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John Robert (Bob) Dann | Passages

Bob Dann was a retired chemist, an ethnic-dance instructor, and author of six novels, among them
Bob Dann was a retired chemist, an ethnic-dance instructor, and author of six novels, among them 'The Good Neighbors.'
— image credit: Bruce Conway / Illumina Publishing

Bob Dann of Friday Harbor, a retired chemist who taught ethnic dance and wrote six novels, has died.

Mr. Dann was 87. Funeral is at noon on May 8 at St. David's Church, followed by a brief reception and then interment at Valley Cemetery.

Here is the obituary submitted by his family:

John Robert (Bob) Dann
Bob was born in Minneapolis on Sept. 6, 1921 to Ernest Osborne Dann and Edith Marie (Hoyer) Dann, descendants of English and Swedish pioneers who settled on land near Beresford, Dakota Territory in the middle 1800s.

Bob is survived by Barbara, beloved wife of 65 years, and their children and families: son John, his wife Roxana, and three children Hanan, Jessica and Ariana; daughter Janet and her husband Tsolo; and daughter Cathy, her husband Michael and her son Eamon.

Bob grew up on the family farm in South Dakota and rode horse back to the one-room schoolhouse built by his Swedish grandfather. He graduated from Beresford High School in 1939 and the University of South Dakota in 1943, majoring in chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. He worked for a short while in the laboratories of the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, N.Y. where he met his future wife, Barbara Edith Stanford. They were married on Dec. 26, 1943, and shortly thereafter Bob joined the Navy, serving as a naval officer until the end of World War II.

After the war, Bob obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Colorado and then returned to the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories where he achieved the post of senior research associate. He earned 33 patents and published 70 scientific papers.

One of the highlights of his career was the synthesis of the first crown ether, a type of macrocylic crystal. He was a member of the American Chemical Society and is listed in “American Men and Women of Science.” His honorary degrees were Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Lamda Upsilon and Sigma Xi.

He retired from Eastman Kodak in 1980, and with Barbara moved to San Juan Island, Wash. Bob and Barbara’s first date in 1943 was a dance, and they continued to dance and teach ethnic dances of the world for the next 60 years. Bob also continued his interest in creative writing, having by now published six novels: “The Good Neighbors” (1995); “Song of the Axe” (2001); “Song of the Earth” (2005); “Song of the Gods” (2009); “S.C.R.A.M. (2009) and “Storm in August” (2009).

Two unfinished novels are in the process of being finished by his daughters.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor (P.O. Box 1355, Friday Harbor 98250) or Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (284 Boyce Road, Friday Harbor 98250).

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