“We Love the Things We Love for What They Are” (Robert Frost)
Dallas James Duell, loving husband and father, passed away on September 18, 2020 in Harwich Port, Massachusetts after a brief and brutal encounter with stage 4 lung cancer. In hospice care, he was surrounded by extended family. His wife Christine Johnson-Duell and daughter Abigail Duell were with him when he passed.
Dallas was born in Spokane, WA and grew up in Mt. Vernon, Seattle, and Edmonds, WA. A graduate of Woodway High School in 1970, he studied Theatre at Everett Community College and Eastern Washington University. He was a proud lifelong member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and served as an officer of IATSE Local 15 in Seattle for several years. He worked at Seattle Opera for 31 seasons and was, most recently, Technical Director at Kentucky Opera. Earlier in his career, Dallas held technical positions on two national Broadway tours. For nearly five decades, he was a valued member of theatre crews nationally and internationally.
He leaves his wife of 26 years, Christine Johnson-Duell of Harwich Port, MA and daughter, Abigail Duell of Sturbridge MA. He is also survived by his mother, Virginia (Bertis) of Edmonds, WA; siblings Marcus, of Arlington, WA; Gina of Van Zandt, WA; and Celia (Creek) of San Diego, CA. He will be missed by his in-laws, Beverly (Sault), Thomas Johnson, Sr., Eileen Leary, and Thomas Johnson, Jr., and by his many nieces, nephews, and cousins on the east and west coasts. He was preceded in death by his sister Melinda Duell and his father Howard Duell.
Dallas spent his professional life in the theatre, using his skills in multiple media to create sets and props for productions of all sizes, from elementary school plays to Seattle Opera’s Ring Cycle. He was skilled in all aspects of technical stagecraft and loved to figure out thorny theatre challenges. He was known to have a kind and generous demeanor and his commitment to pass on his knowledge of theatre and his belief in the importance of unions led him to mentor young people in the Ingraham High School Theatre Department and in the apprentice program of the IATSE Local 15 Technical Training Trust. For the past decade, Dallas was a dedicated bike commuter and used his solitary daily ride to think.
A devoted father and husband, Dallas was open to trying new activities, traveling new places, and offering an attentive ear and constant, measured support. He volunteered for every school Abby attended, from preschool to college, and supported Christine in her writing practice, professional responsibilities, and in moving across the country for a new job opportunity. He loved to travel, and when he did, he sought out hardware stores to purchase unique and memorable items (including a metric tape measure from Paris). He loved to be outside walking, with family, his trips to the dog park with his favorite dog Tosca, or solo. The cider press he made in 2005 has become iconic among friends and family. He loved to read, work on jigsaw puzzles with Abby, and dance around the kitchen with Christine.
Gifts in his memory can be made to Ingraham High School Theatre Department Dallas Duell Memorial Fund or Seattle Opera. (Christine and Abby welcome photos and written stories of Dallas for a memory book. Please send messages and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.)