John Irwin Dahl of Vass passed away August 31, 2016 at the age of 83.

A memorial service is planned for 10:00 am Saturday, September 10 at their residence with Elizabeth Wright Taylor presiding over the service.

Born in Duluth, MN, John was the son of the late Irwin Russel Dahl and Anne Judith Smith Dahl. John grew up in Minneapolis and was an avid hunter and fisherman, and a craftsman who tied flies, carved beautiful decoys, and loved working with wood. He loved music, especially blues and jazz. He performed as a blues shouter while still underage, bringing this black music form to a wider audience.  John earned his MFA at the University of Minnesota and taught painting and sculpture first in North Dakota, later in North Carolina and Maine. He attended the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with a group of his students. In 1971 John left college teaching to train retrievers professionally. He competed successfully in retriever field trials and trained many hunting dogs, with a particular affinity for the Chesapeake breed.  John was passionate about the things he loved: ducks, the outdoors, good craftsmanship, art, music, good dogs, home, and family. He always pursued his own vision, always true to himself. 

John leaves behind his loving wife of twenty years, Amy Elisabeth Frost Dahl, and their children, Ruth Ariadne Dahl and Charles Joseph Dahl.

His former wife, Jacqueline Moss, preceded him in death. They shared five children Cathleen Mary Dahl Matschy (husband Dr. Herwik Matschy), Lisa Christine Dahl, Sarah Dahl Lance (husband Dr. Scott Lance), Anton Christian Dahl III, and Laura Kay Dahl Khatibzadeh (husband Dr. M. Ali Khatibzadeh), seven grandchildren Nina Fejer (husband Timon Fejer), Roxanne Dahl Smerker (husband David Smerker), Jack Dahl, Ian Dahl, Dr. Sarah Marie Khatibzadeh (husband Dr. Gordon Briggs), Natalie Mae Khatibzadeh, Julia Faye Khatibzadeh, and four great-grandchildren Marilyn Samkus, Luna Fejer and Aurelian Fejer and Isaac Smerker.  John is also survived by his daughter Cassandra Pullo and granddaughter Aliyah Pullo.  He is survived by one sister, Judith Gurney.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Dahl Children Education Fund at First Bank in Vass, NC.

Fry & Prickett Funeral Home is serving the Dahl family.

Online condolences may be made at

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  1. Expressing our sympathy to John’s family.

    We lived next door while he taught at Jamestown College.

    He loved the outdoors

    His dog ,Tar, was one of his favorites at that time.

  2. Amy, Ruth and Charles,

    Our condolences to you all with the loss of John. Although our family did not have the opportunity to get to know him, we know that this is a huge loss in your lives. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult

  3. Amy and family,

    Bob and I are so sorry to learn of the death of John. He was a unique character!

    I know that you two children have his best traits.

    May you remember him with love and peace,

    Linda Curtiss Prause, cousin of Anne

  4. Amy & Family,

    So sorry for your loss. We first met John back in 1993 and he was a character. We ran into him over the years while running dogs at hunt tests and he so loved his dogs. He will be missed. Prayers for you Amy and for your family.

  5. Amy, Ruth, Charles and fa,ily, I am so sorry about your husband and father. You are all in my prayers and please know Amy and Charles I love you both bunches!!!

  6. Amy and family,

    I wish for your all peace though this difficult time and the days to come. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Chase Greene, RN

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