Donald, “Don” Cordes

NEW?ULM – Donald, “Don” Cordes, 81, of New Ulm, died Monday, April 15, 2013 at the Oak Hills Living Center in New Ulm.

Funeral service will be 11 a.m., Friday, April 19, at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Ulm with Pastor Timothy Smith Officiating. Burial will follow in the New Ulm City Cemetery, Soldiers Rest Section, with full military honors being conducted by the New Ulm Area Comrades of Valor Honor Guard.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday and 7:30-8:30 a.m. Friday at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home SOUTH CHAPEL in New Ulm and will continue for one hour prior to the time of service at church on Friday.

To leave an online condolence for his family or to sign the guest book go to

Don is survived by his wife, Jeanne Cordes of New Ulm; sons, Ricky (Deb) Cordes of Brooklyn Park, Randy (Sandy) Cordes, Ronny (Sue) Cordes, Rusty Cordes and his special someone, Tammy Habiger, all of New Ulm; nine grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; a sister, Hazel Schmidt of Kasota; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Marie Carlson of Lafayette, Lorna and Jim Libsey of Montgomery, Texas, JoAnn and Jim Shofner of Howard Lake and Nell Gehrke of Hutchinson.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers-in-law, Harlan Schmidt, Gordon Gehrke, David Gehrke, Gary Carlson; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Elton and Grace Gehrke.

Donald Erwin Cordes was born October 21, 1931 in New Ulm to Albert and Leona (Vorwerk) Cordes. He attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Grade School and was a 1949 graduate of New Ulm High School. Don served in the United States Marine Corps from 1951 to 1954 achieving the rank of sergeant. He was united in marriage to Jeanne Gehrke on June 3, 1954 in Norwood, Iowa. After marriage they resided in New Ulm where he was employed at Cordes Brothers Plaster and Stucco, and as a mechanic at Kraft Foods until his retirement in 1989. Don was passionate about his outdoor sports, including trapshooting, fishing, hunting, boating on the river and riding his ATV. He shared these activities with his wife, sons, friends and usually his four-legged friends. Don also enjoyed 36 years of driving in local demolition derbies. His hobbies also included his daily “drive bys”, checking on friends and family.

He was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Lost Dog and Fox Hunters, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, National Rifle Association and the American Legion Post 132 in New Ulm.

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