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STILLWATER, Minn. — If you walked into Kolliner’s Clothing Store in downtown Stillwater in the 1970s or ’80s planning to buy one suit, Doug Lacher would see to it that you walked out with more.
“Doug was never good at taking ‘No’ for an answer,” said longtime friend Don Anderson. “If somebody came in for a suit, they probably ended up with two and a couple of shirts and neckwear and all the accessories that go with it, and, oh, let’s not forget the socks and underwear.”
Lacher, affectionately known as “Mr. Stillwater,” died March 24 of respiratory failure at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, where he had been hospitalized for three weeks. He was 69.
Lacher was a “people person” in every sense of the phrase, said Ed Stuart, a longtime employee of Kolliner’s, who later purchased the store.
“He had a real love of people that lasted until the day he died,” Stuart said. “He was a go-getter. He wasn’t a pushy salesman, but he created relationships. That was definitely his strong point.”
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Lacher was a sharp dresser who took pride in outfitting his clients, many of whom were executives at 3M Co., Stuart said.
“He was always dressed to the nines, as we say in the clothing business,” Stuart said. “His hair was always neat and cut, and he had a lot of pride in his looks. He learned how to do the clothing business right. He learned about people and what their needs were, and he was able to make good suggestions. He would plan people’s wardrobes for them. He would call people — but not in a pushy way, you know — and say, ‘I got a suit that just came in, and I think it would be perfect for you.’ That’s how he built his book.”
Lacher grew up in Heron Lake, Blue Earth and Albert Lea, graduating from Albert Lea High School in 1970. He graduated from Albert Lea Area Vocational-Technical School in 1972 with an associate’s degree in sales and marketing.
He got an internship at Kolliner’s in 1972, and after it ended, he was hired as a full-time salesman. He worked at the clothing store until 1981, when he left to take a job at Stillwater Book and Stationery. When Ed and Corkee Stuart purchased Kolliner’s in 1985, Ed Stuart’s first hire was Lacher, he said. “I needed a right-hand man to help run the store,” he said.
Lacher worked at Kolliner’s until the Stuarts closed it in 1996. He then went to work for the Stillwater Gazette, where he served as an advertising account executive until he retired in 2019.
Lacher was born with Noonan syndrome, a genetic disorder that involves unusual facial characteristics, short stature and heart defects present at birth. At age 2, Lacher’s heart stopped beating, and his mother ran him across the street to the hospital in Heron Lake, daughter Missy Lacher said. “Running him there actually restarted his heart,” she said.
In 1958, when Lacher was 7 years old, he was one of the first children in the U.S. to undergo open-heart surgery. Lacher spent 35 days in the hospital and had to repeat second grade, Missy said.
In 1978, Lacher married Colleen McCloud in Stillwater. The couple had two daughters. They divorced in 2000, but remained friends until her death last year, said Alicia Foster, the couple’s younger daughter.
“My father taught me many life lessons,” Foster said. “One was to never give up on what you believe; the other was to live life to the fullest. He was a great man who loved life and his family and friends.”
Lacher is survived by his two daughters, Missy Lacher and Alicia Foster, and four grandchildren.