Pastor Donald J. Grant
Pastor Donald J. Grant
Pastor Donald James Grant of New Richmond stepped from this life to eternal life with Jesus on August 8, 2018, in his home and surrounded by his family. Don was born to Donald and Lois (Nelson) Grant in St. Paul on July 7, 1950. He attended St. Bernard's Elementary School and graduated from Washington High School in St. Paul.
Don served in the 1st Armored Division of the Army during the Vietnam War in Illesheim, Germany. He earned his associates degree in radiologic technology and worked as an x-ray tech in Eau Claire and then in Havre, MT. He married Lois Michaelson in 1984, and they were blessed with four children. He continued his training in imaging and became a registered diagnostic medical sonographer. They resided in Eau Claire for 11 years, and he worked in ultrasound at Marshfield Clinic (formerly Group Health) in Eau Claire. He also taught in the new ultrasound program at CVTC in Eau Claire.
In the army Don met his best friend Ray Nicholls, who also married his sister Judi. In the 1970s all of their lives were miraculously transformed by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Don began his spiritual training under his pastor John Tandberg at Pentecostal Assembly in Eau Claire. He was baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost, and he began applying the principles of God's Word to his life. He also started sharing his faith with classmates, coworkers, and friends. He served faithfully in his church, vacuuming, teaching Sunday school, leading worship service, assisting in Bible quizzing, and ministering with his family every week at a nursing home in Mondovi. He also studied to get his ministerial license with the United Pentecostal Church Int'l.
In 2001 he followed the call of God to plant a Pentecostal church in New Richmond. He continued working full-time in ultrasound, making him a bi-vocational pastor. Starting with just two new families, he taught Bible studies and held weekly worship services. In the early years of the church, they rented several facilities in town, including the Heritage Center, New Richmond Theater, and the Episcopal Church. In 2012 the church congregation moved into their current worship center, much of which they built themselves.
When he tried to talk a woman out of having an abortion, he was immediately terminated from his job, with no unemployment or severance pay. The Lord provided every need during those four months. Then Don was hired at Regina Hospital in Hastings, MN, and worked there 15+ years until he was diagnosed with cancer in May 2017.
Pastor Grant also served as the foreign missions rep for his section in the Wisconsin District UPCI. He went on several mission trips to Eastern Europe and ministered in Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine.
Don enjoyed tennis, golf, deer hunting in Montana and Wisconsin, teaching his children cribbage and table tennis and foosball, making fires in the fireplace, reading about the Civil War and WWII, traveling to Europe, Washington, D.C., Glacier National Park and Banff, and taking an Alaskan cruise with Lois for their 25th wedding anniversary. Door County was probably Don's favorite place to visit during his favorite season of the year, fall. On long car rides he loved to crank up the volume and sing along with the Gaither Vocal Band, PCD, Selah, and Andrae Crouch. Don could strike up a conversation with anyone. He was raised to be proud of his Irish heritage. He was born a Vikings fan, but after they lost Super Bowl XI, he converted to a Packers fan. He finally got to Lambeau Field for the historic matchup against long-time rival Chicago Bears on Sept. 28, 2017. He got special joy from holding and tickling and making goofy faces and sounds for his grandchildren.
Don especially loved music, and he had a beautiful tenor voice. He sang specials in church, for many weddings and funerals, and at special occasions. He sang solos accompanied by his wife on the piano, with choirs, with his children, and duets with his friend Ray. One of his highlights was singing high tenor in a gospel quartet for many years at Pentecostal Assembly. He also wrote a few songs, inspired by the anointed teaching of his pastor. His "signature song", which he sang for over 30 years in churches all over the world is "Jesus, I Love You Best of All". The message in that song is the expression of his love for His Savior and the power of the gospel.
Don is preceded in death by his father Donald; mother Lois (Nelson) Dobos; stepfather Joseph Dobos ; niece Hope Elizabeth Nicholls. Surviving are his wife of 34 years Lois; children, Andrew (Christina) of New Richmond, Heidi (Benjamin) Thomas of Crown Point, IN, Jesse (Kaity) of Wyoming, MN, and Johanna of Hudson; grandchildren Emma, Reagan, Nora, Roman, Judah, Eloise, and baby girl Thomas on the way; sister Judi (Raymond) Nicholls of New Richmond; sister-in-law Mary (Randy) Lau of Hudson and brother-in-law Bob (Diane) Michaelson of Crystal, MN; nephew Nathan Nicholls of Anchorage, AK; cousins galore; his church family; fellow ministers; colleagues; and friends. He looked for a city whose builder and maker was God...today he found it!
A celebration of Don's home-going will be held at 2:00 Saturday August 11 at Pentecostals of New Richmond, 2024 Highway 65, New Richmond, WI. Interment will be at New Richmond Cemetery. Visitation will be 5:00-8:00 Friday August 10 at the church, as well as one hour prior to the service. Memorials may be made to Global Missions or North American Missions of UPCI or to the church. Funeral arrangements handled by O'Connell Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, (715)386-3725. www.oconnellfuneralhomes.com