Dr. Donald Ross Spelhaug, a longtime Phoenix, Ariz., area resident, died March 1, 2012, at his home in Glendale, Ariz., after a lengthy battle with multiple sclerosis. He was 58.

Donald was born Oct. 11, 1953, in Litchfield, to Dwaine and Helene Spelhaug. He graduated from Chatfield High School in 1972. Before entering

college, Don put his forever independent nature and strong-willed spirit to the test by bicycling from Minnesota to California, a truly amazing feat.

Besides having an adventurous spirit, Don was determined in his educational pursuits. To that end, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Hamline University in St. Paul, and his Doctor of Medicine in 1981 from Mayo Medical School in Rochester.

Don then headed for Arizona and started his very long and successful 31-year medical career by first interning at Maricopa County General Hospital in Phoenix, before joining Cigna Medical Group as a family practitioner also in Phoenix. Don spent 29 years with Cigna Medical Group. His trusted expertise and guidance will be dearly missed by his co-workers.

Don was a compassionate and dedicated healer, with many of his patient relationships spanning over 25 years. His unwavering commitment and love for his patients shone through. As one longtime patient reflected "he treated me like a brother." In return, they loved him back.

Outside of work, Don took great pleasure in the company of his family and friends. He was always willing to listen to anyone who needed him and the first to offer his help. In his spare time, Don enjoyed hunting and the great outdoors at his farm in North Dakota.

Don was dearly loved by his family. Left to cherish his memory are his mother, Helene Spelhaug of Chatfield; two brothers, Robert (Nicole) of Rochester and James (Julie) of Bettendorf, Iowa; four sisters, Ann (Vince) Arnold of Dodge Center, Jean (David) Haugo of Decorah, Iowa, Patrice (Bryan) Stanek of Irvine, Calif., and Sue (Rick) Poinsett of Pleasanton, Calif.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, grandparents and niece, Jessica Arnold.

Memorials may be directed to the Chatfield Lutheran Church on behalf of the Spelhaug Educational Scholarship Fund or the Mayo Foundation on behalf of the MS Research Center.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at Chatfield Lutheran Church, Saturday, March 24, at 1:30 p.m., with the Pastor Mark Docken officiating. A memorial service in Glendale, Ariz., is scheduled for a later date.

Chapel of the Chimes Mortuary of Glendale is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be offered online at www.chapelofthe chimesmortuary.com