On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, Donald “Donny” Alan Harrington, of Watertown, South Dakota, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his loved ones after a relatively brief struggle with a very aggressive form of leukemia. He was 73. A Celebration of Life will be at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at Grace Lutheran Church in Watertown. Rev. Cheryl Rondeau-Bassett will officiate. Music will be provided by A.J. Sherrill as organist with Elaine and Glen Koch as soloist.
Visitation will be at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown on Friday from 4-7 p.m.
Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Watertown. Military graveside honors will be conducted by Codington County Post #17 of the American Legion, Watertown, and the Funeral Honors Team of the U.S. Navy. Urnbearers will be Donny’s grandchildren.
Donny was born on September 25, 1948, in Watertown to James and Mavis (Thompson) Harrington. He was the second of their 11 children. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1966 and joined the Navy when he was just 17 years old. He volunteered for two tours during the Vietnam War where he served as a diesel engine mechanic. After his honorable discharge in 1970, he traveled with friends across the country. Then, he attended North Dakota State School of Science (NDSSS) in Wahpeton, North Dakota. On a weekend visit home to Watertown in 1974, he went on a blind date and met his future wife, Lois Evjen of Stockholm, South Dakota. On May 22, 1976, they were married at Tabor Lutheran Church in Strandburg, South Dakota. They initially resided in Breckenridge, Minnesota, where they had their first son, Kevin. They moved back to Watertown when Donny graduated from NDSSS. They went on to have two daughters, Wendy and Heidi, and a son David. He opened his own plumbing business, Harrington Plumbing, in 1985. His blue work truck was a frequent sight around Watertown, with the driver always sporting a smile with a wave. He also drove a school bus for the Watertown School District for 35 years and had innumerable fans as his passengers over the years.
Donny was incredibly humble and kind-hearted. He enjoyed socializing with anyone and everyone and could be seen “shooting the breeze” at the Wheel Inn on a regular basis. He and his brothers loved cars, and he enjoyed attending the races to cheer on his brother and nephew, Tom and Scott Harrington. He proudly displayed his license plate collection of all 50 states in his garage. He loved watching “the Price is Right,” “Gunsmoke,” “the Andy Griffith Show,” and “The Munsters.” Stemming from his stint in the Navy, he loved ships and enjoyed trips to Duluth, Minnesota, taking his wife and kids there a number of times for summer get-aways. He also liked visiting his daughter Wendy in Yellowstone National Park and his daughter Heidi in Southern California. He had the most incredible sense of humor that put everyone around him at ease. He truly valued everyone in his life, whether it be a passenger on his bus, a waitress at his favorite restaurant, or a plumbing customer who was down on their luck with a weekend plumbing emergency. He effortlessly and quietly exemplified unconditional love to his family, friends, and the community he loved so dearly.
Donny is survived by his wife, Lois, of Watertown and their four children: Kevin Harrington of Watertown; Wendy Harrington of Gardiner, Montana; Heidi Harrington of Imperial, California; and David (Nova) Harrington of Watertown; his ten grandchildren: Michaela Harrington-Lopez of Simi Valley, California; Alex Harrington of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Grace, Halle and Gloria Canizales of Imperial, California; Kali, Robert, and Lucy Hubbard of Gardiner, Montana; and Aloria and Orion Harrington of Watertown; his ten siblings: John (Ginger) Harrington of Albert Lea, Minnesota; David Harrington of Watertown; Gary (Judy) Harrington of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Susan Stewart of Clara City, Minnesota; Doug (Kim) Harrington of Raymond, South Dakota; Bruce (Melanie) Harrington of Watertown; Janet (Royal) Rosheim of Bradley, South Dakota; Tom (Leanne) Harrington of Waubay, South Dakota; Brian (Laurie) Harrington of Watertown; and Mary Harrington of The Colony, Texas; and many nieces and nephews, and his cat Daisy. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister-in-law Rebecca (Chavez) Harrington, nephew Matthew Kenning, and nephew Paul Harrington.
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