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Don Sandau Dies

Donald W. Sandau died in Salem, Oregon on June 1, 2004 after suffering a stroke on May 28. He was 79 years, 10 months and 25 days old.

He is survived by his wife Mina Lee, and children Daniel (50), Stephen (51), James (55) and Lisa (61).

Mr. Sandau was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 5, 1924. He attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois for a year after graduating from high school in 1942. He joined the U.S. Navy after leaving Bradley, and spent 18 months at Pensacola, Florida training as an aviator. He was commissioned as an ensign in February, 1945 and stationed at the naval air base in Whidbey Island, Washington. He was discharged in late 1945.

He met Mina Lee Spranger in 1946, and they were married on June 12, 1949 in Salem, Oregon. The couple moved to St. Louis, where Mr. Sandau worked as a bricklayer. In 1951, he and a partner started ADAK Excavating, digging basements and foundation construction.

The family moved to Salem, Oregon in 1965, where they set up Sandau Farms, Inc. In 1977, he began Sandau Dredging, Inc., contracting in navigation channels and harbors from California to Alaska with the 16-inch cutterhead dredge Marathon.

In 1993, he volunteered to work with the Lutheran Church Missoui synod Wold Mission organization to help native people in Papua, New Guinea. At a remote mountain village in that country, he oversaw the building of a small airstrip, working with the Hewah tribe and other surrounding tribes. All equipment had to be packed in by animals, including a small bulldozer that was re-assembled on site. After four months of digging, blasting and clearing the land, the airstrip was finished.
He retired from the dredging business in 1993, selling the dredge and other equipment. In his retirement, he continued running his farm, and pursued his hobbies of hinting, fishing and crabbing, and also his lifeong involvement in the Lutheran Church.

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