We love you, Donnie Daniels
Organized by: Jennifer Burch
Jennifer Burch via Crowdrise
June 29, 2015
For five years, Donnie fought cancer and he fought hard. He didn't want to leave his family.
Donnie's fight ended on June 26. He was 51. He was a father of six: Devin, 24; Darby, 21; Samantha, 9; Max, 8; David, 5; and Anna, 4. Everyone who knew Donnie knew this: his children were his greatest gifts. Money will never fill the holes left by his death, but it can give them security as they mourn.
As Sammie wrote, "Living without you will be hard, but ... that doesn’t mean I’ll forget you. You will be with me and I’ll be with you.”
A little about Donnie:
A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Donnie and his twin Ronnie were the kids in the neighborhood that everyone knew and loved. They raised a lot of trouble, yes, but they were good kids with good hearts. Donnie was a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School and Auburn University. One friend said Donnie had "Brad Pitt looks and Einstein smarts."
Donnie met his wife of 14 years, Jodi Savarese Daniels, when the two worked together at Sprint in Atlanta. They chose to make their home and raise their children in Donnie's home state, close to family and friends.
Donnie was proud of his Southern roots. He loved to fish and introduced his children to the water. He loved watching NASCAR with Devin and Darby, making sure they could always find his favorite driver, Mark Martin, in a crowd. He loved animals and they loved him back; even the most aloof cat would follow him around, earning him the nickname "Dr. Doolittle."
Donnie's passion was his motorcycle and his dirt bikes. He spent many hours tinkering with them in his man cave (otherwise known as the garage), passing what he knew on to his sons. He couldn't wait to ride the Tail of the Dragon again with his biker friends and become one with his fizzy.
Donnie loved. A lot. And he was loved in return. He is already terribly missed.
Besides his wife, children and brother, Donnie is survived by his mother Jean and his beloved Aunt Loretta, as well as aunts Uretta and Karen.
The full text of Samantha's note to her father follows. It has been lightly edited for spelling and clarity:
I remember you used to rub noses when I was 2. You taught me how to ride bikes. You taught me how to do math and reading. You taught me how to be me. You meant the world to me.
We had so much more adventures and we could have had more. I knew you always loved head rubs.
Without you feels weird and depressing. You meant bravery, wisdom, intelligence, courageousness and love. You’d help me with everything. You were always a daredevil and you showed me the world.
I feel dead in my heart without you but I know you’re with me. I know right now you see me doing things and praying. I know you will be right there, but you’ll be in my heart forever. Living without you will be hard, but when I do work it out, that doesn’t mean I’ll forget you. You will be with me and I’ll be with you.