The Rev. Donald Reynen

The Rev. Donald Reynen


January 27, 1935 - June 17, 2023


The Reverend Donald Lester Reynen, 88, of Milbank, SD formerly of Mitchell, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Saturday, June 17, 2023, at St. Williams Care Center in Milbank. The celebration of Don’s life will be 10:30 AM Monday, June 26, at First Presbyterian Church in Mitchell. Burial will be at Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell. Visitation will be Sunday, June 25, from 5-7:00 PM at Bittner Funeral Chapel with a 6:30 PM prayer service.

The Reverend Donald Lester Reynen was born January 27, 1935 to Gladys M. Darling Reynen and Arthur P. Reynen in Sioux City, Iowa. Don moved to Milbank, SD with his parents at a young age and he attended all twelve years of school in Milbank, graduating in 1953. He held numerous jobs in high school, participated in American Legion Baseball, and participated in varsity football and track in high school.

Don was united in marriage to Evelyn McFarlane, his high school sweetheart, on June 24, 1956 in Wilmot, SD. They were married for one week short of 67 years and always celebrated their first date in 1952. They were blessed with four sons--Paul, Peter, Matthew, and Mark and one daughter, Sarah. They have also been blessed with sixteen grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren.

Don attended Huron College in Huron, SD and graduated with a B.A. in 1958.  While in college, he served the Forestburg Presbyterian Church and worked at Dakota Wheel Alignment Shop. He attended Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA and graduated in 1962. While in seminary, he served St. John’s Evangelical United Brethren Church in Garber, Iowa and coached cross county track at Dubuque University.

Don was baptized and confirmed in the United Methodist Church in Milbank, SD.  He joined the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmot, SD in 1953 and was ordained into ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1962.  He accepted a call to serve the Presbyterian Church in Stephen, MN and the Community Presbyterian Church in Argyle, MN and served there seven years.  While there, he began annual youth canoe camping trips to the Boundary Waters in MN.  He also assumed leadership roles in Red River Presbytery and the Synod of Minnesota and officiated high school football games.

In 1968, Don accepted a call to serve the First Presbyterian Church in Mitchell, SD.  Through the years, he  counseled at youth church camps, conducted canoe camping trips to the Boundary Waters, served on Presbytery of South Dakota’s Committee on Ministry, Camping Committee, Christian Education Committee, Church Development Committee, and as Moderator of the Presbytery of South Dakota  He was a Commissioner to the General Assembly of the PC (U.S.A.) three times throughout his ministry.  Don served as a member of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies Council and as the Synod Moderator and served on the National Committee on Governing Body Relations. He served as a Huron College Trustee.  Throughout his ministry, Don continued to officiate high school football and basketball games and Little League Football.  He was a member of the Ministerial Association, Youth Protection Team, Cancer Walk Committee, President of Longfellow PTA, Cub Scout Leader, Dakota Wesleyan basketball scorekeeper, and Mitchell Concert Board member.

Don moderated and supplied the pulpits of many Presbyterian Churches in the area when the congregations were without pastoral leadership.

In 1991, after serving the First Presbyterian Church for twenty-three years, Don resigned his position as pastor of the church and accepted the position as a Chaplain for Queen of Peace Hospital.  He served as a chaplain for seventeen years and retired in 2009. While serving as a chaplain, he also served as pastor of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Emery and First Presbyterian Church in Bridgewater.

Don had numerous interests—fishing, all sports, canoeing (especially in the Boundary Waters), camping, hunting, gardening, construction, and repairing cars.  He loved people and was always willing to help.  He always preferred “doing” rather than “watching” and participating whenever possible. He loved his family and was extremely proud of all of them.

Surviving to cherish his memory are his wife, Evelyn; children: Dr. Paul (Carol) Sioux Falls, SD, Dr. Peter (Camille) Milbank, SD, Dr. Matthew (Diana) Aberdeen, SD, Dr. Mark’s wife, Gina, Mitchell, SD, and Sarah Lepke (Scott), Watertown, SD; grandchildren: Major Nathan (Anna) Long Meadow, MA, Dr. John (Molly) Onalaska, WI, Andrew (Ruthie) Sun Prairie, WI, Ellie Darden (Matthew) Ft. Worth, TX, Natalie Karels (Brandon) Windom, MN, Clara (Maeve Biscupski) Iowa City, IA, Rachel Lynass (Luke) Sioux Falls, SD, Joe, Sioux Falls, SD, Sam (Jessica) Elkhorn, NE, John Donald, Aberdeen, SD, Katie Mueller (Caleb) Harrisburg, SD, Emily VanderWerff (Devin) Ankeny, IA, Abbie Marten (Jackson) Mpls. MN, Maggie and Max, Mitchell, SD, Matthew Lepke (Olivia) Vermillion, SD; great-grandchildren: Eden, Harper and Crew Reynen, Micah, Noah and Siri Reynen, Evie and Paul Reynen, Asher, Lucy and Bennett Darden, Emmett and Ezra Karels, Ben and Amelia Lynass, Sloan Reynen, and Kaden and Connor Mueller; sister, Betty Folk; sister-in-law, Doris Christianson; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Preceding Don in death: son, Dr. Mark Reynen; parents, Arthur and Gladys Reynen; parents-in-law, Ellis and Ruth McFarlane; sisters, Donna Thyne, Joyce Folk, Barbara Bohn; sisters-in-law, Muriel and Dorie McFarlane; brother, Marlin Reynen; and brothers-in-law, Robert Thyne, Charles and Leo Folk and Arnold and Maurice McFarlane.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Presbytery of South Dakota for the Donald and Evelyn Reynen Permanent Endowment, the First Presbyterian Church of Mitchell, SD, or the Alzheimer’s Association.


