Donald Ray Dass died at home in Duluth, Minnesota, on May 4, 2023, at the age of 72. He was born in Virginia, Minnesota, on May 30, 1950, the first of four children born to Ray and Esther (Anderson) Dass. He spent his formative years in Kelsey, before moving to Independence and graduating from AlBrook High School in 1968. He graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in 1988 with a degree in History. Don worked full-time as an Intelligence Analyst for the Minnesota Army National Guard, retiring in 2008 as a Sergeant Major after serving over 24 years.
He shared two sons, Robert Douglas and Matthew James, with Sandra (Kohn) Dass. Don was proud of his sons and their many accomplishments and considered them his best friends. Don loved hanging out with his sons, sharing stories, family genealogy, adventures, and a good craft beer.
Don married Zane Bail on September 16, 2000, in Duluth. They enjoyed 24 years together in their beautiful Lakeside home with restorations and improvements made by Don. He took pleasure in planting trees near the creek next to their house, collecting art, tending fires, working in his shop, listening to music, and holding gatherings with family and friends. Don biked and ran thousands of miles over the years, including completing Grandma’s Marathon. On November 27, 2021, Don was overjoyed to become a grandfather to Scarlett Esther Dass who brightened his days.
Don was a poet, craftsman, and expert model builder. His passion for history and talent for modeling trains, ships, and airplanes were combined to create unique works of art that he hoped would surprise and delight people. Don was an avid reader---there was always a stack of books and reference materials on the coffee table. He was a champion of the importance of local history and his involvement with the City of Duluth Historic Preservation and Public Arts Commissions were among his contributions to the community. Don was instrumental in the development of the Bob Dylan Way Cultural Pathway in Duluth in 2006 and was a founding member of the Duluth Dylan Fest Committee.
Donald was preceded in death by his parents, his niece Kristin Graehling, and his brother-in-law Charles Lind. He is survived by his wife Zane Bail, sons Robert (Jessica) and Matthew (Megan) Dass, granddaughter Scarlett Esther, siblings Joanne Lind (Bob Bok), Bradley Dass and Luanne (Brent) Johnson, sister-in-law Zandra Bail-LaLonde (Rick LaLonde), brother-in-law David Rankin and mother-in-law Sandra Bail Wille (Dick Wille). Don is also survived by aunts Laura Olson, and Barbara (Larry) Lohman, and uncle Earl (Margarit) Dass, nieces and nephews Eric Lind, Aaron Dass, Joshua, Alyssa (Grant Sega) and Zachary Johnson, Zorin and Zev LaLonde, Caitlin Rankin, and mother of his children Sandra Dass.
A graveside memorial service will be held on Friday, May 19th at 11:30 a.m. at Riverside Cemetery in Kelsey.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Donald
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society Of Minnesota | Duluth