Dan Carey, a former HHS baseball great, passes awayUpdated
People in Hastings remember Dan Carey as one of the best athletes to ever come through the city. He helped the Raiders win a state championship in 1967 and was a first-round draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft. His colleagues at the University of St. Thomas remember Dr. Dan Carey as a leader in the field of health and human performance. His family remembers Dan Carey as a generous man who touched more lives than they could have ever imagined. The operative word here, unfortunately for all those involved, is “remembers.” Carey passed away early Saturday morning. He had a rare form of brain cancer.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
People in Hastings remember Dan Carey as one of the best athletes to ever come through the city. He helped the Raiders win a state championship in 1967 and was a first-round draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
His colleagues at the University of St. Thomas remember Dr. Dan Carey as a leader in the field of health and human performance.
His family remembers Dan Carey as a generous man who touched more lives than they could have ever imagined.
The operative word here, unfortunately for all those involved, is “remembers.”
Carey passed away early Saturday morning. He had a rare form of brain cancer.
For the last several months, Carey had been living with his sister Jan Monjeau in Monticello. During that time, his sister learned just how many lives her brother had affected.
One day, while visiting a pharmacy, Carey was told that the medications he needed were not in. He didn’t have a car and couldn’t drive and depended on his family to help him pick up the medications.
When Jan got him to the pharmacy and they were out of his medication, Carey pleaded with the staff.
“You don’t understand,” he told them. “I have to find someone else to give their time to bring me back here again.”
That’s when Carey and Monjeau heard a voice from the back of the pharmacy.
“Dr. Carey,” a young man said. “If you ever need anything, I will be happy to bring it to you. After all you did for me at St. Thomas, this is nothing.”
Turns out, the young pharmacist was a former student of Carey’s who offered to help in any way possible.
“We had so many of those types of stories from his students,” Monjeau said. “He has so many friends. It’s unbelievable.”
Carey set some kind of record at Regions Hospital in St. Paul for the most visitors. He even had visitors in Monticello, where one of his former students would stop and see him often. She graduated magna cum laude from UST and said Carey was the reason why.
“She stopped a lot and said he was the reason why she was where she was,” Monjeau said. “She always talked about how he inspired her.”
Other students have stepped forward in the days since his death to talk about how Carey affected their lives, too.
“A lot of the students he advised came to us,” she said. “They said to him, and to us, ‘I would not have gotten through St. Thomas in four years if it weren’t for Dan. He took the time to sit down and plan a route for me to take and get there in four years.
“The time he spent with each one of them? He was so generous.
“He was one of the most generous people – generous with time, with knowledge, with anything he could share.”
Carey was diagnosed with the cancer 13 months ago. He had blacked out while driving and during subsequent tests, doctors found a tumor on his brain. He began treatment immediately, but those who are diagnosed with this kind of cancer typically only get six months to live, Monjeau said.
While Carey was well-known as a pioneer in exercise science, he quickly became a pioneer in battling this type of cancer. He was the first human to receive four of the vaccines aimed at fighting the disease.
“I’m all about research,” he told Jan.
“He said even if it didn’t do him any good, maybe down the road it would do somebody some good,” Jan Monjeau said. “He looked at this research as his chance. It was a chance. With this type of cancer, there aren’t a lot of chances.”
Carey had continued to fight the disease, but in the 10 days preceding his death things took a turn for the worse. He passed away with Jan and Lynne at his side.
After graduating from Hastings, Carey was drafted with the No. 24 pick by the New York Mets. He pitched for the Mets’ farm system for six years, then returned to Minnesota. He kept pitching, helping the Miesville Mudhens amateur team.
Carey remained a big baseball fan throughout his life. He was a huge Twins fan and even wrote a research project explaining why Twins-great Bert Blyleven deserved to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
“He was a huge baseball fan,” Monjeau said. “The Gophers. St. Thomas. The Twins. Baseball was always huge with him. He said he got to do two of his favorite things – that was play ball and teach.”
The Carey family moved to Hastings when Carey was entering his freshman year of high school. Carey had been living in Crown Point, Ind., where his father, Gene, worked for Standard Oil.
Gene Carey earned a position at the refinery at Pine Bend, and the family moved to Hastings. That fall, while playing on the football team, one of Carey’s teammates couldn’t believe how big Carey was. He nicknamed him “Moose” and it stuck.
“Most of his friends still called him that,” Monjeau said.
He is survived by his mother Norma and siblings Dave, Jan (Monjeau), Lynne, Tim and Paula.
“We have a big family, and we all take care of each other,” Monjeau said.
He is also survived by a boy he continued to mentor named Jack Runge.
His funeral was Wednesday at the St. Thomas chapel in St. Paul.
Carey’s online obituary and guestbook at legacy.com has drawn a number of comments from former students and colleagues.
Dave Wright from St Paul wrote: “He was a terrific teacher ... and an even better human being.”
Tom and Barb Ditty wrote: “Dan was a great friend, teammate and human being, though he would become quite irritated with outfielders who would yell ‘throw strikes.’
“We feel a tremendous loss with Dan's passing and wish we could be there for the celebration of his life. The ‘Hen Room’ at Kings will never be the same.”
Chad Scheitel of Minneapolis wrote:
“Dr. Carey was my mentor and advisor while I was taking classes at St. Thomas. I helped him in his lab and he was a great help to me while I was in graduate school at the University of Minnesota as he helped me with my research project and even allowed me to do a lot of the research with him at the University of St. Thomas.
“He was one of a kind as both a teacher and a person. I will miss him and so will the many people whose lives he touched.”
Bob and Linda Carlson wrote: “Saddened to learn of Dan's passing. We remember Moose as a smart, kind, humorous and gentle man. He was a baseball fan of the first order. It was impossible to stump him with a trivia question.
“Moose was a ton of fun to be around. He will be sorely missed. All the best to his family and many friends.”