Cover photo for Donald Leslie Raun's Obituary
Donald Leslie Raun Profile Photo
1932 Donald 2023

Donald Leslie Raun

December 28, 1932 — November 20, 2023

Fergus Falls

Donald Raun, 90, of Fergus Falls, died Monday, November 20, 2023, at Lake Region Hospital, Fergus Falls.

He was born on a farm near Ulen, Minnesota on December 28, 1932, to Arthur and Inez Raun, as the second of three children.

He was baptized by his uncle Harry Raun on a stormy day at his parents’ home. His parents were members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ulen.

He moved with his family to Audubon, Minnesota in 1935.

Together they lived in Audubon until 1943 and then moved to Bremerton, Washington.  His father built housing for the rapidly expanding city that became the second largest naval base on the West Coast during World War II.

Donald’s family moved to Seattle in 1945 where they started attending Zion Lutheran Brethren Church (Rock of Ages).  His confirmation pastor was Rev. Morris Werdal who greatly influenced Donald. Shortly thereafter, Donald made a public profession of faith in Christ at a large Lutheran Youth Camp sponsored by several Lutheran congregations in Seattle.  Around 200 young people committed their lives to Christ that same evening on June 30, 1945.

Donald attended Hillcrest Lutheran Academy of Fergus Falls his last two years of high school and graduated with the class of 1950, playing basketball on the first Comet’s team.

He received his BA degree from Seattle Pacific College in 1954 where he was active in their World Missions program, receiving a degree in Cross Cultural Communications.  Donald’s interest in the Lutheran Brethren overseas missionary work began at Halls Lake Bible Camp one evening when Dr. Paul Lindell (later to become co-founder of the World Mission Prayer League) spoke on Philippians 2:13. That verse emphasizes God’s working in a person’s life to fully equip a believer to do whatever He wills that person to do.  From that moment this became Donald’s life verse and he promised God on July 1, 1951 he would trust God to enable him to become an overseas missionary.

Before entering the Lutheran Brethren Seminary the fall of 1954, God seemed to strongly urge Donald to attend summer school classes at the Seattle branch of the Lutheran Bible Institute.  It was here he met a vivacious, adventurous, beautiful, young lady from Osakis, Minnesota named Orpha Klukken. She had recently received her RN degree from the Lutheran Deaconess School of Nursing in Minneapolis and felt God calling her to the same school that summer.  As a young girl Orpha received a call to serve God as a missionary in Africa.  From the acquaintance of these two young people that summer, God led them to marry each other a little over a year later on September 24, 1955.

Graduation from seminary in 1956 was immediately followed by almost two years of missionary work at the Turtle Mountain Indian Mission in north central North Dakota.

Donald and Orpha sailed to France in the fall of 1958 for 11 months of French language study in Paris.  They landed on the Lutheran Brethren mission field in the fall of 1959 where they began 40 years of missionary work, serving almost entirely in Chad, Africa.  Bible translation, literacy work, and Bible teaching occupied most of their time.  Thirty years were spent at Lere, Chad working among the Moundang people and the last 10 years were spent doing pioneer work in the all-Muslim Bagirmi tribe.

They were accompanied by their first two children, Carolee and Jonathan, to language study in France and a third child, David, was born on their first furlough in 1963.

Their work in Chad ended in the fall of 1999 following a fall Orpha sustained.  As it turned out Donald was discovered to have a very serious cancer issue also, from which he was healed through prayer.  Donald spent his last 24 years in Fergus Falls where he stayed active in mission prayer meetings and taught Muslim studies in local churches and at the LB Seminary.  He was a regular at the “Senate” where he enjoyed many cups of coffee with friends and regaled them with stories from Africa days.  He also wrote several books recounting his years of overseas experiences and providing instruction on how to build friendships with Muslim people.

Donald’s beloved wife Orpha, to whom he was married 62 years, entered heaven’s portals after a ten-year struggle with Alzheimer dementia on October 31, 2017.  Two years later, Donald married Sue Ellen Lee from Nashville, Tennessee who lived in Park Gardens Assisted Living in Fergus Falls.  The marriage was short but joyful.  Sue came to know Jesus as her Savior during the three years she and Donald knew each other.  She also died from Alzheimer’s, complicated by covid factors, on April 21, 2021.

Preceding Donald in death were his parents Arthur and Inez Raun, his brother Vernon, his wife Orpha Klukken, his wife Sue Ellen Lee and his son-in-law John Gerstmann.

Survivors include sister Ruth (Wendell) Shiell, daughter Carolee Gerstmann, son Jonathan (ZamZam) Raun and son David Raun, granddaughter Alyson (Mike) Meyers, granddaughter Christianne (Brent) Mohrmann, grandson Tyson Gerstmann, grandson Trevor (Amber) Gerstmann and granddaughter Esther Raun.  Six great-grandchildren include Nathan Mohrmann, Aleythia, Henning, Aodhan, Jocelyn and Theodore Gerstmann.

Visitation: Monday, November 27, 2023, from 5-7 P.M., with a 6:30 Prayer Service at the Glende-Nilson Funeral Home of Fergus Falls, and continuing one hour prior to the service.

Memorial Service:11a.m., Tuesday, November 28, at Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls.

Clergy: Rev. Ed Monson

Interment: Elim Cemetery-Osakis, MN

Funeral Home: Glende-Nilson Funeral Home of Fergus Falls

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, November 27, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Glende-Nilson Funeral Home & Cremation Services-Fergus Falls

301 Washington Avenue East, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Livestream

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Prayer Service

Monday, November 27, 2023

6:30 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Glende-Nilson Funeral Home & Cremation Services-Fergus Falls

301 Washington Avenue East, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Livestream

Click to watch

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