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Former lawmaker with Osakis connections dies of COVID-19

Donna Nalewaja, a one-time Republican nominee for lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate, died Sept. 30 at the age of 81, according to her obituary.

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Donna Nalewaja

A former North Dakota lawmaker and long-time summer resident of Osakis has died of COVID-19.

Donna Nalewaja, a one-time Republican nominee for lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate, died Sept. 30 at the age of 81, according to her obituary. She and her husband, John, spent summers at a cottage on Lake Osakis and enjoyed time on the family farm in nearby Browerville, according to her obituary.

The Iowa native served in the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1983 to 1986 and the North Dakota Senate from 1987 to 1998.

Nalewaja unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for lieutenant governor in 1988 and later lost a challenge to former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan in 1998, after which she exited politics.

Nalewaja moved to Fargo in 1962 with her husband, a professor of weed science at North Dakota State University, where they raised four children. She sold real estate for a quarter-century beginning in 1974, according to her obituary. She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, her parents and her siblings. She is survived by her four children and 11 grandchildren.

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A funeral service for Nalewaja will be Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Osakis.

--Forum News Service

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