (TY) Yess of Mankato; grandchildren, Joseph (Jenny) Tenley, Jenna (Tanner Eveland) Tenley, Ryan (Simone) Fenske, Troy Fenske (Angela), Greta Fenske (Jeff), Amanda Fenske, Jordan Yess (Morgan) and Nick (Nicole) Yess; and four great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Donald's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1212 12th Ave. NW, Rochester. Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. until time of the service. Burial will be in the New Ulm Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church choral musical fund or a charity of the donor's choice.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Fenske family; to share a special memory or condolence, please visit

God bless all those I left behind.