Age 86, of North Oaks
Passed away peacefully on December 18 at home surrounded by family.
Don was born on April 11, 1934 in St. Paul to James and Jeannette Craighead. He grew up in St. Paul and graduated with distinction from Monroe High School in 1952. He attended the University of Minnesota graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1957. Don then went to work at Baldwin Supply. In 1961 Don and his father launched Craighead & Associates – selling power transmission products and photoelectric switches. In 1964 they founded Power/mation, an automation hardware business, working together for a total of 30 years. Don won the St. Paul Chamber Small Businessman of the Year in 1984, the same year he was selected as a WCCO Good Neighbor. Under Don's leadership Power/mation expanded with branches across the midwest before he decided to sell the business to four of his salesmen in 1990. They gave him a blaze orange sportscoat as a gag gift but Don loved it and wore it often! After selling the business he started the giveback phase of his life. He discovered his true passions in life were networking and mentoring – he loved helping young people. He was known for handing out FUN METERS and Golden Attitude pins, his license plate read ATTI2DE. His business card collection was enormous. A partial list of the organizations he supported include Rotary, University of St. Thomas, University of Minnesota, Optimists, Hennepin Tech, Manufacturers Alliance, Junior Achievement, STEM, St. Paul Prayer Breakfast, National Youth Leadership Council and The Works Museum. The list of awards he received is long, most recently the first recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Robotics Alley and the Hill Legacy Award from Century College. Don was Prince of the West Wind in the 1989 St. Paul Winter Carnival – and in 2004 he and Sandy were the recipients of the Sal & Francesca LoBaido Volunteer Service Award. Don loved his family – he married Sandy in 1966 and they raised four children. They moved from St. Paul to North Oaks in 1972. Don was a man of faith and was very active at White Bear Lake United Methodist Church. Playing cribbage, Sudoku puzzles and walking the boxer dogs he owned were among his favorite pastimes. Family vacations were treasured by all – including a 50th Wedding Anniversary trip to Mexico.
Preceded in death by son, Jim.
Don is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sandy; sister, Sharon (Lee) Slinger; his children, Janine (Tom) Olmscheid, Dan (Cindy), and Wendy (Mark) Sherman; grandchildren, Peter, AJ, Ben, Sarah, Matthew and Madeline. Private family services with livestream on January 2, will be viewable on this obituary page. A public celebration of life to be held at a later date. Memorials preferred to donor’s choice.
Livestream will begin at 10am on January 2nd, 2021:
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