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Donald A. Claveau Sr. "slipped the surly bonds of earth" at St. Marys Hospital Aug. 27, 2014 surrounded by love.

Don was born Feb. 15, 1932 to Lloyd and Alice Claveau, the fourth of seven children in a boisterous affectionate family.

Don loved aviation from an early age and spent many days at the Superior and Park Point airports doing odd jobs to earn money for flight time and instruction. He flew his first solo flight at the age of 15. Don was a joyful and daring pilot, mastering dives, loops, and other tricks at a young age. Cars were another joy of Dons young life. He spent many hours at Andys Skelly Service Station in the West End souping up cars then taking them out on the highway at night to test their capabilities.

Don joined the Air Force while in high school; at flight school in California he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident and was in a coma for six weeks, awakening on Easter Sunday morning, 1951. His piloting career was cut short yet he never lost his love for aviation. It remained his passion and he spent many hours at airports and air shows during his long life. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force having attained the rank of Sergeant.

Don attended watchmakers college in Elgin, Ill. There he met Joanie Belshan and married in 1960. They returned to Duluth and raised four children providing a stable, loving home in Woodland. Don was a faithful, loyal man; honest; thoughtful; wise; with a quirky sense of humor and an easy bright smile. He donated one of his kidneys to his younger brother Jack in 1976. Jack lived an additional 13 years because of it.

He enjoyed tinkering with and fixing things and often came up with ingenious solutions to common problems. Don loved Duluth and Lake Superior and was always proud to call himself a Duluthian and a Denfeld Hunter. He was fortunate in his later years to live in a place with a view of the lake and enjoyed watching the ships and many sunrises.

Life with the results of a traumatic brain injury became a difficult battle for him but despite the challenges, he never gave up.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd and Alice and siblings Dick, Bill, Skip, Jack and Sharon.

Don is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joan Theresa Belshan Claveau; children, Mary (Randy) Lee of Duluth, Donald (Rae Lynn) Claveau of Cambridge, Minn., Daniel (Tracy) Claveau of Jacksonville, Fla., and Kitty (Barry) Berner of Fairbanks, Alaska; a brother, Dennis (Kathy) Claveau of Nathrop, Colo.; two sisters-in-law, Dorothy Claveau of Hibbing and Ginny Claveau of Duluth; 16 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

VISITATION: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 in Dougherty Funeral Home. The service will be at 12 Noon on Saturday, Aug. 30 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of The Rosary, 2801 E 4th Street, Duluth, and is followed by interment at Calvary Cemetery in Duluth.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lake Superior Squadron 101 of the Commemorative Air Force, a 501 (c) (3) organization.

Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E 2nd Street, Duluth, MN 55805, 218-727-3555.