By Nathan Ratchford

Daniel Monen_Full.jpg

Courtesy of the Monen Family

Daniel Monen III (left) and his father, Daniel Monen Jr., after a successful turkey hunt in 1968.


Thanks to the legacy gift of a truly remarkable individual, 199 collective acres of Iowa land, stretching from Mills County to Pottawattamie County, is now in the capable hands of Ducks Unlimited.

Daniel Monen III was born in Houston, Texas, but spent most of his 72 years in Omaha, Nebraska. He is described as a person whose uniqueness was matched only by the breadth of his kindness. Daniel was known for his inventive sayings and compelling storytelling. His wife, Laura, paints a picture of a man whose presence was larger than life.

At his funeral, the outpouring of stories from those he helped—often without seeking recognition—revealed the depth of Daniel’s compassion. Many were unaware of the extent of his generosity until they heard of the quiet, impactful ways he supported those in need. His early retirement from a successful career in banking marked the beginning of a life dedicated to service. Daniel’s actions were a beacon of selflessness and true volunteerism—the same spirit that is the lifeblood of DU. His generosity included volunteering tirelessly for decades at a local hospital, often for 30 hours a week.

Daniel’s dedication to Ducks Unlimited was more than a membership; it was a reflection of his love for the outdoors and his commitment to conserving our natural resources for future generations. His excitement for everything around duck hunting, despite health challenges later in life, showcased his ability to find joy in the journey and the preparation, embodying the spirit of true sportsmanship.

“Dan, with his serene and modest demeanor, harbored a profound passion for the great outdoors,” said DU Senior Regional Director Steve Wilson. “His enduring commitment to the Omaha DU chapter and the Omaha area sponsor dinner was marked by years of diligent effort, often carried out away from the limelight, yet his contributions were pivotal to our mission. Dan embodied the quintessential Midwestern values of industriousness and steadfast dedication. We are deeply grateful to Dan and the Monen family for their invaluable legacy of conservation, ensuring that generations will cherish the beauty of nature for years to come.”

The anecdotes shared by Laura, especially the comical story of Daniel getting stuck in his 2003 Yukon up to the frame in mud while driving on his land, illustrate a man who faced challenges with determination and a big Midwestern smile. That same land, which is now part of DU’s conservation mission, was not just a parcel of earth to Daniel; it was a sanctuary where he found peace and connection to nature. Now that land will benefit waterfowl conservation for future generations.

Daniel’s story is an example for all. In a world often focused on the material, his life reminds us of the importance of conservation, community, and the profound impact one individual can have. Through his actions, Daniel taught us that the true measure of a life is not what we accumulate, but what we give back. We are grateful to have him forever as a member of DU’s Feather Society.

DU’s Feather Society

Ducks Unlimited’s Feather Society honors those who contribute to wetlands and waterfowl conservation through testamentary gifts of cash or appreciated assets. This prestigious recognition underscores the importance of philanthropy in conserving waterfowl habitats across North America. Contributions to the Feather Society can be made in various ways, including financial donations, land donations, or through planned giving options such as bequests, trusts, and annuities. These donations are vital for Ducks Unlimited’s mission to ensure healthy waterfowl populations and sustainable natural ecosystems for future generations. For more information about the Feather Society, contact Senior Managing Director of Gift Planning Chris Cole at 901-758-3763 or