James E. Daust

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On December 8th we lost a very valiant and strong leader, who not only led with courage, but great passion. James Earl Daust was the most loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, friend, and colleague anyone could ever ask for. He was an influential man who always put family first, who had a great sense of humor and an even greater sense of unconditional love. He was respected with great honor and had integrity as a leader in the community and as a civil servant.

Jim was a driven man who put 100% into everything he did. He always went above and beyond what was asked of him personally and professionally.

After graduating L’Anse High School, he went into the National Guard. He attended Northern Michigan University, receiving a BS (Summa Cum Laude) in Criminal Justice and Sociology and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He received his Master Degree in Administration from Central Michigan University. He obtained several training certificates from executive development, criminal prevention and investigation programs.

Lt. Colonel Daust began his career in law enforcement in July 1963 as Trooper of the Bay City Post. He was promoted through the ranks of the Michigan State Police from Trooper to Lieutenant Colonel, Deputy Director of the Michigan State Police and commander of the Investigative Services Bureau.

After retirement, he worked as the first Project Director for the Michigan Truck Safety Commission where he developed the Michigan Center for Decision Driving, traveling educational programs and a variety of truck drivers safety initiatives.

He went on to become the Project Director for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the US Department of Energy’s Cooperative Agreement setting standards and training state inspectors involved in the inspection of motor carriers transporting radioactive materials.

As a devout Catholic, he was actively involved with the Knights of Columbus achieving fourth degree ranking. Some other notable achievements include Trooper of the Year (1969); first recipient of the CVSA H. David Howard Memorial Award for making a significant impact on commercial vehicle safety (1990); and, commencement speaker for the 1991 L’Anse High School graduating class. He also was appointed to several organizational leadership positions.

One of his passions was building/carpentry work. He used his skills and talents to build or rehab several of his family homes. He studied for and obtained his builders license and built the home where he and his wife reside.

He is survived by the love of his life, Karen; his four children, Mary McDaniel (Mark), Tim (Theresa), Michael (Lisa), Kathleen Faron (Jason); and his grandchildren; Kelly (Tomas), Jennifer (Todd), Michael, Victoria, Matthew, Max, Nathan, Olivia, Adam, Caylen; and two great grandchildren, Madelyn and Logan; brother, Pat Daust and sister Margaret McDonald. He is preceded in death by his mother, Mildred Daust, father John Earl Daust, brother Perry Daust, and sister Lois Tembreull.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Gaylord on Friday, December 14 at 11 AM with viewing at the church at 10 AM until the time of the service.

Jim was instrumental in the development of the Otsego County Community Center. In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to the Jim Daust Memorial Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation, supporting the Community Center and St. Mary Cathedral Schools. Checks made payable to the OCF-Jim Daust Memorial Fund (PO Box 344, Gaylord, MI 49734) or https://www.otsegofoundation.org/donors/give-now.

23 comments on “James E. Daust”

  1. I first met Jim in 1994 when he was with CVSA and I was with the State of Ohio. I took his new “Enhanced North American Standard Inspection for Radioactive Materials” class. Several years later Jim asked me to join his team of National Instructors to teach his class. Over the years we became friends and Jim became a mentor of mine. He will truly be missed. Karen and family, God bless.

