Donald Charles Dahlgren

February 16, 1936December 16, 2018

Donald Charles Dahlgren passed away peacefully on December 16, 2018, at the age of 82 surrounded by his family, sporting his favorite beret and signature bow tie, with Ella and Louis playing in the background.

Don remained active and vital, dying from complications following cardiac arrest while playing tennis. Rumor has it he was ahead.

Don was born in Seattle on February 16, 1936, to Charles H. Dahlgren and Mary Vivolo Dahlgren and attended grade school at Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Mount Baker. He enjoyed all of the benefits of a close-knit family with ties to both the Swedish and Italian communities, including large Sunday night dinners hosted by his Italian grandfather, Giuseppe, who fostered his lifelong love of food and wine. Don had a natural talent in the kitchen, carrying on favorite family traditions from holiday Glogg to his mother’s famous meat sauce and his grandchildren’s best-loved Swedish pancakes for which “Oompah” could always enlist eager helpers. Don, like his father who emigrated from Sweden in 1918, was a lifelong member of the Swedish Club and the Italian Benevolent Society. He later enjoyed the social and intellectual aspects of many other groups.

Don graduated from Franklin High School, developing many lasting friendships and his passion for jazz. He attended the University of Washington where he joined the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, served as President of the Bachelor’s Club (singing his way across campus), and met his loving wife, Julia Henke Dahlgren. He was a proud and loyal supporter. After marrying Julie, Don received his JD from the UW Law School and completed specialty training in taxation at NYU, his professional area of expertise.

In 1961, Don started a highly successful law career, ultimately retiring from Dahlgren & Dauenhauer in 2001. Notably, Don spoke before the American Bar Association to create tax equality for professionals, was a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and Chair of the Estate and Gift Tax Committee of the Washington State Bar Association. He co-founded and directed the Small Business Council of America and The Group, a national organization focused on tax matters. Through his strong and dedicated leadership these organizations thrived, a highlight of his legal career. Don was known professionally for his extraordinary competence, integrity, client dedication, judgment, meticulous attention to detail, and above all, his kind nature. After retirement, he worked downtown daily, managing the legacy of his father’s hard work, family real estate investments.

Don and Julie were married for 32 years before Julie’s premature death from cancer. Together they enjoyed many travels, as well as the joy and challenges of raising their three children, Charles, Linda, and Barbara. Don enjoyed spending time with the family at their summer home on Whidbey Island where he taught his kids and grandkids to water ski, dig for cockles, and set the crab trap. Summer boating and camping trips in the Reinell to the San Juan Islands and early morning post-Christmas road trips to Sun Valley, Idaho with the family’s Golden Retrievers will be fondly remembered. Throughout his life, he collected an encyclopedic knowledge and love of wine, jazz and Northwest Coast Indian art, including a 10-foot-tall totem pole gracing his living room. Don was fortunate to share the last 26 years of his life with his wonderful partner, Mary Turner. Together, they traveled to 39 countries, including trips to his roots in Vallsta, Sweden and Acherno, Italy. Most recently, Don and Mary enjoyed a trip to Tuscany where Don drove an Alfa Romeo and honed his photography skills. Throughout his life Don was grateful to have his family to share his interests, enjoying skiing in the winter (always trying to perfect his turns), Husky football games, the first bloom of wildflowers, naps on the porch (enhancing his enviable tan), jazz festivals, chamber music, opera, walks on the beach (waiting for the whales to pass), and simply watching the clouds roll by with a vodka tonic in hand.

Don’s zest for life drew friends to him. Their expressions of love and support are greatly appreciated and will be treasured. He greeted all with a warm smile, taking the time to get to know everyone who crossed his path, making each feel a part of his circle. Known as a gentle man, with a gracious and caring manner, Don had a steadfast devotion to his family and friends. He was genuine, soft-spoken and always the consummate gentleman, with a dashing style. He had a long life, fully lived, fully loved, and he will be deeply missed.

Don is survived by his three children, Charles, Linda, and Barbara Dahlgren, son-in-law Lance Trebesch, three grandchildren, Beck, Laken, and Inga Trebesch, his partner Mary Turner and her family, his niece Sandra, nephew Matthew, Swedish cousins and their families, and many dear friends. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Mary and Charles, his wife Julie, and his sister, Marie.

A celebration of Donald’s life will be held later this spring. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations in Don’s memory to one of the following: The Burke Museum, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation, or KCTS 9 Public Television.


Donald Charles Dahlgren

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January 5, 2019

We first met over forty years ago as members of the Pago Pago Gourmand Society. We remained acquaintances, and finally spent ten or so years together involved in real estate. You were always dependably and genuinely thoughtful, a trait to be admired and appreciated. My condolences to your family and to Mary.

Orv snd Mary Lou Strandoo

January 5, 2019

We wish to express our sorrow to each one of you, Linda, Charlie, and Barbara and Family and Dear Mary. Our Memories with Don , Julie and Mary have remained with us as highlights in our lives and Dons individuality blessed us and will will always be treasured! Much Love Orv and Mary Lou ❤️