Daniel Millay MacEachen
Dan will be remembered as a “man of few words”; as “Mr. Krabloonik”; as a man of great faith and integrity; but most importantly as Dad, Grandpa, Brother, and Friend.
Dan was born in Columbus, Ohio. He then lived in Tonawanda, NY, where he developed a love of skating, and where he left behind his front teeth playing ice hockey with a minor league team. His family then moved to North Olmstead, Ohio, and finally to Haddonfield, NJ, where he graduated high school. He attended Paul Smith College in Lake Placid where he continued to skate and ski, and after graduating with a degree in Forestry, in 1969 he migrated to Aspen where he could continue his love of the outdoors.
His first job was in Aspen at Guido’s as a bus boy and dishwasher — but after answering an ad for a kennel boy at the famed TOKLAT Dog Sledding operation, his career path changed. Under the tutoring of Stuart Mace, Dan developed a life-long love for dogsledding and wood working. In 1974 Stuart transferred ownership of 55 sled dogs to Dan who then moved the operation to Snowmass Village, CO.
For the first few years Dan and his dogs lived in a tent before he relocated a log cabin on to the property and named it KRABLOONIK. It was named for the first lead dog he bred which means “big eyebrows” which is the Eskimo term for “white man”. With the help and donations of family and friends over many years KRABLOONIK RESTAURANT and DOGSLEDDING was in business! The KRABLOONIK Restaurant and Dog Sledding Operation has appeared in media throughout the world. Dan has been featured in Wide World of Sports, Sports Illustrated, TV commercials, movies, print ads, and numerous magazines and newspapers. KRABLOONINK attracts countless celebrities including two former U.S. Presidents.
One of his most beloved and famous visitors was Lucille Ball who “donated” a bathroom and all of the fixtures, after her initial visit and usage of the existing “Brown Palace”!
Over the years many in the family worked closely with Dan in developing the business. Janet helped launch the restaurant and the famous dessert, Swedish Cream. Jerry drove sleds and gave tours of the kennel in the summer-both to keep the dogs active, and to increase revenue and interest in the operation. He was known to “lead” the tour as the “lead dog” in the hierarchy of the family! Jimmy worked on plumbing and construction; Ralph was a chef in the restaurant; and Bryna was the hostess in the restaurant and coordinated the dog sled guests. For the last few years all of the siblings and their families participated in the KRABLOONIK CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR – the kick off to the Christmas holiday season. Dan loved it all!
Dan’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving when he served as The host for dinner at KRABLOONIK Restaurant for his dearest friends and family -and their families — who like Dan — had made Snowmass their home.
Dan competed in the IDITAROD Dog Sled race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, seven times. He also participated in the Rocky Mountain Stage Stop Race in Wyoming, as well as many other local dog sled races. His entire life revolved around the dogs. He fondly referred to his life at KRABLOONIK as a “labor of love”. The dogs were his passion, the focus of daily life. He was happiest driving a handmade sled through the wilderness around Ziegler Lake and the Perry Ranch. He never carried a radio while on the trails, or owned a cell phone — and was proud of it! — until Bryna gave him one for his birthday last year. He never gave his number to anyone, but she was happier knowing he had it.
One of Dan’s major achievements was mentoring a young gal named Rachael Scdoris. Rachael is legally blind. As a youngster, Rachael dreamed of racing the Iditarod. At the age of 15, she drove a sled in the Rocky Mountain Stage Stop Race using a combined team of dogs trained by Dan and Rachael. Dan rode in a snowmobile in front of Rachael as her visual interpreter using radio communications. Rachael continued to train and after six years of rejection from the Iditarod Trail Committee, Dan once again presented her credentials to them and Rachael was invited to participate in the 2005 “Last Great Race on Earth”.
Dan opened KRABLOONIK North on Paw Print Lane in Two Rivers, Alaska in 1989. He bred, trained and raced dogs himself and supplied teams to other mushers throughout the country.
Dan’s other business venture was The Maroon Bells Lodge and Outfitters at the T-Lazy 7 Ranch. This was “where the road ends and the trail begins.” Guided horseback tours offered early morning breakfast rides and lunch rides. Riding under a canopy of aspen trees with spectacular views of Pyramid Peak was one of the most amazing adventures that Dan enjoyed during the summer months.
Dan was supportive of many local organizations including the Aspen School for the Deaf; Challenge Aspen; the Aspen Buddy program; and the Silver Lining Ranch. He was also a mentor to several students from local high schools.
Dan is survived by his greatest love of all, his daughter, Bryna MacEachen- Ochoa, and her husband, Rafa Ochoa, and 2 grandchildren, Blaine and Amelia, as well as 6 younger siblings including:
Janet MacEachen and husband, Tom Jagelka, of Wilton, CT;
Mary Lou and Joseph Wasco of Schwenksville, PA;
Susan and Bill Coan, and son, Austin, of McDonough, GA;
Jimmy and Yvette MacEachen of Carbondale, and sons, Jason, and wife, Meg, and daughter, Molly, and son, Lake; Jerome MacEachen of Snowmass Village;
Ralph and Kak MacEachen of Norwalk, CT, and son Cory, and wife, Mary, and son Kevin; as well as his Aunt Rita MacEachen of Cincinnati, Ohio; and numerous cousins and dear friends.
Mass for Dan will be held at St. Mary of the Crown Catholic Church, 395 White Hill Road Carbondale, CO on Friday, March 4, 2016 at 10 am. A celebration of Dan’s life is also being planned for the summer.
Donations may be made to:
The Alzheimer’s Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, Daniel M. MacEachen, 399 Market Street, Suite 102, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Daniel M. MacEachen,
3090 North 12th Street, Grand Hope West, Hospice Care Center; Junction, CO 81506
St. Benedict’s Monastery,
Daniel M. MacEachen,
1012 Monastery Road, Snowmass, CO 81654
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