Donald Saboe

Donald Saboe


Donald Marvin Saboe, 65, of Elgin, Iowa and West Union, Iowa died Monday, October 19, 2020 at Gundersen Health Systems in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Donald was born November 24, 1954 to Marvin and Jeanette (McIntyre) Saboe in West Union, Iowa.  He was baptized on November 26, 1954 in the hospital and confirmed on May 18, 1969. Donald graduated from North High School in 1973.

Amazingly, this quiet and polite young man starred on the North High School stage his sophomore through senior years. He had important roles in "The Skin of Our Teeth” in 1970 "The Mouse that Roared” in 1971 and "Harvey” in 1972. As the principal lead in "Harvey” he played Elwood P. Doud, the quiet man who could see a tall, invisible rabbit named Harvey. Don treasures a prop from the play, a large portrait of himself as Elwood with Harvey painted by a classmate and which hangs on a wall of his Elgin home. 

Don chose to go to Iowa State University. He decided his initial major of mathematics was "too theoretical” so he switched his love of numbers to a major in statistics. This led to an internship between his junior and senior years, when he worked for the Iowa Crop Reporting Service in Des Moines, Iowa. Because he was a "town kid” who knew nothing about farming, he found himself enrolled in beginning ag classes his senior year at Iowa State. Then he was ready to begin a life­long career with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Don first went north to Lansing, Michigan for four years, then west to Portland, Oregon for six years. The NASS then sent him back to the Midwest to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he could check in on his Mom and Dad on the weekends for over two years, before being assigned to the Washington, D.C. headquarters for the remainder of his 39-year career. Born and raised in West Union, he had lived all over the country, but he chose to retire back here in northeast Iowa.

Don was a member of the Pleasant Valley Golf Club, the Elgin Lions Club, a men’s coffee club, and two bowling leagues. He enjoyed volunteering with the horseshoe tournaments at the Fayette County Fair, reading, and collecting movies. He was a volunteer and on the board at the Fayette County Historical Center, a committed member of St. Peters Church and was on the St Peters Church Council.

Surviving Donald are his cousins, Dorene Dietzenbach, Marcia Soppe, Ardys Kuhse, Holly Heying, Janice Brinkman, Nick McIntyre, John McIntyre, David Westendorf, Craig Westendorf, Roger Westendorf, Rodney Westendorf, Jerry Smith, Dennis Smith and Kevin Smith.

 He was preceded in death by his parents; cousins, Steve Smith, Don Smith, Judy Smith, Julie Ash, Lorraine Jonsberg, Robert Saboe, and Leslie Saboe; and his aunts and uncles, Oscar and Lucille Reeder, Carl and Shirley Smith, Gerald and Adaline Westendorf, Newell and Verla McIntyre, Harry and Alice Saboe, Lloyd and Ella Saboe, and Arnold and Doris Saboe

A Private Family Service will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Peter Lutheran Church, St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery and Fayette County Historical Society. 

Expressions of sympathy for Don may be sent to his home address, 410 Main Street, Elgin, Iowa. which is in the care of his cousin Nick McIntyre. 

Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of West Union, Iowa is assisting the family with arrangements.


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