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Don Koestner

Donald E. "Don" Koestner, age 86, of Pine River, Minn., formerly of Silver Bay, Minn., passed away peacefully on Dec. 23, 2009, at the home of his daughter.

Don was born in St. Paul, and after serving in the U.S. Army in China during WWII, used his GI bill to attend the Minneapolis School of Art. Upon graduation, he built a cabin near Hastings, Minn., to pursue his dream of becoming a traditional landscape painter. He lived in Hastings for 30 years before moving to Silver Bay.

His passion for painting in oils never abated and he painted into his eighties. A master painter who ground his own pigments and stretched his own canvases, he was well known and respected for his ability to capture the beauty of nature in the impressionist style. Over the years, he also taught and encouraged scores of painting students. Don also inspired many because of the simple and practical way he lived. He and his wife of 44 years, Fern, joyfully raised two children on a meager income.

Don lost Fern to lung cancer in 2004, and is survived by his son, Fred, daughter, Lorna, and grandchildren, Justin and Benjamin.

At Don's request, there will be no funeral. He will be remembered at a celebration of his life and work from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Atelier, 1681 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, Minn., 612-362-8421.

Contact the Kline Funeral Home, 218-587-2067, for details.

Any memorials may be sent to the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance,, or the Minnesota Land Trust,, or to a charity of your choice.