Donald Elbridge Colebank was born November 19, 1909 to
Frank and Nellie McLaughlin Colebank on their farm in
Fieldon Township, Watonwan County, Minnesota. Donald
attended grade school and high school in Madelia,
Minnesota. Donald played football, basketball, baseball
and trumpet at Madelia High. Donald went to business
college in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He took accounting
through correspondence and through night classes in
accounting at the University of Minnesota.
Donald met Merle Laflin at work in 1929 and 1930 when
they were working in the same building for different
companies. They were married in Minneapolis in 1931. It
was a simple non-church wedding followed by a
reception and dance in Merle’s grade school house in
Maple Grove, Minnesota.
Merle L. Laflin was born February 29, 1912 to Benjamin
and Ruth Esty Laflin in Maple Grove, Minnesota.  Merle
attended rural Maple Grove grade school and high school
in Anoka, Minnesota. From 1929 to 1933 she did
stenographic and clerical work. When the children were
grown she worked as sales clerk for B Dalton Bookstore
from 1973 to 1980. Donald worked in accounting
(treasurer and comptroller) for the Insulation Sales
Company in Minneapolis for 40 years, retiring in 1974 at
age 64.
Donald and Merle raised their children in Minneapolis.
Both of their children graduated from the University of
Minnesota. The family attended Presbyterian and
Lutheran churches.
Donald played trumpet in a dance band in Madelia in 1927
and 1928 and the bugle in the Zuhrah Shrine Drum Corps
from 1948 to 1961. He became a Mason in 1945 and has
been in the Scottish Rite since 1947. Donald was a
member of the YMCA “Y”s Men’s Club from 1943 to 1949.
Merle was in the Eastern Star.
Merle enjoyed bridge, reading, bowling, golf (had a hole in
one!) and was a hospital volunteer from 1943 to 1949.
Donald was a volunteer doing income tax returns for
senior citizens.
One of Donald’s biggest thrills came in 1950 when he
caught a 4-foot-long, 35 pound Muskie in Lake of the
Woods, Minnesota, and again in 1952 when he caught an
84”, 60 pound sailfish at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Merle
and Donald traveled to Florida, New Orleans, Texas,
Arizona, Seattle, Victoria B. C. and enjoyed a train trip
from Vancouver BC to Minneapolis.
Merle died October 12, 1992 and Donald died April 12,
2007 in Minneapolis.

The children of Donald and Merle were:

Robert Frank Colebank – born September 28, 1931 in
Minneapolis, Minnesota. He married Ruth Ann
Pipenhagen, born July 29, 1935, on September 17, 1955.
They had 4 children and farmed near Hamel, Minnesota.

Margaret Janet Colebank – born  June 5, 1934. She
married Dr. Robert Lawrence Telander, a pediatrician, on
July  20, 1957.  Robert was born November 14, 1934. They
had 4 children.

Copied with permission from “From Whence Came the
Colebanks” by Warren Colebank, copyright 1989, p. 111.
Siblings Lloyd, Lois and Donald (right)
Four generations, L to R: Frank
Colebank, Donald, Donald's son Robert
holding his son Robert Greg Colebank
Donald Elbridge Colebank