Donald Lewis Soldenski, age 91, of Grand Marais and formerly of Warren, MI, died peacefully at his home on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 under the loving care of his family. He was born on August 28, 1929 to the late Felix and Marion (Kotkowski) Soldenski in Hamtramck, MI. Don graduated from Hamtramck High School in 1947. While in school, he met Dolores Meidlar, but it was not until he was set up on a date by his sister, that he realized he was going to marry her. Don and Dolores were married at St. Florian's on June 16, 1951 and together they raised their children. Shortly after they were married, Don became a fireman with the Warren Fire Department. He earned a degree in Applied Science from Macomb Community College, and later started the Fire Science School at the college in 1960. Don taught firefighters across the state through this program for many years. At his department, Don served in all positions and retired as Fire Chief in 1982 after twenty-eight years of service to the community. Don also held the position of Secretary for the Michigan Fire Chief Association for three years.
Don and Dolores moved to Grand Marais after their retirement and made their home on the shore of Lake Superior. They were members of Holy Rosary Church in Grand Marais. Don enjoyed traveling with his wife, Dolores. They spent many years travelling around the globe and enjoying winters in Alabama. Don loved to host a party; Fourth of July bonfires have been celebrated at his home for over forty years. His children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have all learned proper fire safety by spending summers with “Grandpa Don.” Rivaling to his love of celebrations was his love for TV documentaries. Don was an avid conversationalist and he loved to discuss and debate various topics.
Don is survived by his children - Katherine (Gary) Barney of Gwinn, MI, Daniel (Christina) Soldenski of Clinton Township, MI, Robert Soldenski of Warren, MI, and Lynn (Stephen) Conroy of Armada, MI; fourteen grandchildren - Brenna (Jason) LaBeau, Trisha (Scott) Saul, Derek Soldenski, Heather (Justin) Stocchi, Holly (Derek) Tracy, Andrew Soldenski, Robert Ward, Colin Ward, Talena (Preston) Price, Tiana (Joe) Gunn, Myles Soldenski, Chad (Kendra) Conroy, Ben Conroy, and Chelsea Conroy; great-grandchildren – Brody and Brandon LaBeau, Dylan and Bryce Stocchi, Scarlett and Finley Tracy, Ethan Starski, Dean Preston, Maverick and Magnolia Gunn, and Charlotte and Madelyn Conroy; and many other family members and friends. Don was preceded in death by his parents, loving wife Dolores, and son Valen “David” Soldenski.
Don’s family would also like to thank North Woods Home Health for their tender care of him.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date. Interment will be at the Holy Rosary Cemetery in Grand Marais.
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