Sunday, June 25, 2023
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
6:30 PM Prayer Service

Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Monday, June 26, 2023
10:30 AM
First Presbyterian Church
500 E 5th Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Graceland Cemetery
Mitchell, SD

Posted by Lloyd Howell on July 16, 2023
Sorry to hear of Don' passing. It was a joy knowing him.
Posted by Amber Determan on June 25, 2023
So many fond memories. Christmas Eve's with our families together. Hay rides to go caroling. Don married Ross and I. His impact was felt by the entire community in his efforts through the church, the hospital, and more. Thank you to his family for sharing him with all of us. Prayers for all of you.
Posted by John Larson on June 22, 2023
Never will forget him from age 5
Posted by Vicky hohn on June 22, 2023
So sorry for your loss
Posted by Calvin Luke on June 21, 2023
The Family of Donald Reynen I am sad to hear of your loss you will be in my thoughts prayers in this difficult time.
Posted by Linda Hostler on June 21, 2023
RIP Rev. Don Reynen. My deepest sympathy to his family.
Posted by Paula Schnabel on June 21, 2023
I am so sorry to hear about Don. Don worked at Avera Queen when I worked there and also remember him from Methodist Hospital. I enjoyed visiting with Don, and he was a great person. My thoughts and Prayers are with the family,
Posted by Paula Schnabel on June 21, 2023
I am so sorry to hear about Don. Don worked at Avera Queen when I worked there and also remember him from Methodist Hospital. I enjoyed visiting with Don, and he was a great person. My thoughts and Prayers are with the family,
Posted by Dianne&Bob Peterka on June 21, 2023
Dianne’s parents,Ruth and Vernon Johnson, loved having Don as their Pastor. He was always welcoming to all of us when we visited there.
Posted by Brian Nohr on June 21, 2023
Sorry for your loss. I always had a lot of respect for Don and all of the positive things he did for the Mitchell community. Wonderful family, God bless all of you.
Posted by ronald fuchs on June 21, 2023
thank you Don for your devotion to the church and members of First Presbyterian in Mitchell. You are a dear friend to my parents and an inspiration to me
Posted by Tammy Schoenfelder-Koellner on June 20, 2023
I grew up going to First Presbyterian Church with my mom every Sunday. Pastor Don was a wonderful man. My Mother thought the world of him! He spent lots of time with both my parents as they made their journeys home many years ago. Prayers and love sent to the Reynen Family.
Posted by Richard Palmer / Miller on June 20, 2023
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a friend and to have worked with Don on a number of Presbytery Committees. His understanding and wisdom regarding our denomination impressed me to no end. His compassion and giving were a blessing and a guide to all he touched. Don was a friend, companion and teacher. He will be missed. I suspect that somewhere in the clouds he is presently conducting a Deacon Training Session.
Posted by John David (Dave) Johnson on June 20, 2023
I always looked up to Don and saw him as a model for pastoring for us younger, 5 years for me, guys..
Posted by Hollie Karber on June 20, 2023
So sorry for your loss! Don was a wonderful man and so kind! I had the pleasure of meeting Don when I worked at Queen of Peace!
Posted by pam vissia on June 20, 2023
So sorry to hear of Pastor Reynen passing. He would come to the Plankinton Presbyterian Church. I so enjoyed his sermons and he was such a nice man.
Posted by Rhonda McFarlane Nelk on June 20, 2023
So sorry for your loss.
Posted by Bob Jacobs on June 20, 2023
Don was unfailingly kind to me. He always took a genuine interest in others. He lived his faith, and shared it with others. Now he's secure in God's care. I'm very grateful to have known him!
Posted by Dan, Jenn, Haylen and Brooke on June 20, 2023
Sorry for your loss! We were blessed having Don and Evelyn as our neighbors. We will in our prayers!
Posted by Charolette Peterson on June 19, 2023
So sorry for your loss!
Posted by John Pehrson on June 19, 2023
IIn this time of memory and sorrow, may God's love surround you today and tomorrow. May you sense the love of others - the care of sisters and brothers; And hear words of thanksgiving, knowing that Don is now living in the palm of God's hands.
Posted by Rev. Dr. David A. Cook on June 19, 2023
Very well done good and faithful servant.
Posted by Sandra Ruml on June 19, 2023
I am so sorry to see this. Don and I started at Avera the same year but he retired before i did. He was always someone you could talk to and he would join us at break time often. He was a great guy and you have my sympathy.
Posted by Ella Wilgers Kassube on June 19, 2023
Many thoughts and prayers for all of you. Don always had time for everyone. He was a very gifted man and will be missed by many.
Posted by Kim Eisenschenk on June 19, 2023
So sorry for your loss!!
Posted by Charlie and Darlene Bailey on June 19, 2023
Sorry for your loss Don was a great friend always enjoyed visiting with him Rest in Peace Don
Posted by Dennis and Lisa Marek on June 19, 2023
We are so sorry to hear about Don. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends. Don was a good neighbor and friend when he was living in Mitchell. I enjoyed walking with Don and talking baseball. God Bless his family at this sad time.
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