can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or
You can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
grew up with an older sister and brother in Lakeland, Florida.
His friendly manner put others at ease, and he made friends readily.
His second grade teacher, Anna Marie Di Cesare, said of Daniel
after his memorial service at Lakeland's First United Methodist
Church: "You couldn't know Daniel and not love him."
A neighbor boy whose bicycle Daniel had tuned expressed his feelings
with a crayon drawing. On it he inscribed: "I will miss you.
Daniel went to Lakeland schools, graduating from
Kathleen High in 1985. He also attended schools in Upper Heyford
(RAF) and High Wickham, England, between 1981 and 1983 while living
with his sister on duty with the U.S. Air Force. He became so
interested in sailplane flying that he volunteered to help with
the launching cables. He was rewarded each week with a short flight
over the beautiful English countryside.
Upon returning from England, Daniel took part in
Boy Scout activities until his eighteenth birthday, when he became
an assistant scoutmaster in Lakeland. He served on staff at Shands'
Boy Scout Camp, working with mentally handicapped older scouts.
Daniel enlisted in the Navy. After boot camp and aviation field
training he joined the crew of CV-41 (the aircraft carrier Midway)
for a three-year tour, serving in the Persian Gulf during the
Iran-Iraq War. He served on the carrier Kitty Hawk from
1989 to 1991 until he was assigned to his last duty post in Norfolk,
In 1992 he won "Sailor of the Quarter"
recognition in his new command, and that year he achieved his
goal of flying as part of an air crew. With the end of the Cold
War came personnel reductions in anti-submarine warfare. Daniel
enthusiastically concentrated his efforts in computers. He demonstrated
his natural teaching ability helping others learn computer skills.
Said one of his students: "I learned more than I could have
hoped!" He continued training Navy personnel as a civilian
Computer Specialist with Information Spectrum Inc. under Captain
Drex Bradshaw (Ret.) in Norfolk, Virginia, until his death.
Family and friends universally described Daniel
as one who marched to his own drummer, except when it came to
his military obligations. The Navy awarded Daniel the Navy and
Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Armed
Forces Expeditionary Medal, the National Defense Medal, as well
as numerous other commendations and citations.
Although he never married, Daniel joined his parents
and his niece, Robin, whenever leave and travel time permitted
him, visiting Disney World, other theme parks, and Florida Gator
football games. He became a Gator fan after completing a correspondence
course with the University of Florida.
Daniel's hobbies were many. His love of pets was
lifelong. He once abandoned pursuit of a Boy Scout rabbit badge
after he learned that he would have to prepare one to eat. He
kept and nurtured gerbils, cats, and a prairie dog named "Taz."
He enjoyed kite flying and surfing from his time-share at Kitty
Hawk, North Carolina. He was very interested in rocketry, space
travel, computers, and mind games like "Star Trek."
He admired the creative and story telling genius of Gene Roddenberry.
His early musical interest included playing violin
in the fifth through seventh grades. For a hyperactive child,
that was quite an accomplishment. Daniel's CD collection included
many Walt Disney classics, as well as Eric Clapton. He was fascinated
by the effort to communicate with life in outer space. Daniel
purchased a recording, "Murmurs of Earth," that included
commentary by Carl Sagan.
Though his athletic and motor skills were late
developing, Daniel treasured his seasons in little league baseball
and the orange cap from his "O.J.'s" team uniform. Strong
swimming skills came naturally as he avoided drowning by his older
siblings who considered him a pest intruding on their use and
enjoyment of the backyard family pool.
As a child with his family, Daniel was a preparatory
member of the Cleveland Heights United Methodist Church. He served
as acolyte, sang with children's choir, and participated in many
summer vacation Bible schools. He loved and trusted others, and
frequently provided for them, even to his own disadvantage, without
His last Navy command presented Daniel with a beautiful
shadowbox. His parents are grateful that his command specially
honored him for faithful service, and wished him "Fair Winds
& Following Seas." His country could not give him a more
fitting honor and farewell.