Don Kasak, 1935-2010, Scouter Extraordinary

June 24, 2010

From the Brookings Register:

Donald Glenn Kasak, 75, died Friday, June 4, 2010, at the Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls…

He was born on Jan. 11, 1935, in Sioux Falls, the son of Joseph G. and Mary M. (Griller) Kasak. Don received his education in Sioux Falls, and graduated from Washington High School in 1953. He attended the University of South Dakota for several years and then continued his education at the International Correspondence School in Scranton, Pa. Don was also employed as an inventory engineer for the Great Lakes Pipeline Company traveling between Doniphan, Neb., and Grand Forks, N.D. He was employed as a design/detail draftsman on the aircraft lofting tables in Minneapolis.

He then returned to Sioux Falls, where he was employed for Hugill, Batherwick, Fritzel and Kroeger (Architects and Engineers) as a mechanical / engineer draftsman until drafted into the United States Army. He married Ellen Rae (Kurtz) Thornbrew on Oct. 5, 1974, in Elkton. He was then employed at Banner Associates in Brookings until his retirement in February 1997. After his retirement he was employed as the manager of the Brookings Food Pantry.

He was a member of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in Brookings. Don was very proud of his military career, as it governed his lifestyle and personal discipline.

He was active in both the Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs. From 1950-1960, he served as a merit badge counselor in Fairbanks, Alaska. His list of major awards and positions held in scouting were many. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Sioux Council College of Commissioner Science, and completed his doctorate on the thesis of “Enhancing the Second Year Webelos Program”.

He also received the Commissioner Key, Roundtable Staff Awards and two District Committee Keys. On March 15, 2004, he received the James E. West Fellowship Award.

He was also very active in the American Legion and initiated the Brookings Ceremonial Drill Team, Double Knot Award, Civilian of the Year Award (through the military affairs division of the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce). He also served as the military commander for Military Funeral Rites and was also involved with Boys State.

Don enjoyed many hobbies including traveling, music, art, Native American culture, plays, concerts, movies, visiting with his many friends, Scouting, the military and the American Legion. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family.

Don is survived by his wife Ellen of Brookings; their children Carolyn (Kent) Halland of The Colony, Texas, Cathy (Kevin) Lynn of Elkton, Mary (Bob) Turner of Custer, Kenneth Kasak of Brookings and Donna (Daryl) Kahler of Brookings; “Adopted Daughters” Zoe Knutson and Kim Dixon of Sioux Falls; 15 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and one sister, Barbara Jean (Len) McLean of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.

He was preceded in death by his father-in-law and mother-in-law Kenneth and Ethel Kurtz.


May the great Scoutmaster of all Scouts be with you, Don, until we meet again.



3 Responses to “Don Kasak, 1935-2010, Scouter Extraordinary”

  1. Ken Kasak Says:

    I just found this….. Thank you for posting this. I smile every time I think about all the lives my Dad touched. Thank you.

    Ken Kasak

  2. JC Says:

    Don was one-of-a-kind. He never spoke down to the boys. He expected if they wanted to be Scouts that they deserved to be treated like men.

  3. Tyler Halvorson Says:

    I had the honor of serving on Don’s Ceremonial drill team. There are not many men that I have that kind of respect for. Thanks so much.


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