Donald J. Speckel
June 13, 2016
Donald John “Don the Barber” Speckel, age 85 of Hamel, passed away Mon., June 13, 2016 unexpectedly after complications from surgery. He was born on August 29, 1930 to John and Helen (Gonsior) Speckel in Watertown, MN. He grew up in the rural area of Watertown, spending his free time with friends hunting and fishing in the local lakes and woods. In his youth, Don worked in many different areas: he was a musician in a band called the Country Cousins, he worked as a landscaper and even traveled with a carnival for a short time, besides working on the family farm.
His life came into focus when he met his love, Mary Therese Kuka. They married on June 24, 1953 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Watertown, MN. By 1960, Don decided on a career in haircutting and enrolled in a barber school in Minneapolis. In the 1970’s, Don purchased the Hopkins Hair House and owned and operated it to his last day with us.
Don’s family always came first in his life, but he was also active in many community groups. Don did some volunteering for the Delano Boy Scouts by driving camping equipment up to Many Point, he was a member of the Delano Knights of Columbus, the Loretto Lions Club, the Loretto Snobirds, Trail Dusters Saddle Club (where he was the Parade Master for 15 years). Don was also a member of the Delano Sportsmen’s Club; he worked at the Bingo Stand every 4th of July. As a member of the Midwest Barber Association, Don helped organize the yearly shows and won the Barber of the Year trophy. As a Hopkins businessman, he was active in the Hopkins community, donating to many events including Hopkins Raspberry Days.
Many of Don’s friends, family and the Rolling Hills Road neighborhood children got their haircuts in his basement barber chair. Lots of good conversations went on in that basement. Don’s most enjoyable hobby was playing base fiddle and guitar in the Manure Spreaders Band. They even played at the church dinner in Loretto once.
Don went on many deer hunting trips with his friends, sons and grandchildren, in both Minnesota and Wyoming. He also spent many weekends snowmobiling, camping, riding his horse, Cheyenne, in parades, and many other family events. In his later years, Don could be talked into closing his barber shop for a week each year and he and Mary took trips to Washington, Canada, Texas and Georgia. Don Speckel lived a long, active and blessed life.
Don was preceded in death by his father John Speckel; mother Helen and stepfather Frank Speckel; brother Ralph Speckel; and brothers-in-law Archie, Tom and Joe Kuka and Ed Gallus; sister-in-law Monica (Gallus) Neaton; nephews Tom Gallus and Tom Kuka, Jr.
Don is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary; children Mike (Jane), Tim (Patty), Paula (Jay) Higashi and Patty Cleveland; 10 grandchildren John (Martha) Speckel, Sarah (Derek) Huydma, Tommy (Kaarin) Speckel, Justine (Josh) Grover, Miranda (Jake) Duske, Payton Speckel, Kamiko Higashi, Toshi Higashi, Kyra Cleveland, Lydia Cleveland; 10 great-grandchildren Amelia, Gabriel, Graham, Callan, Ava, Sullivan, Liviana, Andrew, Grady, Hazel; sisters Marian (Dick) Spetz and Joanne Karels; sisters-in-law MaryAnn and Marian Kuka and brother-in-law Jim Neaton.
Mass of Christian Burial was 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Delano. Visitation was Monday, 4-8 p.m. with a 3:30 p.m. K of C Rosary Service at the Iten Funeral Home, Delano. Visitation continued Tuesday, 10-11 a.m. prior to the Mass at the church. Interment was in the church cemetery.