Cover photo for Donald Garey's Obituary
Donald Garey Profile Photo
1953 Donald 2023

Donald Garey

June 21, 1953 — December 25, 2023


Donald (Don) Ray Garey, 70, of Staples, well known as the “artsy guy”, walking around town in fashionable headwear, passed away on December 25, 2023. Memorial services will be announced at a later date.

Don was born on June 21st 1953 in Minneapolis, MN to Gay and Bruno Garey, and was the youngest and most lively of three children. Don attended Washburn High School before studying Art Education at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. He later earned his Master of Arts degree in Art Education from Bemidji State University.

After graduating, Don first worked in advertising, before finding his true calling, teaching graphic art and illustration at Central Lakes College. He taught generations of new artists until 2011 when he retired and devoted his time fully to making art, spending time with his family, grandkids, and all the animals he loved. 

Don filled his life with art and music, attending many festivals (jazz & blues being his favorite). He enjoyed all aspects of the community theater, giving much of his time to the productions (even recruiting his children’s help). Throughout his life, he loved to draw and paint. He regularly attended and participated in various art and film festivals. The last exhibition of his work was at the New York Mills Cultural Center entitled “The Spirits Within”. His personal work reflected a deep psychology of which he said, “[my artwork] is not about art principles or design, it is rather about what it is in our lives that gets us through difficult times.”

Don’s house was full of the art and crafts of many people. He loved books and music (and had way too many CDs if you ask his children), and kept a continuous parade of small, silly dogs, all but one being dachshunds (a breed he had loved since he was a child). Throughout his life he kept his home open to his many friends he kept in touch with regardless of distance. He was also active in his church and community and will be missed by many.

Don was preceded in death by his parents Gay and Bruno and his sister Jody. He is survived by his brother Richard, his daughters Natasha (Andrew) and Erin (David), grandchildren Connor and Alivia, and Bink, the last in the line of small, silly, dogs. 

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Brenny Family Funeral Chapel, Staples, MN

If you’d like to make a charitable donation in his name, please send it to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Garey, please visit our flower store.


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