Rev. Donald Reynen


Reverend Donald Lester Reynen, 88, of Milbank, passed away on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at St. Williams Care Center in Milbank. 

The celebration of Don’s life was on Monday, June 26, at First Presbyterian Church in Mitchell. Burial was at Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell. Visitation was Sunday, June 25, at Bittner Funeral Chapel with a prayer service.

Reverend Donald Lester Reynen was born Jan. 27, 1935, to Gladys M. Darling Reynen and Arthur P. Reynen in Sioux City, Iowa. Don moved to Milbank 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.

Don attended Huron College in Huron 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, Iowa, and graduated in 1962. While in seminary, he served St. John’s Evangelical United Brethren Church in Garber, Iowa, and coached cross country track at Dubuque University.

Don was baptized and confirmed in the United Methodist Church in Milbank.  He joined the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmot 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, Minn., and the Community Presbyterian Church in Argyle, Minn., and served there seven years. While there, he began annual youth canoe camping trips to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. 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.  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, camping, hunting, gardening, construction, and repairing cars.

Don is survived by his wife, Evelyn; children, Dr. Paul (Carol) of Sioux Falls, Dr. Peter (Camille) of Milbank, Dr. Matthew (Diana) of Aberdeen, and Sarah Lepke (Scott) of Watertown; daughter-in-law, Gina of Mitchell; 16 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; sister, Betty Folk; sister-in-law, Doris Christianson; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his 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.

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