    Carlisle Smith

  2. Martin W. Gilmore

    Marty Gilmore, I first met Jimmy when he was an Officer at the Gaylord Post and then Later when Jimmy became Post Commander at Gaylord. Jimmy and Karn Became very good friends of my Mom and Dad – Maude and Wayne Gilmore. I next encountered Jimmy when I was called by Colonel Hoagt, then Commander of the Michigan Department of State Police. My responsibility then included oversight of the transfer of the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Program from the State Public Service Commission, (PSC), to the Department of State Police. State Police was to appoint a new Capitan to manage the transfer from the PSC. The Colonel asked me if I could come over to the State Police Headquarters then right off the campus of Michigan State University as he had their candidate that he wanted to promote. He did not tell me who this person was, so when I walked into the Colonel’s office, there stood Jimmy Daust – the new Capitan, the Director of the Commercial Enforcement Division of the Department. Jimmy was a fantastic person for that job. He had great ideas, strong management capabilities and a true love of the people of the State of Michigan. Jimmy and I went out to get a sandwich after the meeting and talk about the new assignment. It would take almost 9 months for the transfer to take place due to Michigan Law. Jimmy told me that his biggest problems surrounded his family that did not want to relocate to Lansing. He told me that e needed to get a room or small apartment to rent until at least September when he could bring his family down permanently. Well. a had a big house, 3 very young little boys, (and one 12 year old), plus I had a furnished basement with a large Guest Bedroom and a full bath. I offered it to Jimmy rent free in trade for some occasional babysitting and having the Blue State Police car in my driveway almost every night. Jimmy was a truly GREAT man, a GREAT Family Man, A true Man of God! and a great servant to the people of the State of Michigan and to the entire Country through his leadership in Motor Transportation Safety Nationally. He will be missed! God Bless you Colonel Daust, my friend Jimmy.

    Marty Gilmore

  3. Martin W. Gilmore

    Colonel James, (Jimmy) Daust was a Great friend to the Gilmore family where he and Karn spent many hours conversing with my Dad and Mother, Maude and Wayne Gilmore. To me and my immediate Family, Jimmy was a really good friend, an important worker within my career and a man that actually lived with us for a number of months while he was getting set up to transfer his family to the Lansing area. He worked for and with me on a major special project and I can say that he was a very good employee and an even better project partner. Colonel Daust leaves a legacy of great service to the people of the State of Michigan through his long and illustrious career at the Michigan Department of the State Police, to the people of this entire country through his leadership on a national basis in the field of Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety and to his friends and family for his true devotion to them and the Catholic Church.

    His loss to us is his gain to our Lord!

    Marty Gilmore

  4. MeLissa (Head) Olson

    Karen and family – My sincere condolences for your loss. My dad was a trooper working under your husband/dad when he retired. I was lucky enough to become more familiar with him as I worked in the community and he was a wonderful gentleman.

  5. Daust family,

    My heart felt prayers are with you at your time of loss. I first met Jim when he was assigned to the Gaylord post and has been a great friend ever since. He was respected by all the people in Otsego county young and old alike. He had a knack for helping and caring for the young people, always ready to listen and knew most of us by name all the way to adult hood. It was always a pleasure to see him after retirement and have conversation. Rest in peace my friend, they haven’t created many troopers like you now days!

    Vince LaRosa

  6. I am a much better person today for knowing Jim as a great friend and him being a mentor to me in my professional life at CVSA .I will miss him and look forward in having a evening drink with him in heaven some day. God Bless Karen and Family.

    A friend forever !!

    Larry Stern

  7. Karen, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Jim was a wonderful secret spirit , that, from afar gave me assurety, a sense of knowing my loss with Tom and a great connection of our Catholic faith. I am sure you are very proud and blessed to be Jim’s wife and best friend. May he rest in peace.

  8. My dear Karen and family. I am very saddened by Jim’s death. He will always be a very dear cousin and I will always remember him as loving, kind and gentle! The times my family spent with you and your family while in Lansing will always be very special memories. I am so sorry for your loss! My love to you all.

  9. I had the privilege of working with Jim for a number of years when I was with the Department and later when we were both involved with the Michigan Truck Safety Commission.
    I consider myself fortunate to have known Jim if only for a relatively short time. I know he will be missed by family and his many friends at MSP.

    Tom Reel
    Cumming, Georgia

  10. I am very saddened. I have known James and Karen for many years. Karen and I had a very interesting trip to Chicago many years ago. James was always very helpful when needed, had a wonderful sense of humor and was always very supportive. He will be missed. I can”t help but think that he will be up there looking down @ all of us and saying,”you know this isn’t all that bad”. It appears that as we grow older we just don’t fear death or the unknown anymore and for some we look forward to the next wonderful adventure. Karen you and your children and grandchildren know that you were all loved very very much by this wonderful human being, James Daust. My prayers and thought are with you all.

  11. My deepest sympathy to Karen and family. Through out my years at SNB I saw and mostly talked to Karen but several times Jim was with her — he was a super nice guy. So sorry for your loss.

