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Franklin Dahn

Franklin Dahn is shown working with two sixth grade students in Lake Mills in 2004, shortly before he retired

LAKE MILLS | Franklin Dahn is being remembered as a man who loved kids, loved music and loved life.

"He was someone you could always talk to about anything," said Bernie Bjorklund, retired Nora Springs-Rock Falls band director and director of the New Horizons band. "He was good at everything he did.

"He was an excellent musician and teacher, of course," Bjorklund said. "But he was also an excellent cook, baker, cyclist and canoeist."

Bjorklund said there is tragic irony in how Dahn died.

"He was an excellent bicyclist, always concerned about safety," Bjorklund said. "He was riding with his daughter just north of Iowa City when an animal crossed the road.

"He hit it and went over the handlebars and died. It was a fluke accident," Bjorklund said.

He said he and Dahn had many things in common and went on many trips together over the past 30 years. 

"We both started teaching in 1968; we both retired in 2004," Bjorklund said. "We both played baritone horns and sat next to each other in bands we played in.

"We were bicycling buddies who went on trips together for 25 years beginning in 1990," Bjorklund said.

In 2005, Dahn and Bjorklund were honored, along with Dan Djuren of Clear Lake, as North Iowa Band Festival Bandmaster Award winners.

Bjorklund said Dahn had planted a cherry tree and recently started enjoying its results. On Monday, four days before he died, he provided Bjorklund with a piece of cherry pie, a fond memory for him to cherish.

Bjorklund said adding to the tragedy of Dahn's death is that both of his daughters are to be married this summer.

"Everyone in life should have one best friend. I had mine," said Bjorlund. "And now he's gone."

Scott Bell, North Iowa musician and instrument repairman, said Dahn was soft-spoken and kind. "He was someone who it was easy to take a liking to," Bell said.

"He loved music and loved kids," Bell said. "After he retired, he went back and taught part-time for a while. What does that tell you about him?"

Dahn's memorial service will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at the Lake Mills Community Schools gymnasium. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the same location.

In a 2004 Globe Gazette story shortly after he retired, Dahn was asked what he loved most about teaching.

"Seeing the kids progress through the years," he said. "It's fun to see how they've grown."

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