My first memory of Don Dasburg takes place in Texas during the mid '80s. We spent a week entertaining a mutual client one night! That was the starting point for us.
A few years later, in January 1989, Don called me about coming to work for Plastics News. He'd just started as PN's first ad director, and he and founding publisher Chris Chrisman sold me on why I just had to be part of this “can't miss” weekly newspaper. Don kept selling PN to his last day, which, unfortunately, was June 30th. He was 63 years young.
Don had lots of friends, many of whom attended his July 3 funeral in Barrington, Ill. For those of you who knew Don but were not able to attend, I'm going to share a little bit about the event. It was a lovely service. "Lovely" was one of Don's favorite terms. You'd ask him how he was, and he'd smile and say, "I'm lovely," and he was right.
He was unique and original. Many of his clients referred to Don as their media consultant. He took great interest in his customers, not just in their budgets but in their products and their ads as well. He'd spend hours with customers trying to help them get their message across to a plastics market that he knew so well after more than 25 years in the business.
As you'd expect, there was a lot more to Don than work. He was a proud father and a proud grandfather, raising three children in his first marriage. He was active in his church and community. When Don was almost 50, he and his second wife, Claudia, decided to take in two foster children, whom they later adopted. A few years later they decided to take in another little girl, Crystal, whom they also adopted. In fact, Crystal, who is now about to enter college majoring in liberal arts, sang "Amazing Grace" a capella at Don's funeral. Crystal sang with amazing grace, which I'll bet she got from Don.
Claudia spoke about Don as a great listener. Claudia will be the first to tell you that she gave Don lots of opportunities to listen over their 25-plus years together. She's right, though. Don was a patient listener. He'd ask a question and really focus on your answer. Think about how rare that is.
His older brother, Al, spoke of Don as a great competitor, and I can attest to that, too. He loved to compete. One of my favorite golf wins took place at a sales meeting when Donald shot his career round, and I was fortunate to be his partner. We had only a $5 bet going, but our opponents couldn't believe they were going to lose, so they kept upping the wager. Donald shot 80, we won $40, and he couldn't stop smiling. Years later we'd talk about the round, and he'd start smiling again. I still smile about it.
Don's two older boys spoke at the funeral, as well. Each is successful in his own career now, and they both spoke of Don giving them career advice — and of how they sometimes even took the advice. As they spoke of Don they were smiling, as he always did.
Donald was a doer, not a spectator, and he loved what he was doing whether it was skiing, boating or playing the piano. In fact, he golfed and boated on his last day with family and friends. We at Plastics News have lots of great memories of Don, captured in dozens of photos. He's smiling in virtually every single picture. Come to think of it, it's tough to remember him not smiling.
Thanks for making us smile, Double-D.