Wayne Dankert, 68, Waseca

Published 10:32 am Friday, June 7, 2013

Wayne Dankert, 68, of Waseca, Minn., died on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, while living in New York City.

Wayne Dankert

Wayne Dankert

Born on April 11, 1945, in Austin, Minn., he was the son of John and Beatrice (Novotny) Dankert. He graduated in 1963 from Austin Pacelli High School. After receiving a journalism and advertising degree from Michigan State University, Wayne joined the Army Reserves based in Rochester, Minn., and served as an MP.

He was hired by Oather Trodahl in Waseca, who was taking the local newspaper, the Waseca Daily Journal, to daily publication. After selling advertising for the Waseca newspaper, he was hired by Target Corporation and moved to Minneapolis. He was ultimately hired by Robert Mishek to write advertising for his stable of direct mail business to business catalogs. While with the Mishek organization, he developed the Walters Cookbook business that grew to include publishing school yearbooks. The company eventually changed its name to Walters Publishing. Walters Publishing became the pioneer in publishing full-color year books for the elementary and middle school market served by independent school photographers. In 1979 Dankert purchased the Student Letter Exchange, a Pen Pal program he turned into a business operating in 183 countries of the world, as well as becoming an NGO at the United Nations.

Email newsletter signup

On July 18, 1970, he married Mary Mishek at Sacred Heart Church in Waseca. They returned to live in Waseca later that year. While Dankert spent a lifetime as a publisher he always considered his main life’s work to be a father to his daughters, Sarah and Nicole. He always said the addition of his sons-in-law (Cory Kim-Tomcek and David Hsu) to be the blessing that was the “icing on his cake.”

Dankert was an active member of the Waseca community. He was an original member of the Diversity Committee for the Waseca School System, spent considerable time raising funds to support the Waseca High School Marching Band program, and was active with the Waseca Girl Scouts, past president of Waseca Rotary, member of the Waseca Seratoma Club, member of the Waseca Chamber of Commerce, a member of the CORE Team as Sacred Heart Parish, and a 40-plus year member of the Lakeside Country Club. He was also a member of the West Bay Country Club in Estero, Fla., as well as the Bonita Springs Bridge Club and the Ft. Myers Bridge Club. During his business career he was a member and officer of many national and international business associations.

Dankert is survived by his wife of 43 years, Mary; daughters, Sarah Kim-Tomcek and her husband, Cory of Hoboken, N.J., and Nicole Hsu and her husband, David, of New York City; one brother, Larry of Faribault; brother-in-law, Walter Mishek of Waseca; sister-in-law, Susan Gehring and her husband Curt of Ellendale, Minn.; a niece; two nephews; and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Allen.

Visitation will be held at Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services in Waseca on Sunday, June 9, 2013, from 4 to 7 p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. prayer service. Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, June 10, 2013, at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Waseca with the Rev. Paul Nelson officiating. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Waseca.