|Subject: Drummer Don Dexter
Dies at 80
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Date Posted: Saturday, October 27, 06:55:00pm
Don Dexter (Donald James Dexter) passed away, at home on October 3rd, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 57 years Sandy Lee Dexter (Dominowski), three sons, Page Andrew Dexter (Gail), Justin Ullrich Dexter (Veronica), and Casey Delevan Dexter. Grandchildren Kaylie Rose Dexter age 11 daughter of Casey and Joshua James Dexter age 28, Casey Andrew Ygnatowiz, both sons of Page Dexter. Great-grandchildren, Annalia Rose Dexter, daughter of Joshua Dexter and Aybree Lynn Ygnatowiz, daughter of Casey Ygnatowiz. He is also survived by sisters Julie and Carol and younger brother Robert, all of Wisconsin.
Don treasured his time with his wife and family. Sandy and Don worked together on projects such as scripts for film and national magazine articles. Don enjoyed cinematography, bow hunting, music, still photography and documentary storytelling. He was born in Appleton, Wisconsin December 17, 1937. His vibrant past history includes playing drums in Hollywood with famous artists and music legends, performing in movies, as a studio musician, and on national TV programs as well as working as an award winning film and video producer/director and as a professor in higher education in Colorado.
His music education began at age eight studying piano for two years then transferred to playing drums at age 10. Don played in a Scout Drum Corps from age 10 to 15. He played his first professional gig for cash at age 15 with an Appleton group called the Downbeats. After high school Don joined the US Marines where he played 18 months with the Fleet Marine Force Pacific band that traveled over much of the Far East. After an honorable discharge, he went back to Wisconsin and began playing with a Rockabilly/Rock&Roll group called Jerry Cole and the Flaming Coles. Not agreeing with Wisconsin weather, he packed up and headed west three months later.
In Los Angeles, Don worked as a studio musician playing drums and recording with numerous hit artists and music legends such as Ricky Nelson, Frankie Avalon, Glen Yarbrough, Mason Williams, Joe & Eddie, Del Shannon, The Id, Nino Tempo and April Stevens, Sonny James, and the Smothers Brothers.
Don also performed with hit artists on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, numerous Rock and Roll specials on ABC, along with a number of made for TV movies and a Bob Hope Special. Don worked and recorded with Frankie Avalon in six movies, two were made for TV.
The most memorable moment for Don was playing a standing room only concert at Carnegie Hall in New York with Glen Yarbrough in November of 1967; a goal he set as a young teenage musician. In addition, Don was part of an experimental studio group in Hollywood in 1968 called the Id. The Id produced an album on RCA called "The Inner Sound of the Id." The album sold over 240,000 copies becoming a cult favorite with underground radio stations both in the US and Europe and remains so today.
Before moving to Colorado from Los Angeles, Don was director of film and video for music legends Warner Bros. platinum artists Seals & Crofts.
In 2003, Don was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN. His page is Rockabillyhall.com/DonDexter1/html or "Don Dexter that drummer man".
Don also holds a BSc, MA, and PhD in Television and Film. He has taught film and video at UC-Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College, the Colorado Film School and the Art Institute of Colorado. Don has been awarded the "Instructor of the Year Award" along with numerous Outstanding Achievement awards as an educator.
Since the mid 1980's Don has been recognized by his peers with more than fifty national and regional awards as a producer/director. In September of 2010, Don won the "Best Documentary Director Award" at the Colorado Film Festival; the documentary he directed and produced earned the "Best Short Form Documentary" award. Six times he received Emmy recognition along with the nine Emmy nominations; in 2016 Don received his seventeenth national Telly Award for a documentary that was broadcast on Rocky Mt. PBS Network.
Don has an extensive background in TV and radio broadcasting as well as 20 years producing film and video with his own company, Wolf River Productions. His work has been broadcast on commercial television, PBS stations, The History Channel, The Biography Channel and webcast over the Internet. His favorite documentary that he directed and produced was a labor of love called "Camp Amache: The Story of an American Tragedy." The film won three national awards and broadcast nationally across PBS stations.
Don was a good man who was gentle and kind and always made an effort to help others. He loved his family and lived his life with much passion. Respected and loved by many, Don will be greatly missed by family, friends, former students and colleagues.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald James Dexter, Sr and Marcella Marie Dexter (Schiltz), a sister Nancy, and beloved daughter Sarah Rose Dexter.
Don was an active member of the Baha'i Faith. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Sangre de Cristo Hospice Center at 601 Greenwood in Canon City, CO, 81212.
A very special thanks to all the wonderful ladies who cared for Don over the past months, he looked forward to your visits every day.
To quote one of Don's friends, "Don Dexter was a shooting star and all of us will long live in his afterglow."
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