He was born June 1, 1921 in Milan, Minn. to Eddie and Pearl (Nordgren) Dalen. Don grew up in Milan where he attended grade school and graduated from Milan High School in 1939. After high school he enlisted in the National Guard and in August 1940 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served during World War II, active in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater. Don earned the Purple Heart, and The Bronze Star Medal for his service. He was honorably discharged in August 1945. After the military, Don would come to Cambridge where he worked at the grocery store that his parents opened. While in Cambridge he met Dorothy Ahrens.
On Dec. 24, 1946 Don and Dorothy were married at the Cambridge Lutheran Church. They made their home in Cambridge, raising two children. Don and Dorothy eventually took over the grocery business, Cambridge Food Store and operated for many years. In 1970 they sold the grocery store and Don went to work for the City of Cambridge, retiring after several years. In his retirement, Don volunteered as a school crossing guard for the Cambridge Schools; happily greeting all the children as they came to and left from school as well as waving to all the cars that drove by during his shift.
Don was a longtime member of Cambridge Lutheran Church, the Cambridge American Legion, and Isanti VFW. He served several years on the Legion Color Guard and was also past commander of Legion Post #290. He enjoyed dancing, hunting, fishing, playing cards, horseshoes, and traveling. He and Dorothy especially enjoyed their trips to Hawaii and Mexico.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandson Brent LeBlanc, and sister-in-law Helen Dalen. Don is survived by his wife Dorothy, daughter Lana Nyblom (Gary Kleven) of Lino Lakes, son Jim and wife Deb Dalen of Cambridge, six grandchildren Darwin Dalen, Jamie (Shannon) Dalen, Jeff (Taryn) Nyblom, Jason Nyblom (Jessica Treichel), Cary LeBlanc, Bradley (Nicole) Lenzen, eight great grandchildren Ashley Nyblom, Glenn, Tucker, and Oliver Dalen, Nicholas and Ryan Nyblom, Isabella and Kellen Lenzen, brother Pat Dalen of Cambridge, as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, January 5, 2013 at Cambridge Lutheran Church with Rev. David Everett officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Donn Fredlund, accompanied by Mary Kay O’Neill will sing “In The Garden” and “The Old Rugged Cross.” Honorary pallbearers will be Darwin Dalen, Jeff Nyblom, Jamie Dalen, Jason Nyblom, Bradley Lenzen, Cary LeBlanc, Glenn Dalen, Tucker Dalen, Oliver Dalen, Nicholas Nyblom, Ryan Nyblom, Ashley Nyblom, Isabella Lenzen, Kellen Lenzen and Kylie Olander. Flag presentation by the Cambridge American Legion. Interment will be at a later date at the Cambridge Lutheran Cemetery with Military Honors. Arrangements are with the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.