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Donald “Don” C. Hult, age 94, formerly of Forest Lake, Minnesota, died of heart failure on August 13, 2021 at Shirley Chapman Sholom East. Don was born April 6, 1927 to Stanley J. Hult and Myrtle (Wilcox) in St. Paul. He grew up on the East Side of St. Paul, attending school and graduating from Johnson High School. He was independent and adventurous at a young age. His Swedish grandmother, Emma Hult, loved to tell the story of hearing a knock at her door and there stood four-year-old Don who was supposed to be at kindergarten, but would rather have spent time with her.
His grandparents had a cabin on Comfort Lake in Forest Lake. He would bike there alone to fish and bring his catch home. His biggest trip got a write up in the St. Paul paper. He and a good friend at age 15 biked to Brainerd staying in barns and being fed by farmers on the way. They then biked to Duluth because they both had relatives there. They arrived too late to connect with their families and spent the night in the Duluth Jail; locked in a cell for their safety. They took coffee and toast for breakfast.
Don was also a gymnast and ski jumper on the Battle Creek ski jump. He did well in competitions.
He went into the Navy at 17 after finishing high school. He was excited to serve as an aviator on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Aircraft Carrier on the Mediterranean as part of the peace leaping force.
His great love was his wife, Bette Harrison. She was 11 or 12 when they met, he was good friends with her brother. When she was 16 and a runner up for St. Paul Carnival Queen of the Snows, he was her escort and introduced her as the one he hoped to marry. His grandmother had advised him she’d be a good wife. They married in 1949 and had two daughters.
Don worked for the railroad briefly, then started classes at Dunwoody to work as a surveyor for the Conservation Department. He surveyed state parks and the Canadian Border as the Boundary Waters was being laid out. Eventually he was registered and bought his own company, Hult Surveying. He also served as Chisago County surveyor in a project of finding the original land corners. He continued to be athletic with canoeing, water skiing, golfing, downhill skiing and hiking.
Don loved Forest Lake and lived on the lakes until Bette was too frail to be home. They then moved to Cherrywood Point where he and Bette thrived and were treated like family.
Don was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Bette; his daughter, Kathleen; brothers and his sister. He is survived by his daughter, Christine Hult (Brien Godfrey; granddaughters, Jen and Laura; as well as many nieces, nephews with their families.
Private family interment was held at Faith Lutheran Columbarium, Forest Lake. A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date. In honor of his siblings battle with Alzheimers; memorials are preferred to Alzheimers Association or ALS Association.
Mattson Funeral Home & Cremation Service
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