  12. What a blessing this man was to his family. I didn’t know him personally but through his daughter, I learned of his great love for family. My deepest sympathy to all.
    Nick and Deb Rowe

  13. Richard Swedberg(USMC)(RET)

    Jim “persuaded” me, he did have the gift of persuasion, to be one of his national instructors at the CVSA annual meeting in Denver in 1997. It began a friendship and close camaraderie with many classes, many visits to outback restaurants, and many sharing of family events and challenges. After retirement, our friendship matured into caring for physical concerns, prayers, and solving the world’s political problems. In my last visit to Gaylord in October we shared our thoughts, tried to buy lunch, which as you know would never be allowed by Jim, and got to share about a future life in a much better place. “We are citizens of heaven where the Lord Jesus Christ lives” Philippians 3:20. What a wonderful man and mentor. God walk with you, Karen, and children.

  14. Colonel Richard A. Swedberg(USMC)(RET)

    Jim “persuaded” me, he did have the gift of persuasion, to be one of his national instructors when CVSA had their annual meeting here in Denver in 1997. That event began a lifelong friendship. Through curriculum development, teaching classes, (#14 through # 140), many different states, and always finding an Outback Restaurant, we developed a close working relationship and a very, very, close friendship. Jim mentored me on the importance of family relationships, we did discuss family quite often, and working through DOT problems. Jim was a fighter. He even went to DOT headquarters to fight to keep me in Denver in 2001. We had a most wonderful visit together in October of this year where we shared physical problems, prayers, and had a wonderful lunch together. I tried to pay but as you know, you never won the argument of who pays for lunch. Jim and I believe we know where we are going. “We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives” Philippians 3:20. Karen, continue your walk with God through this and we WILL all meet together.

  15. I’d like to express my heartfelt condolences to you and your family on the loss of your husband, father, grandfather and brother.

  16. Heidi Hella Willison

    Being part of our MSP family, on behalf of the Hella family, we would like to send our sincere condolences. Words cannot express how much your family meant to us throughout the years. Mr. Daust was an amazing man, a loving father, and a true friend. He will be missed. Sending our love, prayers and strength to your entire family at this time.

  17. Jim & Karen will always be dear to our hearts whether alive or deceased. My hubby and I met them at St. Pius in Tucson and
    thoroughly enjoyed them from day 1. We don’t meet that many people that have such a powerful, lovely influence on our lives.
    We love you dearly, and will all be together in heaven some day! How good is that?!! Jerry & Cam Grunow

  18. Knowing Jim Daust was one of the highlights of my life. He was always upbeat and I never heard him say anything bad about anyone. When my first wife passed away in 2007, Jim drove down from Gaylord to be at her memorial service in St. Louis, Mi. I lived in Arizona for 15 years, and while I was there, I and then wife Dixie, attended the annual Michigan State Police Retirees Reunion. Jim did a fantastic job hosting that reunion every year. Jim was the nicest, most generous, great all around best friend a person could ever have in a life time. I will never forget him.

  19. To Mrs. Daust and family,
    I know this is a difficult time as you experience the loss of patriarch of your family, a man of extraordinary being and an example as to what is good and decent. Lt. Col. Daust was a special person, and someone I always admired. As a retiree of the MSP myself, I had the opportunity of serving as staff to your husband/father in the early days of 911 statewide planning. This assignment provided me the opportunity to observe first hand the extraordinary skill of a dedicated public servent.

    I will always be thankful of the opportunity to visit with Jim just prior to his death. It was a great visit, as we shared MSP stories from the past and gave thanksgiving for family and friends. A wonderful man who touched countless lives. God bless you family.
    You are in my prayers……F/Lt. Bill Atkins (Ret.) Regretfully I will be in Traverse City (wife’s surgery) on Friday unable to attend services.

  20. On behalf of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), we honor Jim’s memory and thank him for everything that he did in the pursuit of commercial motor vehicle safety throughout all of North America. Jim will be remembered as a founding member of the Alliance (CVSA President from 1986-1988) and the founder of the “Enhanced North American Standard Inspection for Radioactive Materials”. Our thoughts and prayers are with Karen and family. Rest in Peace Jim.

    Collin Mooney

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