Dr. David E. Daniel, former Wilkes Community College and Midland College, Texas, president, a good and faithful servant of God, died peacefully on July 23, 2020.
Dr. Daniel’s viewing was Monday, July 27, 2020, at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory in Midland, Texas, allowing friends and colleagues to be able to pay respects before he was taken back home to Gaffney, S.C., to be laid to rest in Corinth Cemetery.
David Daniel was born Sept. 13, 1936, to Helen Hill Daniel and Joseph Eson Daniel in Gaffney, S.C. On Feb. 22, 1958, he married the love of his life, his soulmate and his amazing wife of 62 years, DeeDee Blanton, with whom he fell in love while watching her play the French horn in the Gaffney High School Band. One child, Joseph “Jody,” was born of this marriage.
David proudly served his country in the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of 2nd lieutenant. David was also an ordained Methodist minister and a member of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Dr. Daniel worked hard to achieve a bachelor of arts degree from Furman University; a master of divinity degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and his doctorate degree in community college education from North Carolina State University.
He began his career in North Carolina as a pastor at Zebulon Baptist Church, a professor of sociology and New Testament and, eventually, the administrative vice president at Louisburg College in Louisburg. Dr. Daniel later served as dean of instruction at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, as well as an adjunct associate professor at Appalachian State University in Boone.
In 1977, Dr. Daniel was named president of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. During that time (1977-1989), he also served as the president of the North Carolina Community College Foundation; the president of the North Carolina Association of Public Community College Presidents; and as president of the Southern Association of Community and Junior Colleges. Afterward, he served two years as executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Community Colleges and the Pennsylvania Federation of Community College Trustees.
Dr. Daniel was already known nationally for being an activist and staunch advocate for community colleges when he and DeeDee moved to Midland in 1991 to focus his efforts to turning Midland College into the college he aspired it to be. During this time, Daniel served as chairman of the American Association of Community Colleges and as president of the Texas Association of Community Colleges. David retired from Midland College in 2008 as the third president after serving for 17 years.
Dr. Daniel was named a Transformational Leader in Community Colleges and was selected by the U.S. Department of Education for a Fulbright Award to China. The Boy Scouts of America, Buffalo Trail Council, chose him to receive its Distinguished Citizen Award in 2005. The Association of Community College Trustees named Dr. Daniel as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in 2005 and the Permian Basin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals chose him as the Fundraiser of the Year in 2001.
David lived life fully and always had a mischievous twinkle in his eye! He had a passionate love of music and played alto, soprano and tenor saxophones. David was a drum major of both the Gaffney High School Band and the Furman University Band. As a young man working his way through college, he played in dance bands and charmed his audiences as a disc jockey for several South Carolina radio stations in Gaffney, Greenville and Chester. When introducing himself, he would frequently say, “Hello, I’m Randolph Scott.”
David loved cherry bounce and a spotless college campus. He led by example, frequently bending over to pick up pieces of trash that had blown onto the beautiful campus and he expected the rest of the Midland College family to do the same. On Sunday mornings prior to attending church services, he would walk the campus-- retrieving trash!
David is survived by his loving wife, DeeDee; his granddaughters, Cristina Daniel Ahart, Tabitha Daniel Boyce and Victoria Daniel; and his great-grandchildren, Makayla Ahart, Joseph Ahart, Ryelan Boyce and McKinleigh Daniel Boyce. His brother-in-law, Ray Sizemore, also survives him.
David was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved son, Joseph; and his sister, Melissa Daniel Sizemore.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the charity of the donor’s choice in Dr. David Daniel’s name.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory in Midland, Texas. Online condolences may be made at www.npwelch.com.