Donald Carl Carlson
View/Post Sympathy Messages

Donald Carl Carlson, age 89, of Yankton, South Dakota, went to join the Lord and his wife Phyllis, on Sunday, July 23, 2017, at Avera Sr. James Care Center in Yankton.

Funeral services will be 10:30 AM, on Friday, July 28, 2017, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Yankton with Reverend Kwen Sanderson officiating. Burial will be in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton. Visitation is from 5:00 to 8:00 PM on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with a prayer service at 7:00 PM.

Pallbearers are Craig Carlson, Terry Carlson, Kevin Carlson, Aaron Goble, Adam Goble, and Austin Goble. Honorary pallbearers will be his granddaughters.

Donald Carl Carlson was born June 23, 1928, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Robert and Ida (Giseth) Carlson. He grew up in Sioux City and graduated in 1947 from Central High School in Sioux City. He began working at Diamond Shoe Store in Sioux City where he met Phyllis Joyce Anderson. Phyllis came in to buy nursing shoes, Don was smitten and asked for her number. They were married July 11, 1952, in Sioux City. They had two boys Douglas Craig and Terence Jay. In 1956, they moved to Yankton, South Dakota and Don opened Diamond Shoe Store on 3rd Street, and the moniker "Diamond Don" was coined.

Don truly did love Yankton and made it his mission in life to promote Yankton wherever he went. Don was always trying to find ways to improve the Downtown District and was constantly trying to make Yankton better. Don served the Yankton community for many years including serving as the Director of the Yankton Chamber of Commerce, Yankton Chamber United Fund Co-chairman, Chairman of the South Dakota Retailers Association, and as a City Commissioner for the City of Yankton. Don served many other organizations as well. He was on the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan Editorial Board, worked with Habitat for Humanity, served on the Evaluation Board for the Human Services Center and was an active, decades long member of Trinity Lutheran Church.

Don's devotion to Yankton, was recognized by he and Phyllis being named the Captain and Belle of Riverboat Days. Other proud moments include being named Yankton High School Senior Citizen of the Year, and receiving Yard of the Month honors many times. He was the founder of the annual River Rat Run, which he ran in and organized for several years. In retirement, Don loved running, bike riding, singing in a Barbershop Quartet, fishing at "the wall", and traveling to see children and grandchildren, attending Yankton Bucks and Gazelles sporting events, having coffee with friends at Hy-Vee, and loved having his grandchildren stay with them during the summer.

Survivors include his two sons: Douglas Craig and his wife Denise of Greeley, Colorado and Terence Jay and his wife Mary of Granite Bay, California; seven grandchildren: Courtney Hansen Renck, Chelsey Carlson, Aaron Goble, Adam Goble, Austin Goble, Laura Bowling, and Kevin Carlson; seven great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Ida; wife, Phyllis; sister, Marjorie Anderson; and two brothers: Ellery and Robert Carlson.

Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.

To the family, Don sat at the dinner table with my dad, Hank. I went to see him this evening. I asked where Diamond was and they told me the sad news. I visited with Don on many occasions. He was so kind. I enjoyed his stoties very much. My thoughts and prayers to you.

We were saddened to hear of Don's passing. Don and Phyllis were two of the nicest people I met during my years in Yankton. both of them have left us with fond memories. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Don and Melissa Buehrer

Diamond Don touched our Swensen farm family in many ways. I remember well when Don came to Yankton as we would go shopping on Friday nights and always a visit to the Diamond Shoe store.
Now my mother was only 4 ft. 9 " and weighed 90 lbs. soaking wet. When Don discovered that mom only had a size two (2) shoe he said "I have a surprise for you".. I remember he went in the basement and brought out several suitcases of sample shoes that salesmen would leave for his viewing of new products.. He would say to my mother Eilene Swensen these are yours for free....Mom was elated to say the least. No other customer had size 2 shoes and the salesmen said to Don just throw the samples away as no one has that small of a foot.. Needles to say mom came in almost every Friday night for decades and Don would go to the basement and present her with new shoes of all kinds. Lots of high heels..
I remember mom almost never wore the same shoe to church or some family function and the neighbors and relatives thought we were rich ..Far from the truth we were very poor as Dad (Luvern) was a great farmer, but mom was in the hospital 17 Major stays and back then it was almost impossible to get health insurance being a farmers wife...Don brightened my mothers life many many times. I thank him for that.. Even my older sister Marilyn Swensen (Erickson) (Cragun)worked for Don...
Thanks Diamond Don for making my mother Eilene Swensen happy............

Gary Swensen
Yankton County Commissioner
Yankton, S.D.

I first met Don Carlson back in the Summer of 1962, when I bought a new pair of Florsheim Shoes from him at Diamond Shoe Store. They were quite expensive...I was only making $75 a week...having moved to Yankton only in late May. I liked Don right off. My flat fleet always "brown down" the arches in my shoes. I told him about this. He was sure the Florsheim's wouldn't break down. Well, they did, BUT, it never upset me...and, it never bothered me at all. I was an announcer with KYNT...and,down thru the years...I saw Don every now an then. Don was always an uplift for me. Don had Great Character! His wife, also...they were a Great Couple!
I was saddened a few years ago when I read, in the P & D's website...of the Passing of Don's wife. My wife & I were also members of Trinity Lutheran, and would frequently see them there. Carlsons were in a great "friends circle" of the Chuck & Delilah Peterson, the Jacobson's...and some others I am sorry I am not recalling, I recall Dolly Jacobson, but, sadly, although I can see his face, her husband. I worked with Delilah Peterson a number of years at KYNT. All were Great Caring People. I am unsure if Chuck is still living, hope so!
These people touched my life. The world was Better Off for all of them!
My wife, Vel & I offer great sympathy to Don Carlson's family!


My mother-in-law, Marie List had polio as a child and it left her with crippled feet; she couldn't walk bare footed as her feet weren't flat on the floor. She wore a size 4 shoe and it had to have a wedge or high heel. Diamond Don was able to fit her with sample shoes. He had the last for what she needed in a shoe written on a post in the basement of the store. When she moved to California, he would send her several pairs of shoes, told her to keep what fit and send the rest back, she paid $10. per pair. She always had shoes for her little feet, thanks to him. Our son, Kirby, had a very narrow foot and when he was young we'd go to the store, he'd look at all the shoe styles in the window and picked out some he liked. Don didn't have any in the store narrow enough; he'd get the catalog out and usually there would be one pair that could be ordered. Don would ride bicycle a lot and we missed seeing him when he had to give that up. Don & Phyllis always had smiles for eve ryone. Our sympathy to his family.

Don & Marlys List

Such a wonderful person! I have fond memories of working with Don & Phyllis right up to the store closing. My thoughts and prayers are with You all.

Patty Vavra

Growing up in Crofton, we often came over to see Don for shoes. My parents just loved him, he always knew them by name, and he was so kind to me and my hard to fit feet.

My condolences to his family.

Barbara (Bogner) Lee

I am very sorry to hear of your father's passing. Thoughts and prayers to your family.

Char Kuestermeyer

Send your Sympathy Message

Name of Deceased: (required)*

Please type your message:*

Sender's Name:*
Sender's Email:

* Required field

View All Local Obituaries
Home | Obituaries | Video Tributes | Contact Us
Copyright © Wintz & Ray Funeral Home   ·   Designed by: Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan