Donald M. 'Don' Gonko

Gonko, Donald "Don" M. age 74 of Ham Lake, formerly Northeast Minneapolis and Fridley, passed away at home surrounded by his family on January 4th, 2022. Preceded in death by his parents Andrew and Julia. Survived by his loving wife of 51 years Judith, sons Josef, Matthew (Maria), and daughter Rebecca (Ryan); grandchildren Madelin, Miranda, Makenna, Mason, Isaac, and Ian; sister Delores (Ovide) LaBerge and brother Andrew (Sally) Gonko; in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Graduate of Edison High School, class of 1965, and the University of MN. He was then drafted into the Army and received an honorable discharge after 2.5 years of service. Don worked at the Army Pictorial Center and Headquarters Company when he served, and worked as a still photog and lab tech. This led to a lifetime of highly skilled photography, taking many beloved photos of the North Shore, special family photos, and an occasional wedding for family or friends. His professional career began as a color film processor at Brown Photo. He then moved to 3M, first working in the Audio Visual department, where he reached a job title of Supervisor of Photographic Processing and Printing. He then transitioned into Information Services and Data Processing, from which he retired in 2008. In his high school years he did wrestling, tennis, and played trumpet. He remained active in his adult years playing tennis, softball on a 3M team, and really enjoyed bowling on leagues for 40+ years. Don's favorite hobby was playing the guitar, both acoustic and electric, and he even wrote and sang his own music. He also did woodworking, and was well researched in news and politics. He enjoyed numerous Prairie Home Companion performances, live music concerts, and anything his grandchildren were involved in. He was also a teacher of all things to his children, always willing to help with vehicle and home repair, even at a moments' notice, but ensuring they learned something from the moment. Don and Judy took numerous trips to the North Shore of Lake Superior, and especially loved going in the winter months. They had their favorite places to stay, but also had many favorite campgrounds. Don was a very generous man with his time and money. He will forever be missed by those that knew him. The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at the U of MN/M Health Fairview, especially Drs. David McComber and Arjun Gupta for the compassionate care they gave to Don and our family, also the home care nurses, and team at AccentCare hospice. Funeral service at KOZLAK-RADULOVICH BLAINE CHAPEL (1385 - 107th Ave. NE) on Wed., January 19th from 5-8 PM with visitation beginning at 5 PM, worship service at 7 PM. Interment at Gethsemane Cemetery. "A Celebration of Life" 763-783-1100