Dan Briganti

5 entries
  • "Dear Sue, Sorry to hear the news of Dan. We had some great..."
  • "Members and friends of The Society of the Sons of..."
  • "Dan I feel privileged to have known you as i did these past..."
    - Roger rath
  • "Sept 04 2013 Dan or "CHESTER" I will miss you very much...."
  • "We will missd you Bro... We love you so much."
    - Kathy & Lee Varner
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BRIGANTI, DAN HENRY - Feb. 19, 1932 - August 27, 2013 - Dan Henry Briganti sat back and framed the squares and triangles of the Florentine hilltop silhouette in his mind. The sun had cast a glow of burnt ochers and luminous pinks on the stuccos, while the faint scent of olive trees and lavender swirled in his mind. He selected his palette and began to fill in his sketch with watercolors. Soon he would be featured on "Retirement Living TV" for taking up his artistry after the young age of 70. It was far cry from manning the helm and scrambling up the rigging onboard the US Coast Guard Cutter "Eagle" as a cadet in 1953. In fact, those who new Dan thought of him as a neatly bearded "man's-man," more apt to be found cutting through Chesapeake Bay chop in his hand-built dory or on a broad reach in his "Wind Lass," than texturing watercolor greeting cards. Artist, sailor, philanthropist, Coast Guard officer and loving husband and father, Dan passed away on August 27 from natural causes arising from a severe illness, but there's more to the story... \ Raised by his father, Frank Briganti and mother, Margaret Leete, in Washington, DC during the Great Depression and World War II, Dan acquired the fortitude, strength of character and conservative outlook of the "Greatest Generation" that guided his life. He was proud of his rich heritage, a descendant of Puritan English colonists of William Leete, the first Governor of the Colony of New Haven and Governor of the Colony of Connecticut, for which Leete's Island is named. His great-grandfather, Col. George Keller Leet, served on Union General Ulysses S. Grant's staff during the Civil War. Thinking that he would soon join the war struggle after Woodrow Wilson High School, he was accepted to the US Coast Guard Academy. He became a crack pistol expert and carried the American flag for the Academy Color Guard, marching in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Inaugural Parade. Before graduating in 1953 with a BS in Electrical Engineering, he met Suzanne Covington. It was love at first sight. "I knew to look no further. After three days, we knew we would get married," said Suzanne. They married in 1954 and chugged across the country in a rattletrap to Oakland, CA. There, Dan served on long sea patrols with the Coast Guard out of Alameda, while they reared their first born son, Douglas. "Dan served proudly on Active Duty. He made a change to join General Electric but wanted to continue serving in the Coast Guard Reserve, which he dearly loved," Suzanne said. While relocating for GE engineering assignments between California and Pennsylvania, Dan took the family back and forth across country, often tent camping with his growing family, son Steven and daughter Lisa, from Sierras to the Poconos. Dan would take rugged outdoor assignments, building electrical power systems in the Sierras and remote desert areas of California that still stand today. "Our years in California were formative for all of us," said Doug. "Dad served as a Deacon in the Presbyterian Church and led the Young Republicans, but we couldn't help being somewhat transformed by the progressive schools and attitudes of the time." By the time the family moved to the Philadelphia area in the late '60s, it wasn't unusual to see Dan with his new, neatly trimmed beard, strutting to a John Phillip Sousa march or trying to understand this crazy new music on "Jesus Christ Superstar." Dan and Sue made some daring moves for the timethey helped support an underprivileged African American family and they invited the inner-city children to stay with his family in a predominately white suburb of Philadelphia. "Mom and Dad taught us a life lesson, and took great risk doing it," said Lisa. "We were spurned by neighbors, friends and even church members. But we really brought hope to the family and they taught us so much." In fact, as a Coast Guard Reserve Commander, he yanked his two sons from high school, and obtained permission from the highest levels of the Defense Department for them to serve as working dependents aboard USGC cutters that were on a mission to transfer the ships to the South Vietnamese Navy. "That adventure was life-changing for each of us," said Steve, who retired as a US Navy captain. "One day, I was sitting in Social Studies class and the next day I was living it," he said. "Dad was the Executive Officer of the three ships, and he made sure we learned fast at sea and in port." Even as he took assignments as Regional Sales Director for Static Power, Director at Baldwin Technologies and President of Electronic Marketing Associates, Dan's generosity and passion for teaching didn't stop with his own family-- he and Sue invited a homeless teenager to live with their family, taught English as a second language, tutored disadvantaged children and was a mentor to all of his nine grandchildren. "Dan never sat still, even after retirement. He was a Deacon and an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, on the Board of the Annapolis Chorale, a loyal member of the British Officers Club, the St. George Society, the Annapolis Rotary Club and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United StatesI could never ask him to sit down!" Sue said. As repeated health issues took a toll on Dan's vigor, one never saw him lose his spirit or miss an opportunity to crack a corny "Daddy joke." "Dan was my oldest and longest friend," said Doug Muir, a long-time resident of the shoreline community of Arkhaven in Tracy's Landing. "He never stopped caring about his home, his friends, his family and his country." "Even as Dad had to face the challenges of aging, he showed love for my mom more than himself," Lisa said. "Dad kept smiling to the end." Dan Briganti is survived by his wife, Suzanne Covington Briganti of Arnold, MD; his sons, Douglas H. Briganti and wife, Joni of Spotsylvania, VA; CAPT Steven L. Briganti, USN (ret.) and wife, Jennifer of Tracy's Landing, MD; his daughter Lisa Briganti Rath and husband Roger of Annapolis; his grandchildren, Ashton, Chelsea, Skyler, Brightyn and Tazman Briganti; Taylor, Connor, Emma and Hayley Gilbert. His Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 7th, at the First Presbyterian Church, 171 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the US Coast Guard Foundation, in honor of Dan H. Briganti: https://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8777/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=7204 . Online condolences may be made at www.johnmtaylorfuneralhome.com

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Published in The Capital on Sept. 3, 2013
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Annapolis, MD   (410) 263-4422
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