Cover photo for Danny Ray Daniel's Obituary
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Danny Ray Daniel

February 22, 1950 — July 4, 2024

Quitman, TX

Danny Ray Daniel

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Danny Ray Daniel, 74, retired Farmers Branch firefighter and paramedic, died July 4, 2024 in Quitman, Texas. Danny was permanently disabled in the line of duty while responding to a fire with the department, where his heroism and resulting grave injuries changed the course of his life forever. A Carrollton native, Danny spent the remainder of his life on his horse ranch in the peaceful Piney Woods of East Texas where he had critters galore, most of which were tame; the majority of which he usually acquired on accident.

To know Danny was to love him. To be loved by Danny was a gift.

Danny was an incredibly stubborn, six-foot-something rancher with piercing eyes and long legs that got him where he needed to go most days. He usually wore blue jeans with holes in the seat, cowboy boots with worn soles, and socks that his toes stuck through. Atop his head was usually a sweat-brimmed Longhorns or fire department ballcap. He loved Dobermans, classic cars, and football (but never Jerry Jones). He could tell you how many gunshots Lucas McCain shot in the opening credits of The Rifleman from memory. He loved listening to “old people music” (as his daughter called it) such as the Platters’ The Great Pretender and other Oldies which reminded him of good times.

As a young boy who delighted in throwing Babe Ruth bars in the public pool and yelling “Turd!” to ensure he had the pool to himself as others fled, Danny’s sense of humor only got more vexing with age. He didn’t care much for answering the phone, but he would give you a holler if he wanted to—and usually when you least expected it.

Danny was a complex old cowboy of a great generation. As Danny’s body failed him, his tenacious spirit allowed him to just keep livin’. If Danny were a cat, his ninth life would have been at least four tractor accidents or horse kicks ago. Danny survived leukemia and was a lifelong patient of UT Southwestern in most, if not all, of its various medical departments. As a card-carrying frequent hospital flyer, Danny’s worst memories of hospitals (his time in the burn unit from his firefighting accident or his bone marrow transplant from leukemia) were followed by his best memories (being visited by therapy animals or playing “vidya games” brought into the hospital room just for him). For the remainder of his life, Danny was gracious to the hundreds of nurses and doctors who were his friends, especially the ones who let him break hospital rules and smuggle in good food.

Danny’s superpower was his radiant joy that peeked through his clouds if you were lucky enough to see past them. Danny didn’t have much patience for people; he much preferred his animals, which he credited healing his varying and usually terminal ailments. Those that loved him knew this pecking order, and it just made sense. Animals, after all, are better than people.

Danny was unconditionally loved by his daughter and loved ones, and his critters he left behind. Danny graduated from R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton and received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry from Sul Ross State University in Alpine.

Danny is preceded in death by his father James Byers “Art” Daniel, mother Willie Marie “Bill” Daniel, and beloved cousin Betty Lou Dennis. He is survived by his daughter, Gracen Daniel (28) of Dallas, who will forever be Danny’s “little squirt” enriched by his good humor and love of animals. Danny is also survived by Betty Lou’s husband, Harold Wayne Dennis; his brother Jimmie A. Daniel; and a flourishing and large family tree of kinfolk who very much love and treasure their country cousin Danny.

Danny’s life will be celebrated on July 18, 2024 at 10:00 AM in a graveside service at Hilltop Memorial Park in Carrollton, Texas under the direction of Lowe-Gardner Funeral Home of Quitman. He will be buried next to his parents and laid to rest in dignity by the Farmers Branch Fire Department Honor Guard, expressing their gratitude for Danny’s heroism he exhibited in the line of duty. 

In lieu of flowers, his daughter asks those remembering Danny to contribute to the designated fund that has been established for the care of Danny’s dogs and horses he leaves behind, including ten dogs and five horses. Donations will be provided directly to the Wood County Sheriff's Department volunteers (for his dogs) and the Wood County volunteer wrangler (for his horses), all of whom are currently paying out-of-pocket to provide Dan's animals with the necessary medical attention, dog and horse feed, wormer, hay, hoof trims, and other care to ensure they live a long, happy, and peaceful life as Dan most wanted. Or to best remember Danny, just be kind to animals and one another. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Danny Ray Daniel, please visit our flower store.

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Graveside Service

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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