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Dr. Danny L. Dearen Sr.


1933 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Dr. Danny L. Dearen Sr. Obituary
Dearen, Dr. Danny L. Sr.
Dr. Danny L. Dearen, Senior, age 83, passed away at his home in Tucson on Sunday, September 25, 2016, due to a pulmonary issue. He was born at home on March 16, 1933, in Joy, Texas, to Annie Opal (Peterson) and Ira Lee Dearen; he was the oldest of three children. Dan maintained a strong work ethic throughout his life. After graduating from Wichita Falls Senior High School, he worked in construction and various oil fields to support himself and help his family. He then went on to fight for his country in the Korean War, serving there for 19 months with the United States Army. Upon returning home from the war, Dan enrolled in Texas Tech University and graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He later attended Arizona State University (ASU), earning a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in education. On February 15, 1958, he married Sharon Lynn Cook in Dallas, Texas. Together they had three children. Dan and Lynn enjoyed traveling, playing tennis and golf, and, most of all, raising their family. Dan made significant contributions to healthcare management, education and governance. He served for 25 years as an officer and Executive Vice President of the Samaritan Health System. He was also a professor in the Healthcare Management program in the College of Business at ASU. Dan was instrumental in founding AirEvac, which was a statewide medical transport system. He was also proud to have been involved in the development of Phoenix Children's Hospital. Prior to entering the healthcare field, Dan had a career in education, serving as a teacher, secondary school counselor and psychologist, and, later, as a principal and consultant. Dan continued to work after retirement, and served as a board member of 23 community and business organizations during his career. His contributions, widely recognized throughout the state, will be missed. Dan loved working, and found something special about every job and appointment he held. Upon retirement, Dan and Lynn moved from Phoenix to Tucson, where they became members of Skyline Country Club. They formed many lasting friendships at Skyline, and competed on the golf course and the tennis courts, two sports Dan loved. Dan's contributions to Skyline over the years helped secure the longevity of the club. Dan had a deep love for his family and friends, and he will be greatly missed. He is survived by his loving companion, Gail Christine Birkeland, who has been a special part of his life for the past nine years. He is also survived by his daughter Lisa (Charles) Maxwell and son Dan (Lisa) Dearen, Jr.; by his grandchildren Alexis, Charlie, Austin, Madeline, Jason and Brandon; by his 12 great-grandchildren; and by his nieces and nephew. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 49 years, seven months, Sharon Lynn, who died from breast cancer in 2007; and his daughter, Lynda Lee, who also died in 2007. Dan will be remembered for his sense of humor, his contributions to his community, his love of family and friends, and his generous heart. His grandchildren will especially remember the way he always kept a stash of $2.00 bills, handing them out for treats to all his grandkids. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at 1:00 p.m., at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson. The Dearen and Birkeland families would like to extend our gratitude to all of the staff at TMC Hospice for their incredible love and support. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Tucson Medical Center Foundation, or to the healthcare organization of your choice.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 2, 2016
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