Honorable Daniel Joseph Didier, age 68, passed away peacefully at his home on July 14, 2014 with his loving wife and children by his side. He had been recently diagnosed with Glioblastoma.|
Dan was born on December 24, 1945 in Stockton, CA, the youngest of 6 children born to Cecelia and Alexander Didier. He attended Catholic schools, graduating from St Gertrude's grade school and from St Mary's high school in Stockton, in 1964. He then attended junior college for a short time before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966. Because of his interest in ham radio operations, which he developed while in the Civil Air Patrol in high school, he was sent to radio school and was assigned to a M.A.R.S. station during his tour of duty in Vietnam. In addition to the Vietnam Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal he received the Rifle Sharpshooter award. He received an honorable discharge in September 1969, having achieved the rank of Sergeant.
After his military service Dan decided to stay in Southern California where he had been stationed at El Toro Marine Base. He attended Santa Ana Junior College and graduated from California State University Fullerton in 1973 with a BA Degree in Business Administration. Dan went to work as an accountant for General Electric Company in Vernon, CA, but then decided to pursue a career in Law. He attended Western State University College of Law while working full time. He graduated in 1977 and was admitted to the California Bar in June 1977. His first, and only, job as a lawyer was with the Orange County Counsel's Office where he represented a number of county agencies. He became interested in tax law and obtained a Master's Degree in Business Taxation from USC in 1984. For several years he represented the County Airport, now known as John Wayne Airport. He had a particular interest in this because he was a licensed pilot himself. In 1985 he played a leading role in reaching a settlement with varying entities to allow expansion of the airport terminal.
In November 1989 he was appointed to the West Orange County Municipal Court. He was elevated to the Orange County Superior Court in January 1992. He retired in 2009, however continued to sit on assignment several months out of the year. Dan loved the law and enjoyed the collegiality of the legal community. He was highly regarded for his work ethic and fairness. During his judicial career he served on numerous court committees. He served two terms on the Court Appellate Panel and was the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Panel for 3 years.
Dan was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Western State University College of Law from 1992-1998. In 1998 he was elected to their Hall of Fame. Other awards include being named Judge of the Year for 2007 by American Board of Trial Advocates (A.B.O.T.A.), Orange County chapter. He was a member of the William P. Gray Legion Lex Inn of Court and served as President from 2008-2010.
Dan's Catholic faith was always an important part of his life. He volunteered his services with the Orange Diocese Matrimonial Tribunal for many years. He was a Eucharistic Minister and a mass lector at his current parish, La Purisima. He was also a faithful volunteer at the Lenten fish fry for many years.
Dan was a man of many interests. He was a Ham Radio operator starting in high school and a private pilot with instrument rating, Little League coach and Boy Scout leader with Troop 323 in Tustin. As the proud father of 3 Eagle Scouts he spent hundreds of hours on campouts and other Scouting activities. Recently he took up skeet shooting. He was happiest when he was having a good day on the golf course with his family and friends. He was a member of the Tustin Ranch Golf Course Men's Club and the Lake Arrowhead Country Club.
He was married to Virginia Pinelli from 1970 to 1973. In 1977 he married Kathleen Smith, who survives him. He has 4 children; Susan (Jeffrey) Harrah of St. George, UT; Patrick (Bryanne) of Parker, CO; Paul (Lauren) of Costa Mesa, CA; and Matthew of Newport Beach, CA. He was a loving grandfather to Hannah, Zakary and Payden Harrah, and to Benjamin, Nicholas and Madison Didier. He is further survived by his siblings; Corrine Hieb, David Didier, Urban Didier and Cecelia Casper, as well as numerous in-laws, nieces and nephews, and life-long friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, John Didier. He cherished his time and memories with his family. A highlight of every year was the Didier Family Reunion.
Following his retirement in 2009 Dan and his loving wife Kathy finally got to pursue their love of travel. They visited many European countries and took several cruises with friends. Some of their happiest times were spent at their home in Lake Arrowhead. He even got to use a snow shovel for the first time.
Visitation will be held on Thursday July 17th from 5pm-9pm with Rosary at 7pm at Saddleback Chapel, 220 E. Main St., Tustin, CA 92780
A Funeral mass will be held at 11am on Friday July 18th at La Purisima Catholic Church, 11712 N. Hewes, Orange, CA 92869. Burial will be immediately after Mass at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, 7845 Santiago Canyon Rd., Orange, CA 92869.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the La Purisima Trinity Guild food pantry (11712 N. Hewes, Orange, CA 92869), or a
Anyone who knew Dan would say, "Well done good and faithful servant". Rest in Peace. Saddleback Chapel - Tustin
Published in Orange County Register on July 16, 2014