Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Mechanic loved his work; gave trusted advice


October 12, 2017

About forty friends gathered at Jones Point Cemetery Wednesday to pay last respects to Dave Dal Maso, who died suddenly on Sept. 30 of apparent heart failure, at his home near Yngve Olsson’s shop.

Dal Maso, a big man of few words, was a bus driver, mechanic, and manager for Chilkat Cruises and Tours; bartender at the Harbor Bar; and most recently, a service station attendant for Delta Western.

Delta Western’s Fred Gray said he was a “very, very” good mechanic. “Dave wouldn’t advise you unless you asked him. He never gave an off the cuff response, he gave you only the best advise-- thoughtful and correct.”

“Dave loved the work,” Tina Olsen, said about his years at Chilkat Cruises. “He enjoyed driving people around and picking them up.”

Dal Maso drove the high school cross-country running teams on several 800-mile bus trips across the Yukon and Alaska to the state championships. “When I first learned that was the plan, I thought, knowing Dave, ‘Oh no, I don’t think this is going to work.’ But he was great. I think he liked driving the kids and they liked him,” Olsen said.

“We’ve been friends 30 years,” Bob Herr said, sitting by the woodstove in the mechanic shop he and Dal Maso lived near and shared with their free-ranging black and white dwarf rabbit. Dal Maso’s older brother Dennis died last year, and he had no other close relatives, Herr said. He and other friends and employers related Dal Maso’s history as they understood it.

David Harry Dal Maso was born July 9, 1952 in Moses Lake WA, the second son of Juret Virginia (Baker) and Harry Dal Maso. He grew up in tiny Pateros, where his parents had a honeybee business and a service station. After high school, he moved to Ellensburg, and attended college. He worked there for D&M Motors as a mechanic and tow truck driver, and then drove freight trucks on the west coast. He started his own gas station and mechanic repair business, which he operated for years. He came to Haines in 2003 and worked as a driver and mechanic for the late Arne Olsson’s tour company before joining Chilkat Cruises.

Dal Maso liked to socialize at the Fogcutter Bar, and in the off-season, drive south with Herr and attend a few football and baseball games and sport fish on the Columbia River.

Yngve Olsson will miss Dal Maso, who repaired his gillnetter, heavy equipment, and even appliances. He said he was like an uncle to his children, and kept a shop rabbit (the current one is the third) in part, because it delighted them.


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