The chief financial officer of Kaladi Brothers Coffee, Dale Tran, died unexpectedly Wednesday night, Kaladi Brothers confirmed Thursday.


Kaladi Brothers Coffee president and co-owner Tim Gravel said Tran “inspired people to be better.” Gravel called Tran the “best dad” and said seeing him with his kids was amazing.


According to Gravel, Tran began working for the Alaska coffee company 16 years ago after working in an administrative position at the Sagaya Corporation. He said Tran wanted to take a break from the market to care for his father.


Gravel quickly saw Tran as a giving person and remembers his zest for helping others. Gravel said Tran became involved in Kaladi’s annual New Year’s Day Giving and believes he helped raise around a million dollars for charities since taking part.


Tran’s cause of death was immediately unknown.


He is survived by his wife, Joy, and two daughters, Bella and Abby.


News of his passing saddened residents across the state, some of which posted condolences to Tran’s family on social media sites.






Born in 1974 in Vietnam, Tran’s family fled shortly before the fall of Saigon and were at sea for almost a week before being taken to a refugee camp in Guam, according to a 2015 interview with Alaska Public Media. The family eventually settled in Seattle after living in Florida. According to Tran’s Facebook page, when he was 17 years old, he tricked his father into signing U.S. Army enlistment papers. He wrote that as an immigrant, “I’ve always felt it was my duty and obligation for the debt that I owed to the country for our freedom.”


He went on to say, it “was the best experience that money CAN’T buy.”


The Prosper Alaska Summit and Expo site says Tran served in the Washington Army National Guard before moving to Anchorage in 1996.


According to the 49th State Angel Fund, a program that works to help spur local economic development, Tran was on the advisory committee. In his short-biography on the program’s website, it says Tran was a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage, was on UAA Chancellor’s Advisory Board, Anchorage School District (ASD) School Business Partnership Board, Tanaina Child Development Task Force and Holy Family Cathedral Finance Committee.


He’s also won local accolades, including being a recipient of the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40 Award and the George E. Sullivan Heart of Anchorage Award.


His funeral arrangements were not immediately known.


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