In memoriam, Donald J. McCready, 71
We are saddened to announce the untimely death, on 15 December 2010, of Donald J. McCready, 71, Dakota County manager on the District board.
After growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Don came to Minnesota in 1965. He worked for 10 years repairing helicopters — at home, in Apple Valley, and at Flying Cloud Airport (where he once sold board manager Ed Schlampp a copter). Then, in 1975, he went to work for Republic Airlines. He worked for Republic and then Northwest airlines for about 25 years as lead mechanic.
Don served on the board for about two years and was becoming an astute contributor. According to Ed Schlampp, Hennepin County manager, Don would study issues carefully before making a decision. He wasn’t an automatic yes vote on any issue. If he had questions, he would visit Ed at his house to discuss the issues.
Administrator Terry Schwalbe attests that Don “read and studied background information, asked pertinent questions and voted on issues based on facts and what was best for the environment, the constituents, and what he perceived as being fair to all.”
At the November 2010 board meeting Don told his colleagues he wasn’t feeling well. Just a month later he succumbed to what turned out to be Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Don left behind many mournful colleagues, friends, and family members. He was “honored to be part of the Watershed board,” according to daughter Denise Puppe, “and took his role seriously.” After he retired from Northwest, he looked for ways to give back to Burnsville,” Denise says, “the city he had made home for over 45 years. He loved the river and the city of Burnsville and tried to get involved now that he had the time. He regularly attended City Council meetings, bringing violations and concerns forward to the council’s attention and advocating for the citizens for improvements or enforcements violations.” One of his last enterprises was to advocate banning the sale of synthetic marijuana in the city of Burnsville.
In addition to his duties with the board, Don loved boating and spent many hours on the Minnesota River using the Jen’s Caspersen Landing at Cedar Avenue in Eagan, where he "launched many ventures onto the urban wilderness of the river he loved,” according to Terry Schwalbe.
With his wife Sarah he took many road trips both in the US and abroad, including England, Scotland, and Ireland. He would plan the trips carefully, she says, and explore the areas with gusto. Also, he missed no chance to attend progressive jazz concerts, like Dave Brubeck's.
Don leaves behind wife Sarah; children Denise Puppe, Darren McCready, and Douglas McCready; five grandchildren; and mother Marie McCready. He is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.