University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Remembering Donald P. Kohns

Donald P. Kohns of East Grand Forks, professor emeritus of marketing and a former DECA advisor at UND, died Sunday, December 12, 2021 at the age of 87 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.

He was raised on a farm in Iowa. After graduating from Immaculate Conception High School in Cherokee, Iowa, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce degree from Creighton University. He served in Korea as an Army officer with responsibilities as an Infantry Platoon Leader and an Artillery Aerial Observer. He also served as Defense Counsel for courts-martial and as Personnel Officer. He became a Sergeant First Class and retired as a Captain after serving 21 years in the active and reserve components of the Army. He earned the Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals.

Don married Jeanette Ritten in 1959 at Belle River, Minn. After working several years as a merchandise manager for Montgomery Wards, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Distributive Education and a PhD Degree in Educational Psychology.

Don spent 17 years of his career on the faculty of the Business and Vocational Education Department at the UND, in what is now the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration. He served as an advisor to the Distributive Education Clubs of America Chapter (DECA). For his advisement, he was recognized with the UND Outstanding Advisor Award. He retired as a Professor Emeritus. A special high note of his retirement was the reunion program offered by a number of his former students and student-teacher supervisors.

He was a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Knights of Columbus Council, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Toastmasters International.

Don enjoyed socializing with his family and friends, all types of sports, reading historical books, fishing – especially when they were biting – and boating at the family’s Roy Lake, Minn., cabin.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jeanette Kohns of East Grand Forks; children Jerry (Lauren) Kohns of Annandale, Va., Bob Kohns of Shorewood, Minn.,, Jennifer (Jay) Neppel of Highland Ranch, Colo., Laura (Pat) Brickson of Thief River Falls, Minn., and David (Olivia May) Kohns of Ann Arbor, Mich.; 12 grandchildren – Kyle, Alex, Kaly, Aric, Kara, Julia, Joshua, Will, Hannah, Grace, Eleanor, and Avery; one great-grandchild on the way; and brother Larry Kohns of Olathe, Kan. He was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Austrid, sister Elaine (Jim) Johnstone and sister-in-law Shari Kohns.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Sacred Heart Development Fund.

Visitation: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Wednesday, December 15, 2021, in Dahl Funeral Home, 2029 Central Ave. NW, East Grand Forks, and also 1 hour prior Funeral Service on Thursday in Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Prayer Service: 7:00 PM, Wednesday, December 15, 2021, also at the funeral home. The prayer service will be live-streamed on Don’s page at

Mass of Christian Burial: 2:00 PM on Thursday, December 16, 2021 in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 200 3rd St. NW, East Grand Forks, MN with a 1:30 PM Rosery Service in Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Service will be live-streamed on Don’s page at

Interment: Resurrection Cemetery ~ East Grand Forks, with Military Honors provided by the East Grand Forks American Legion Post 157, VFW Post 157, and the Minnesota Army National Guard

Online Guestbook:

Arrangements By: Dahl Funeral Home ~ East Grand Forks