Amherst Magazine

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Alan Daus (1936 - 2000)

Alan Daus’ main legacy to family and friends is, perhaps, not his very considerable busi
ness success, but an unusual life plan that allowed him to take advantage of the active life the family all enjoyed – skiing, fly-fishing, hiking and a pioneering lifestyle – much earlier than the conventional “retirement years.”

Alan learned how to manage business from afar, specifically from Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he astonished friends by moving his family from Cleveland in the mid-1970s. They lived there for nearly five years, returning to Cleveland only to seek better schools for three growing children. Alan’s friend and business partner, Peter Garson ’59, says “Alan’s sabbatical, early in life, caused us to think about the quality of our own lives and what we were doing with them… I remember the beautiful, almost lyrical letter about the Dauses’ communion with nature, the outdoors and the glorious scenery of the Tetons.”

By 2000 Alan was a well-known real estate broker and investor in the Cleveland area. He and his wife, Ellen, of nearly forty years, had built a second home in Jackson Hole and planned to return there permanently as his real retirement loomed just ahead. Then, catastrophe struck.

Alan and Ellen died when their small plane crashed in a remote area of the Alaska peninsula, Aug. 23, 2000. The Dauses were on a fishing expedition and were returning to the lodge where they had been staying. The disaster shook their large circle in both Wyoming and Ohio. The Jackson Hole Music Festival dedicated two nights of performances to their memories. A permanent fund at the Holden Arboretum, near their Cleveland area home, was created. Mike Daus, Alan’s oldest son, notes that his parents died too soon, but “not before teaching their children the benefits” of their choice to live actively before retirement.

Alan Daus

Alan began his career in real estate in Cleveland directly after Amherst. He soon became the highest producing salesman in the Osdendorf Morris Company. He formed his own company in 1965, which he operated successfully for 30 years and invested in numerous profitable real estate ventures. Garson remembers Alan as “shrewd, but he was tenacious and above all intense…. That brought him success in virtually everything he tried.”

He became a leader in other areas. He was president of the Cleveland Ski Club (one of the country’s largest) and president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks. He also won several awards from the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

Alan and Ellen Daus
Alan and Ellen Daus, Summer 2000

 

 

Alan Daus, 8/23/2000

Alan R. Daus '58


Alan R. Daus lost his life in the crash of a small plane
on August 23, 2000. The Cessna 180 with four people
aboard crashed in a remote area of the Alaska
Peninsula. Alan's wife, Ellen Feldman Daus, died the
next day before the rescue party could reach the
nearest hospital, from injuries sustained during the
crash. The pilot was also killed. The Dauses were on a
fishing expedition and were returning to the lodge at
which they had been staying, after a day of fishing at
a nearby lake. Alan and Ellen would have been
married forty years in December.


At his death, Alan was a well-known real estate broker
and investor in the Cleveland area. His business
success had enabled him to build a second home in
Jackson Hole, WY, and the couple were in the process
of retiring and becoming residents of Wyoming. Skiing
and fly-fishing were among their favorite recreational
pastimes, and Jackson Hole was a center for both of
these activities.


Alan began his career in real estate working for the
Ostendorf Morris Company in Cleveland directly out of
college. Armed with an Amherst education and a
shrewd financial mind, he moved from the appraisal
department of Ostendorf Morris to the industrial sales
department, where he eventually became the highest
producing salesman in the company. In 1965, he left to
form his own company, Alan R. Daus and Associates,
which he operated for thirty years, before selling the
successful business to his employees. Along the way,
Alan invested in numerous real estate ventures, all of
which became profitable under his guidance. One such
venture, Property Associates, Ltd., which he formed in
1963 with me and another partner, eventually grew to
own thirty million dollars worth of commercial real
estate and at one time had over three hundred limited
partners. In recent years, Alan and I had worked to
buy out other partners and increase our ownership
percentage in the company. Along with our co-partner,
Bernard Goodman, we were partners for thirty-seven
years and the three of us were fond of saying that
during the entire time we had never had an argument.
Alan and Ellen's deaths were a catastrophic loss to
their family and friends. They were so full of life and
adventure that it still seems hardly possible that they
are gone.


Alan was shrewd, but he was also tenacious and most
of all intense. That combination of character traits
brought him success in virtually everything he tried.
Not only was he a high-profile and successful real
estate investor, he gathered around him a group of co-
investors who joined him in nearly every deal he put
together. He became a leader in other areas as well.
Early in his career, he was president of the Cleveland
Ski Club, one of the largest ski clubs in the country. He
also served as president of the Cleveland chapter of
the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks.
He became an early member of the Society of
Industrial Realtors and was an influence in the
Cleveland chapter for many years. He won several
awards from that organization which is now known as
the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR).


In the mid-1970's, Alan astonished his friends and
associates by taking his children out of school and
moving his family from Cleveland to Jackson Hole.
They lived there for the better part of five years,
returning to the Cleveland area only when it became
necessary to seek a larger and better-equipped school
system for his three growing children. Alan's
sabbatical, early in life, caused us to think about the
quality of our own lives and what we were doing with
them. None of us, however, were able to do what he
had done. I remember during the time they lived in
Wyoming, the beautiful, almost lyrical letters we
received about the Dauses' communion with nature,
the things they were doing to enjoy the outdoors, and
the glorious scenery of the Tetons. When the Dauses
did return to Cleveland, they settled in a rural area,
about thirty miles east of the city where they
eventually built their dream home. They liked the
home so much that the home they later built in
Jackson Hole had many of the same features. They
delighted in entertaining their friends and visitors in
their great room overlooking a wooded ravine and
hundreds of adjacent acres filled with wildlife and
interesting specimen trees.


Among their activities, the Holden Arboretum, a nature
preserve near their home, became a major recipient of
their generosity and efforts. A permanent memorial to
Alan and Ellen at the Holden Arboretum is being
planned.


In addition to the Holden Arboretum, the Dauses were
generous supporters of many organizations and
remained active in community affairs to the end. The
Jackson Hole Music Festival, held early in September,
dedicated two nights of performances to their
memories. Various other organizations in Jackson Hole
and Cleveland will miss their steadfast support.


As an adult, Alan became a good athlete through hard
work. In his typical fashion, he took up tennis and
skiing by reading everything he could get, taking as
much instruction as he could find, and practicing what
he was learning with the typical intensity with which
he approached everything. The result was a
surprisingly good skier with great endurance and a
tennis player who loved to challenge better players as
a way of achieving improvement in his own game. I
was happy to be his occasional opponent and I must
admit that in recent years I was only once in a while
able to come away with a win.


The Dauses are survived by their three children-
Michael of Jackson Hole, James of Denver, and Caryn
Daus Flanagan of Granby, CO, and two beautiful
grandchildren. Ellen's parents, Marjorie and Arthur
Feldman of Lyndhurst, OH, also survive, as well as
Alan's brother and sister and Ellen's brother.


Alan's death and that of his wife are particularly sad
for us because we were well aware of the wonderful
life they had constructed for themselves and how
carefully they had planned for their retirement, which
was just beginning. They looked forward to months of
skiing, hiking, and fishing, and continuing travel, which
they both loved. Their vision, energy, and the lifestyle
they aspired to and had attained were something
worth envying. The fact that they packed every day
with adventure, challenge, and more activities than
most of us do in a week, just added to the quality of
their lives.


Alan will be sorely missed by a wide circle of friends,
business associates, and admirers. I find writing this a
sad postscript to a life so well lived.


-Peter K. Garson '59

 

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