Donovan Lester Guida was born to Lester Guida and Corean Lyden on December 9, 1942 in Pelican Rapids, MN. Shortly thereafter, Don moved to Tyler, MN and eventually to Detroit Lakes, MN where he graduated high school in 1960.
In June of 1962 he married Nancy Karen Root and they were blessed with two children Kimberly Jo and Randal Donovan.
As a young man, Don developed skills as a mechanic, craftsman, and bricklayer. He worked as a mechanic for Vergas Motor Service and then, the Moorhead city cab in the mid-1960s. He then became a union bricklayer from 1968 -1974. During this time, Don helped construct some of the largest buildings in the Fargo – Moorhead area.
In addition to his vocation, he became a highly decorated race car driver. Don won the Minnesota State Sprint Car Championship in 1964 and 1965. He was the newest driver in the division and the youngest driver on the track. He set a world record at the time for a quarter mile track. Don also raced snowmobiles and was especially proud to participate in the I - 500 Winnipeg to Saint Paul snowmobile race. In 1972, Don retired from racing and purchased Ice Cracking Lodge, a fishing resort located in Ponsford, MN which he owned until 1977.
In 1976, Don bought his first sawmill and log skidder. He owned Straight River Log Homes and then Blueberry Log and Timber. During this time, he designed, manufactured, and built hundreds of log homes and countless structures including the Norwegian Stave church replicas located in Moorhead, MN and Minot, ND.
In 1978 he married his loving wife, Lynette Korine Johnson and they were blessed with two children, Travis Jon and Sarah DeAnne. He and Lynette pioneered "Sawmill Creek", a bustling 1890s style theme park including steam operated equipment, authentic gold mining and blacksmithing, and family oriented attractions in Park Rapids, MN.
In 2004 he constructed Jaspers Theater, where he performed as a comedian and vocalist alongside family in the first two seasons as the beloved character "Yahootie".
While Don’s awards, recognitions, and achievements were plenty, he is most noted for the type of man he is and how he lived out his faith through his acts of kindness, service, and refusal to see any negativity in others. Don pursued many passions in his life, including piloting his own private airplanes, attending the Disney management course, being certified as a MN boiler operator, and an avid big game hunter. He was relentless in his pursuit of excellence, brought fairness and reason to challenging circumstances, and taught those who he loved to treat others with kindness. Don was not only a dreamer, but always a Do-er and as one of his younger brothers recently said, "when others were hitting the brakes, he was hitting the gas".
Don is survived by his loving wife Lynette of 40 years; his children Kimberly Jo (Todd) Kramer of Fargo, Randal Donovan (Kelly) Guida of Park Rapids, Travis Jon (Sarah) Guida of Bemidji, Sarah DeAnne (Ryan) Miller of Park Rapids; 23 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren; his brothers Gary (Becky) Guida, Dean (Jeanie) Guida, Glen (Janice) Guida, Roger (Chris) Guida, Curt (Wendy) Guida, Richard (Shelley) Guida; his sisters Peggy (Vern) Peterson, Sandra (Steve) Swanson, Mary Kittleson, Debra (Charles) Thompson; his aunt Delores Lyden; many cousins, nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents.