We are here today to Celebrate the Life of our father, husband, uncle, friend, mentor. Daniel Olney – the one who held the torch for so many of us. Whose love transcended from the challenges he faced as a proud father of four and who loved each of us unconditionally despite the joy and or grief each of our lives presented to him.
Dad was born in Tucson, Arizona February 26, 1924, the youngest of three children of a wealthy rancher. His father died of appendicitis when Dad was four months old. What's so amazing is Dad never knew the warm hug of a father or the secure feeling of knowing as a child that his family would be provided for. And yet he was the most loving amazing father. When Dad was in high school the depression swept through the country and Dad went to work at night delivering ice to support his family.
A few weeks after high school ended, Dad joined the 101st Airborne 501 Division Company C. There he was barely 18 years old jumping into the dark night in France the night before D-Day. Dad recently told us that on one of his jumps the plane caught fire and Todd asked him “did the pilot make it out in time” and Dad replied “I don't know.” I believe Dad's experiences in WWII forever formed his future life. However, Dad didn't speak much of the war growing up. He was focused and determined to be the best lawyer he could be…and he didn't seem to want to burden Mom or us as young children with the war he witnessed in the Normandy Landings, Holland, Market Garden and encirclement of Bastogne. We just recently learned he was a personal guard and sharp shooter for Colonel Kinnaird.
Mom and Dad met at a USC/Cal football game. They had just five dates and he married Mommy. They had $24.00 in the bank and Dad again worked at night, went to law school during the day.
Growing up, this house was party central. Kids would flow in and out, feeling comfortable and part of the “Olney” crew. I know everyone felt welcomed by Meddo and many mentored by Dad. To those who were interested in law…Dad would sit for hours sharing his most magnificent courtroom successes. When it came for dinners out he would load the car with our friends as we ventured out to enjoy dinners at the Cock ‘n Bull; Scandia, The Luau and Swiss Café. These were cherished dinners with Mom and Dad. We also enjoyed many trips to Mammoth Mountain, Vail, Sun Valley, Hawaii and Puerto Vallarta…with friends and family included on each venture.
Both Mom and Dad loved to travel. They enjoyed such magnificent trips with Uncle Earl, Aunt Virginia and the rest of the Olney crew to Europe, Africa, Japan and South America. Dad knew that Mom's dear friend, GG Goodwin had a real love for China.so they all traveled together to explore China.
Dad was at times stern. I don't think it wasn't until he retired that us kids actually received a phone call from Dad. His life had slowed down to a normal pace and Dad became a close friend to all of his kids. He would call Susan to discuss the details of David's new job or Michelle's children's sports. Dad would call me and say “this is your father”…like I didn't know….?? And he would want to know how Danielle's school was going and or how our ski trip to Tahoe worked out.
The weeks before Dad passed away he returned home to spend time with the family. We sat with Dad and watched amazing home movies many of which John had taken and all of which were edited and prepared by Susan and Todd. Dad was beaming as he was so happy to watch the memories before his eyes.
Dad was a little uncomfortable the day before he passed; we could tell he was hanging on so that he could continue to hold that torch. The night before he passed we sat with him reassured him “it's ok….we will take care of Mommy.” “It's ok to let go.” He replied “but what about the car? Did my car get fixed?” I said “oh Dad no worries, Joseph, fixed it, and he turned to Joseph and said “What about the bill…what do I owe you.” I said “Dad – I paid him no worries.” He said “where is the receipt.”
There he was holding the torch. The torch of caring. The torch of giving and making sure those he loved were taken care of. This is our Daddy, our Daddy with the magnificent sense of humor, handsome smile and loving heart. This is our Dad, known as DCO, Bumpa, Papa, Uncle Dan, Mr. Olney - he will always shine in our hearts and be missed so dearly by us all.