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Calm seas for the Storms

Don and Diane Storm will celebrate 60 years of marriage on Thursday, Aug. 29. They've lived in Hastings for 10 of those years. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)1 / 2
Just after their ceremony concluded in 1953, Don and Diane Storm got into the back of this car, and their photographer jumped in and snapped a photo. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

More than 60 years ago, Don Storm took the snaps as the quarterback for the Sheboygan (Wis.) North High School football team.

On the sidelines, his girlfriend Diane was the head cheerleader.

And in 1950, they were the Ice Carnival king and queen at the school.

Sounds too good to be true, right? It isn't.

Next week, on Aug. 29, the Storms will celebrate 60 years of marriage. They have a big party planned a few weeks from now at the Hastings Country Club, and family and friends from all over the country have made their travel plans.

They'll all have a chance to reflect on the interesting life led by Don and Diane over those past 60 years. That life included Don being in Parish ministry for 35 years, serving for 10 years in the Minnesota State Senate and Don seriously mulling a run for governor.

In fact, prior to the election of 1990, things had lined up for Storm to strongly consider running. He was elected in 1982 to serve Hennepin County and served as the assistant minority leader during three sessions. He was an Independent Republican.

Just as he started looking into running for governor further, Arne Carlson stepped forward. Storm then backed down and Carlson went on to win. Carlson later appointed Storm to serve as the chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, a position Storm held for six years.

Looking back on that decision these days, Storm is happy things played out as they did.

"I think I'm comfortable with that decision," he said.

The wedding

Both Diane and Don Storm remember a lot of the details surrounding their wedding in 1953. They remember it being one of those hot and sticky days, and of course the church did not have air conditioning. Their sisters sang during the service and the reception was held right at the church, with all the guests bringing the food for the occasions.

For their honeymoon, the Storms traveled 200 miles northwest of Sheboygan to Three Lakes, Wis., where they had a cabin on a lake.

"The Lord has blessed us," Don Storm said. "That's pretty much how we made it."

"The years have gone by so fast," Diane Storm said. "It's incredible to think it was that long ago. It's been a great trip."

Making a difference

One of the things Storm was most proud of ultimately soured his taste regarding politics.

When he was elected, Storm was serving as the CEO for Tasks Unlimited. That firm took chronic schizophrenics out of state hospitals and taught them independent living skills and job skills.

At the time, Storm calculated that each patient, while living in a state hospital, cost the state $60,000. His firm could get those patients out of the hospital, rehabilitate them and get them jobs in the janitorial field. By the time he left Tasks Unlimited, there were 111 employees cleaning 2.5 million square feet of space a night.

They were paying taxes instead of costing the state money.

"Every Friday night they got a paycheck and they were just elated," Storm said.

Storm desperately wanted to take the program to the state and present it as a way to turn the state hospitals around. Democrats were in control of the Senate at the time, Storm said, and he couldn't get a hearing.

"Toward the end, it became so partisan," he said. "It wasn't even comfortable to be there."


Following graduation in Sheboygan, Don Storm attended college, finished three years at United Theological Seminary and then completed two years in clinical pastoral training in Buffalo, N.Y.

Out of high school, Diane Storm attended nursing school in Chicago and then came back to Sheboygan, where she was married to Don.

They initially put down roots in Pennsylvania and New York and for the next 35 years, Don was in Parish ministry. In 1969, the family moved to Minnesota. Don served as the Peace United Church of Christ on St. Paul's east side.

While Don was serving in public, Diane was busy herself. She worked in corporate recruiting at General Mills for a number of years. The couple acknowledged that without her working there and picking up the benefits she did, paying for Don's two hip replacements, his quadruple bypass and his stroke would have been a real challenge.

"We've been blessed, blessed, blessed," Diane said. "That's the word we say all the time."

Don Storm retired in 1998 and in 2004, he and Diane moved to Hastings. They have children in Apple Valley and Cottage Grove and figured that since Hastings was right between the two, it would be a good fit.

The Storms have five children and four grandchildren.