Don Dailey, 81, of Mitchell, SD, passed away Friday, August 28, 2020 at his home in Mitchell under the care of his family and loved ones. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 AM Friday, September 4, 2020 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchell. Burial will be at a later date in Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-7:00 PM Thursday at Holy Family Catholic Church with a 7:00 PM scripture service. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel. Memorials may be directed to: South Dakota Public Broadcasting, 555 N. Dakota St., Vermillion, SD 57069
Don was born June 30, 1939 in Farmville, VA, where he spent his early years with his parents, Donald Vincent Dailey and Mattie Leigh Glenn. He would then move to Winner, SD, where his grandpa operated a mortuary and furniture shop, paint and hardware store, and spring flower shop. They were called The Dailey Variety and The Dailey Paint Store.
Don originally started school at the University of South Dakota where he spent two years before applying to dental school at the University of Minnesota. He often explained his choice of attending dental school by saying, “There weren’t as many options back then, and it didn’t seem too bad.” After he was accepted, he earned his undergraduate degree as well as his DDS. Even more importantly, he met a Minneapolis nurse and love of his life, Mary Lou Holtkamp. In 1963 he graduated as a dentist at only 23 years old. Mary Lou and Don moved to Spearfish, SD for his first position, and the couple would be married shortly after in Rapid City by a classmate and friend, Father Vernon Rasche. Together they then moved to Tripp, SD where Don would start his first practice. This fulfilled one of his biggest goals since he had always praised the value of working for yourself. In 1967, Mary Lou and Don had their daughter Anne (Pat Feterl). Their son Doug (Jennifer Schmidt) followed in 1969, the week Apollo took off for the moon. The family took root in Mitchell, where Don purchased a dental practice and where their youngest son Matt was born in 1972 (Darci Dreyer). Over the years Don would grow Dailey Dental Inc., moving it into its current location, and develop hobbies such as stained-glass work, planting a well-manicured garden every year, framing pictures, and expanding his experience in business. He would go on to open The Framer, which was originally run out of the Oscar Howe Art Center. A strong supporter of the arts, Don had the honor of framing Oscar Howe’s Art Retrospective, which traveled the United States. He and Mary Lou also started Dailey Dental Designs, an innovative mail order dental card printing business. He spent several years on the City Council and became Mitchell’s Mayor in 1994, serving for one term. He would later open a Dailey Dental Inc. in Chamberlain and would welcome his son Matt into the dental practice. Don was a proud and wonderful grandfather to Kate Dailey (Anne), Max and Tate Dailey (Doug and Jennifer), and Jack, Maggie, and Mick Dailey (Matt and Darci). His sister Teresa Leigh (Monte) Dodson resides in Sioux Falls, SD.
Don was a true patriarch for his family. He lived his life very deliberately, and planned for success every step of the way. He exuded greatness in all walks of life, and facilitated greatness in his children and grandchildren alike. Don loved to give and enjoy time with others, and every conversation ran longer than anyone could anticipate, especially since he never ran low on Miller Lite. He brought life to every gathering, and was truly a consummate entertainer, preparing elaborate meals and playing his trademark music -- a big band and a beat he could whistle along with. Don was always the man with a plan as well; he knew how to handle every situation in stride, and he was nearly impossible to rattle. That being said, he might be the only person who could make his family belly laugh in the most serious of appointments, without even having to try. He had a sly wit that was so quick. Blink and you might miss it. Don took care of his family in every way he could, he will be dearly missed but never forgotten.