Donald Lee Dau passed away peacefully on September 23, 2022 in the comfort of his home with his family by his side. He was born on November 26, 1936 to Mabel (Meyer) and Elvin Dau. He grew to become a protective big brother of two siblings Nancy and Susan as they made their life on the farm. A lifelong handyman, Donald developed skills of creativity and resourcefulness on the farm. If 2 screws would do, then 4 clearly would be better. The skills learned served him well in life as a husband, father, Grandpa, close relative, and friend. Don would take off his coat to help a friend. It was his way.
Donald attended a one room school north of Sutherland before attending Sutherland High School, graduating in 1955 with many lifelong friends. He went on to serve in the Army in Washington State. He once told that he asked his superior to transfer overseas and his superior told him, “No, you will stay here, and stay safe with us.”
Upon returning home he soon met his future bride Margaret Mate Degnan from Ayrshire, Iowa as she began her teaching career in Sutherland. They married and settled on a farm where they lived for ten years and had three children: Deidre, Ned and Rachel. In 1972 Donald moved his family and a house into Sutherland where he continued to work on their home for over 47 years before moving to Hartley in 2019. Donald made sure that the grandkids had all the toys to enjoy while visiting including motor bikes, go karts and the all-time favorite, forts made of appliance boxes. He also helped the kids with special projects in his workshop. He was a patient Grandpa who loved to spend time with his grandkids. Donald was a farmer, maintenance man in Hartley, a contractor with Dau Construction, an electrician with his brother-in-law Jim Martin, and had a farm application and trucking business in which he thoroughly enjoyed the travel, seeing the country and meeting new people.
He had many hobbies in life starting with making his own toys on the farm and developing talents to build or fix just about anything. He spent hours tinkering at his workbench or at “the shed” making things that his kids and grandkids now treasure. Those hobbies together with his desire to keep busy led him to helping with all projects with his family. There wasn’t anything he would not tackle or try. He made many bird houses, barn quilts for buildings and countless other crafts shared with others. Due to illness later in his life he often lamented, “I wish I could do more to help.” He continued to find new hobbies in life including making jewelry, which the women in his life enjoyed, and working on model tractors. “Monk” became his nickname because he was always meticulous about everything he did.
Donald was also a nature lover, and in later years, became an avid bird watcher. At the family home in Sutherland, he built a bird sanctuary for his friends and fed a wide variety of birds. He and Margaret kept the bird book close at hand in case there was something new to see and look up.
Donald was a proud husband, father, grandfather, and close relative to many. He was a very social person and loved being around relatives, friends and meeting new people.