Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper


Dr. Donald M. Cassata, age 82, passed away on August 23, 2023, after a long-fought illness. Dr. Cassata was born April 30, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois. After graduation from high school, he studied to become an X-Ray Tech. Don joined the U. S. Army and used these skills at several Army hospitals around the United States including Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver. After his discharge, he began his higher education at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, CO. This is where he met future wife, Nadine. He received a full scholarship to the University of Denver, where he received his BS and Master's Degrees, then continued his education at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his PhD in 1972.

He began his career teaching residents at the medical schools at the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Later he became the second President in the history of Northwestern College of Chiropractic now Northwestern Health Sciences University. His final career move was to Brighton, CO, where he served as Director of Adams County Human Services.

Don loved to travel. He especially enjoyed his trips to Switzerland and Italy to connect with family. He and Nadine enjoyed several cruises, the highlight which was their amazing 50th anniversary cruise with their family to Alaska.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years Nadine, his children Stephanie (Dave) Hughes, Herb (Lisa) Hawkins, Dawn (Mike) Fjellanger, his beloved grandchildren Kaylee Plaziak, Lucas Fjellanger, Kamryn Fjellanger, sister Marie Head, brother George Mackey III, his treasured cousin Fran Frankenburger, other cousins, nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Madeleine Mackey, Dom Cassata, his in-laws Maurice and Enid Nelson, and grandson Dustin Plaziak.

Gorillas were Don's passion. He walked in the Denver Gorilla Run, wearing his gorilla suit, and was fortunate enough to travel to Rwanda and hike to see the Silverback gorillas in their natural habitat. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund at

A private Celebration of Life will be held in his honor in Colorado, with inurnment to be held at a later date.


Reader Comments(0)