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An old proverb says that when an elder dies, it is as if an entire library has burned to the ground. Donald Earl Hassler (1929 - 2013) had many volumes that were lost to the world on August 20th. Don's love of music started when he took up the clarinet in fifth grade. As a young man he served 17 years in the National Guard and Army Reserves as a musician and bandmaster. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1950 with a degree in music theory. In the year 2000 he earned a master's degree in bassoon solo performance at ASU. Don played bassoon for 20 years with The Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and Tempe Symphony. He played saxophone and clarinet mainly with Myron Sommerfeld's Music of the Stars Orchestra, and Burgie Crandall and his Let's Dance Band. His business career was in marketing, including eight years at Capitol Records, and he owned the Audio Specialists and Hassler's Home Entertainment stores in the Valley through the 1970s and 1980s. Don was a devoted husband, and caring father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his wife Paula, his daughter Mindi Clarke, his sons Thomas and Richard and their spouses, his stepdaughter Nori Muster and stepson Bill Muster; his sister Barbara Tuttle, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Sept. 1, 2013