Donald Laverne Bjelland
Donald Laverne Bjelland went home to his Lord and Savior on January 2, 2021. His parents, Martin and Lillian (Kallem) Bjelland were full-blooded Norwegians, and Don's Norwegian heritage was a great source of joy and pride to him. His first visit in 2004 to Norway where his father grew up fulfilled one of Don's lifetime dreams, and he was blessed to have an opportunity to return two more times.
Don's professional careers included teaching middle school science in Radcliffe, Iowa, for 17 years where he also took on coaching and sports officiating basketball, softball, and baseball. When the golf course opened in Radcliffe, he volunteered to be the high school golf coach, which led to his love of golfing and his decision to host an annual golf outing called the BJ Classic, which he organized for 30 consecutive years. He then worked at Iowa State University Facilities Management as the safety training officer, retiring in 1998. He was always so happy to run into friends, former students and colleagues from his teaching and ISU days who affectionately called him "BJ" "Bej" or "Whitey".
Don was very proud of his five children who survive him: Lavonne(Gordon) Chin from Salinas, California; Brenda (Jim) Stotser from Iowa Falls, Iowa; Pam (Brian) Fields from Smithfield, Kentucky; Teresa (Dana) Johnston from Mingo, Iowa; and Derek Bjelland from Ames, Iowa. He also adored his eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He loved attending his grandchildren's sporting events (and scolded his wife if she criticized the officials, although there were a few times she could convince him the call was really bad!). Don is also survived by three brothers Arne, Art, and Ariel; two sisters Marge and Alida; and his first wife and mother to his daughters, Mary.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers Osmond, Melvin, and Kenneth.
Don and his wife Denise, who also survives him, were married 42 years. They were totally devoted to each other and, together, grew in their faith walk that focused on the love, forgiveness, and grace of Jesus Christ. They were regular attenders and members at Christ Community Church in Ames. A celebration of Don's life will be arranged in the coming weeks and will take place at the Christ Community Church in Ames, Iowa.
Published in Morris Herald-News on Jan. 13, 2021.