Photography

Daniel A. Schaller

June 12, 1930 ~ July 2, 2019 (age 89)

Obituary

Daniel Schaller told his children he wanted to live long enough to celebrate his 89th birthday with family. In true Dan fashion, he achieved his goal and then some and died peacefully on July 2, 2019.
Dan grew up on a lackluster farm in Cumberland, Wisconsin (one where he remembers picking more rocks than crops), joined the army, was a medic in the Korean War, met the adventurous farm girl Janis Hanson from Prairie Island, became a pilot in the US Air Force, lived all over the United States, traveled the world, and somehow produced four rambunctious children - Anna, Bill, Suzy and Joanne - along the way. His military career - from codebreaking enemy messages in 1952 to flying secret missions in the very thick of the Cuban Missile Crisis to flying 127 combat missions out of Thailand during the Vietnam conflict to Operation Deep Freeze (Antarctica) and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross (along with six other medals) - was a bit of a wild ride. Then life calmed down in 1977 when he retired from being a Cold War Warrior and with Janis, picked out the house in upper Burnside they would call home for 42 years.
Or did life calm down? Post military, Dan enjoyed working as a farm laborer and flight instructor; he studied HVAC and auto mechanics at the vo-tech. Dan was big on service and shared his talents with many organizations. At various times, he was Commander of the VFW, DAV and the American Legion.
Dan loved flying so much that upon retirement, he continued to fly almost every day until he was 80, logging over 16,000 hours of flight time. Mentoring the young pilots of the Civil Air Patrol gave him great joy. He would say he was a pilot for hire but all you had to do was ask and he would take you up in his Cessna 172 and his smile afterward would have you wondering who was doing whom the favor.
Dan had a passion for US history. In 1971, he graduated with a history degree from the University of Nebraska. He loved presidential biographies. During his stint as an Air Force Two pilot stationed at Andrews Air Force Base just outside of Washington, D.C., he dragged his family to every Smithsonian museum and historical monument in a thirty mile radius. On many cross country road trips, there was not a Civil War battlefield or pioneer fort unworthy of his attention.
Dan was a patriot who proudly (and mischievously) proclaimed he loved to pay taxes. He always enjoyed a lively discussion about politics and would pick the opposing side if the debate wasn't lively enough. With a glint in his eye he'd whip out a provocative topic, sometimes to the chagrin of his wife and offspring. Many spirited dinner "conversations" ended with a consultation with Dan's favorite authority on facts, his beloved World Book Encyclopedia.
Dan cared about family. He was supremely proud of his grandchildren: Jessica, Erin, Wilson, Josie, Aidan, Emmett, Alex and Elise. He was delighted by his great granddaughters Lindy and Morgan. He was generous. He taught his children to work hard, get a good education, live within your means, be helpful to others, make friends wherever you go, share your good fortune, and never stop being curious. And that it is okay to enjoy a good beer "every once in a while".
Memorial service will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel with Deacon Todd Portinga officiating. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Monday, July 8, with a Legion prayer service at 7 p.m., and for one hour prior to the service, all at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Faith in Action or the Goodhue County Humane Society.

Visitation

JUL 8. 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM (CDT)

Mahn Family Funeral Home - Bodelson-Mahn Chapel
602 Plum St
Red Wing, MN, 55066

Visitation

JUL 9. 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (CDT)

Mahn Family Funeral Home - Bodelson-Mahn Chapel
602 Plum St
Red Wing, MN, 55066

Memorial Service

JUL 9. 11:00 AM (CDT)

Mahn Family Funeral Home - Bodelson-Mahn Chapel
602 Plum St
Red Wing, MN, 55066

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