Donald Clinton Berndt
March 1, 2020
Donald Berndt, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, lived to age 95 and passed peacefully after suffering a stroke on December 15, 2019.
Donald was born at home near Mayer, Minnesota, prematurely, after his mother suffered a fall on the ice on their farm. They kept him warm on the wood stove oven door with little hope of his survival. He was strong, a survivor from the start, and thrived.
Don had a lifelong passion for aircraft that was fostered by Elmer Sell, the owner of Sell Airfield across the field from his home. During WWII, when the time neared for him to be drafted, he joined the Army Air Corps and was later assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps. He also received B-24 and B-29 Aircraft Mechanic training. He later served in the Vietnam War Air Force Reserve.
Don worked all his life as an aircraft mechanic. Starting with jobs at small airports in Wisconsin and Minnesota, he later worked as an FAA A&P IA Aircraft Mechanic, A&P Instructor and Examiner, Commercial Pilot, and FAA Principal Airworthiness Inspector for MN and western WI. He joined the EAA and in 1965 founded EAA Chapter 237 at the Anoka County Airport. He was an Anoka County Volunteer Deputy Sheriff in the 1970’s and was proud to have rescued a 14 year old girl from harm and to testify on her behalf. Don was an avid deer hunter and a fisherman enjoying both summer and ice fishing.