Dr. David R. Asp
Dr. David R. Asp
Dr. David R. Asp, 70, of Red Wing, died Wednesday, Jan. 31st , 2018 at his home surrounded by his immediate family. Dave's life story is one of hope, inspiration, adventure, and SISU. He was born in Bemidji, MN on Sept. 29th, 1947 to Julian and Mary Asp and spent his childhood in Roseville, MN. Dave graduated from Alexander Ramsey High School in 1965. In 1969, he received his undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University; Dave then received a MA in Counseling Psychology in 1971, prior to being drafted into the U.S. army. He applied his counseling skills when working with soldiers (to treat their addiction and other mental health concerns) who had recently returned from Vietnam. While completing his military service, Dave met his future wife, Kathie, a U.S. army nurse.
They were married in New York on August 17th, 1974, then moved west as Dave pursued his doctorate in psychology at the University of South Dakota. He graduated in 1976 thus beginning his Behavioral Health career which extended 42 years. Dave went on to create the Psychology department at Red Wing's Interstate Medical Center in 1982. He was currently on a medical leave from the position he loved at Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Red Wing. While he enjoyed working as a generalist one-on-one with clients, his specialty area of practice was sports performance enhancement where he worked with individual athletes, high school and college teams.
Outside of work, Dave also lived every minute purposefully. In mid-life,' he developed into an elite athlete. He completed 27 American Birkebeiner cross country skiing competitions, 16 marathons, four Half Ironmans and three Ironman competitions. His personal highlights include completing the 2008 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and the 2013 Half Ironman World Championship in Las Vegas.
Dave was honored when he was approached by youth to coach a Nordic ski team in Red Wing in 2011. In the five years that he served as the head coach, he witnessed growth of the program. The youthful spirit of each Red Wing Nordic member was instrumental in helping Dave get through the narrow parts of his cancer journey.
He was actively involved in both the community and his faith community. Dave volunteered at Red Wing's CARE Clinic and participated in several mission trips through United Lutheran Church. When he wasn't working, training/competing, coaching/mentoring, volunteering, he made time to pursue his other interests: painting, song-writing, recording artist (for fun only), guitarist, and published author.
Dave was diagnosed with melanoma in 2014. He responded to his diagnosis by tackling it head-on' similarly to how he approached previous challenges. Dave lived out each day with grace, dignity, and determination. His cancer journey was a catalyst for him to get involved in new ways. Dave launched and facilitated a melanoma support group at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. He also developed a melanoma education program that he taught in his community.
Above all, Dave loved his family. He is survived by his wife, Kathie, son, Erik (Kelsey Warner) of St. Paul and daughter, Keri of St. Paul; his brother, John (Patty) of Orlando, FL and sister, Patricia Beckmann of Bloomington, MN and numerous nieces and nephews. Dave is proceeded in death by his parents, Julian and Mary Asp.
Dave knew what made life meaningful - purpose, relationships, and courage to move forward despite setbacks. His personal story is documented in his recently published book, Start Line and Beyond - Chronicles of an Athlete/Cancer Patient.
The visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 8th at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel from 4 pm-8 pm. Dave's Celebration of Life service will take place on Friday, Feb. 9th at United Lutheran Church in Red Wing at 11 am with Revered Justin Boeding officiating, with visitation time beginning at 9:30am until the time of the service. A lunch will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that memorial gifts be designated to the David R. Asp Memorial Fund at Mayo Clinic. 100% of all gifts associating this fund will contribute towards melanoma research at Mayo Clinic.
Giving by Mail: Please indicate that the gift is in memory/honor of David Asp. Checks can be made directly to Mayo Clinic and sent to: Mayo Clinic, Department of Development, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905.
Giving Online: Gifts can be made online by visiting https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donatemc. When asked to specify Designation,' please select Other from the drop-down menu. Then, include the following information in the Other Designation' box: In memory/honor of David Asp. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.