Dan Minnick, Former Rice County Commissioner and owner of Minnick's Food Market on 7th Street NW in Faribault passed away Friday at Benedictine Living Community of Owatonna following an extended illness.  He was 81 years of age.

I live just a few houses west of the former Minnick's store so I got to know Dan and his wife Betty pretty well.  Fantastic people with big hearts.

Minnick's is across the street from Lincoln Elementary School so scores of kids who went to school there stopped into the store for a treat over the years.

In fact more than once when I was in the store visiting with him a kid would not have the correct change for some candy or something and he'd tell them to take the item anyway.

Dan was known for his delicious Kolacky and bun baking.  Every holiday I went home from 1987 until the store closed in 2006 I would bring Minnick's buns to Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, they were always met with rave reviews.  So soft and delicious.

Dan was a Rice County Commissioner from 1974 to 1986 and from 1994 to 2004.

When I mentioned an interest in being a commissioner Dan told me he would help with the election but of course the campaign never happened.

Over the years we talked about a lot of things. What I admired most about Dan was his honesty.  He would never pull any punches about how he felt about any issue facing Rice County.  You always knew where Dan stood on a topic.

No telling one side of an issue they were right and the other side they were right depending on the audience. A straight talker.

He attended Bethlehem Academy and was proud of the sports teams he played on.  I believe he was a member of a Catholic Schools State Champion baseball sqaud from Bethlehem Academy.

He graduated in 1959.  Dan also enjoyed bowling and played church league and other  softball for many years.

I seem to recall him saying he played second base on that state championship Cardinals team.

I know he loved to golf and enjoyed a very good friendship with former Minnesota Twins player Bob Allison and former player and manager Frank Quillici.  Playing many times at the Bruce Smith Golf outing with those guys and other times also.

Dan and Betty were married at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Faribault in 1962.

They had two daughters, Pam and Gail and a son Greg. Blessed with six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

He was very active at Divine Mercy Catholic Church as noted in his obituary from Parker Kohl Funeral Home and Crematory.

I spoke with his daughter a few weeks back at the Farmer's Market in Central Park and at that time I thought she said he was at St. Lucas and I should go visit him.  I said I would and probably should have done it that day after purchasing my items from the market because I never got there.

I regret not taking the opportunity to tell Dan how much he and Betty have meant to me during some tough times I experienced in the past.  Never judgmental, simply lending an ear and reminding me God loves me more than I can even comprehend.

I hope to see Dan Minnick in Heaven someday.  I wonder if he's baking those buns for the Angels.

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