Donald Joseph Erchul Sr. passed away peacefully on June 23. Don was born on December 20, 1931, to Joseph and Mary Erchul in Soudan, MN. Don attended and graduated from Tower-Soudan high school in 1949. Don enlisted in the Air Force after high school and graduated 2nd in his communications class of 250 airmen and then reached the rank of Technical Sergeant with responsibility for 150 airmen at the age of 18 ½. After receiving his honorable discharge, he came home to northern Minnesota and earned his pilot's license and purchased his Harley Davidson motorcycle.
He met his wife, Lucille Andrick, and they were married in November 1954. In 1957, they built a new home in Soudan and started to raise three children. During this time, Don worked in the Soudan underground Soudan mine and the Ely mine. He was also the Fire Chief and head chef of the Old Settlers picnics where they used to make homemade booyah for all the local residents and visitors.
In 1969, the family moved to Virginia, MN since Don had been working at the Oliver Machine Shops since 1965 and then helped set up the machine shop capabilities at Minntac. Don held several positions at Minntac, including machinist, Machinist Foreman, and lead millwright foreman over the heavy equipment shop. Don retired in 1986 at the age of 54 with 33 ½ years of service. Don also was a member of the Holy Spirit Catholic church, Knights of Columbus and other clubs and organizations.
Don served on the board of directors for the Ely Steel Workers Credit Union and the Millwright Division of the Eveleth Vocational Technical College.
Don loved to spend time hunting and fishing whenever he could, and these were activities that were enjoyed by the entire family. Don enjoyed perfecting his sausage recipes as well as all the family and ethnic traditions.
Don was preceded in death by his wife Lucille, parents Joe and Mary, and brother Denny. He is survived by sons Don Jr. (Chris), Steven (Sandra), and daughter MaryBeth. Don has 9 grandchildren, Heather, Tara, Lindsey, Sean, Cory, Carly, Jessica, Katie, Mackenzie, and 9 great-grandchildren, Bailey, Grant, Brookelyn, Bryar, Brynley, Bristyl, Taylor, William, Wesley. Brothers Rod (Joan), Gary (Janet), Terry (Maree) and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Memorial Service Saturday, July 10, 2021, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Virginia. The Reverend Brandon Moravitz will officiate. Inurnment will be in the Calvary Cemetery.
Thanks to Kathy and the New Journey staff and the crew from Hospice and everyone who visited and cared for Don.
Instead of sending flowers, a memorial to the Mesabi Humane Society would be preferred.
Family services are provided by Bauman-Cron, a Bauman Family Funeral Home, in Virginia. To express condolences on-line please see: www.baumanfuneralhome.com.
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