By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, MN With a glint of laughter in his voice, Dave Cade of Howard Lake is a businessman who gives off an air of approachability, despite his impressive 6-foot-6.5-inch stance.
Dave’s whole family seems to share his joyful attitude including pets. His dog, Millie, spends her time gleefully running through the house, hoping for a game of fetch. The Cades live along Lake Ann.
“I throw a tennis ball for her about 50 times every morning, and another 50 at night,” Dave said. “I have never seen a dog so happy.”
The family’s African grey parrot also seems content.
“The parrot imitates my laugh,” Dave said.
Dave has been the owner of Crow River Insurance Agency for about 25 years, an arrangement that came about almost by accident.
After working for an insurance agency in downtown Minneapolis for eight years, Dave was interested in starting his own company.
He was scheduled to meet with Don Gilmer, who owned the Delano State Agency. Instead, Dave ended up at Crow River Bank and met Don Hamilton, who was the bank’s vice president at the time.
“I was in the wrong office with the wrong Don,” Dave laughed. “We ended up buying their insurance agency.”
It turned out that Delano State Agency wasn’t selling at the time, anyway.
“It’s interesting since then, we did purchase that agency,” he added.
Dave’s insurance business has grown throughout the years, with the purchase of the Donna Putkamer agency in 1987, and later, the Woitalla Agency of Waverly.
Dave’s son, Ben, joined Crow River Agency when he graduated from college. Now, Ben has a family of his own, with a 3-year-old daughter named Tayah.
“People love Ben because he’s so efficient,” Dave said. “I like to talk I’m the social one.”
Dave and his wife, Valerie, have two daughters, Emily and Abby.
Emily is married to Robert Danielson and has a 6-month-old named Blake.
“She lives right next door to me,” Dave said.
Abby recently graduated from college and is teaching special needs children in Chicago.
Dave and his family enjoy vacationing in Florida almost every year.
“Sometimes, we all go,” he said. His two grandchildren have already been to Florida once.
When his children were still at home, Dave said they used to enjoy waterskiing and tubing. The family’s house is situated on 5.5 acres right by Lake Ann in Howard Lake.
“We did it all personal watercrafts, speed boats, pontoon boats, the whole bit,” he said. They’ve since sold all the equipment, but when the grandchildren are a little older, he plans to get back into it.
“We’ll do it again,” he said.
For now, one of Dave’s favorite activities is chopping wood for the fireplace at his home.
“As for recreation, I like to cut wood,” he laughed. “I could cut forever. It’s just a good workout.”
Another hobby is deer and pheasant hunting, but Dave claims he can’t hit anything.
“I think I have a defective gun,” he joked. “I go just to be with the guys.”
Dave’s son, Ben, enjoys hunting, too.
“We just went out to North Dakota for pheasant hunting,” Dave said, adding that they went with a few of Dave’s friends from college.
Dave grew up in Illinois, and went to college at Northern Michigan University on a basketball scholarship.
One of the perks of going to school in Michigan during the 1960s was meeting Harry S. Truman, the 33rd US president.
“On one of the off days, we went to the Harry S. Truman Library,” Dave said. “Harry S. Truman was the one who answered the door. He sat down with us for two hours and talked.”
Dave earned both his master’s and undergraduate degrees in math, and went on to teach math and coach for about eight years before getting into the insurance business.
“I was kind of recruited into it,” he said. Some of the guys he played basketball with in college were in the insurance field, and told him “it was going to be wonderful.”
“When you have a losing season, they say you’re really going to enjoy the insurance business,” Dave joked.
Dave said it’s been about 25 years since he started his business in Delano.
“I’ve been at it forever,” he said, adding that he’s enjoyed getting to know the people in Delano.