Laurence E. Daniels
Laurence Edward Daniels ’69 was killed on Oct. 19, 2013. doing one of the things he loved most. He was a problem solver, an engineer who dedicated his work life to making rail travel more efficient and safe. He was born in Pasadena California on October 15, 1947. He grew up with his parents, Victor and Gertrude and his sister Marie Therese in Sierra Madre. He received his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University. He married Joyce A. (Reynolds) Daniels ’69 while finishing his degree and had two daughters, Sarah and Amber Daniels. He was immediately employed by the railroad industry to inspect track, starting with the Western Pacific in the East Bay.
He and his family moved across the US so he could work for various rail inspection projects. They lived in Boisie Idaho, Pueblo Colorado and Fairfax Virginia, before returning to California in 1993. In each community, Larry made an impact. He coached and played soccer, played Rugby, golfed, and always had an active workshop in the garage. He was particularly enamored of creating and building things in his workshop, from amazing trellises for his gardens, to renovating the houses where he lived. He rarely sat still, unless it was to read a good book. He was an avid reader of biographies and historical information. He was always looking to figure out how things and people were put together.
After he returned to California, he started his own consulting firm, Daniels Railroad Engineering. He worked on rail projects all over the US and the world, helping improve and grow rail systems. Included in his projects were the English Channel Tunnel, the Kowloon-Canton Railway in China and the Singapore Mass Transit Project. He was a pioneer in many areas of the rail industry, most especially maglev rail projects. He also served on the Board of El Dorado and Sacramento Railway Historical Society and helped preserve and implement historical rail projects in the Sacramento Valley.
In 1996 he and his wife separated and in 2006 he met his second love, Betty Keever. Betty and Larry were together until the time of his death. He and Betty moved to Oakland in 2011 with their snuggly dog Oliver. He and Betty traveled widely, exploring the country and laughing often. Larry was Betty’s “Number 1”. Larry also played golf and played in semi-pro tournaments.
Larry was an incredibly generous man, who was described by many close to him as “wonderful, kind and extremely supportive”. He worked hard at whatever he did and loved to share the knowledge he had acquired. He cared deeply for the people in his life and would go out of his way to plan adventures for loved ones. His family speaks animatedly of a Segway trip last Thanksgiving around Lake Merrit that Larry planned, of how much fun they had, the stories they told. Larry always planned these excursions and field trips meticulously, ensuring that every possible activity was included and that the weather conditions would be perfect. He enjoyed making others happy and doing things for others wherever he could. He would often insist that people treat themselves on his dime.
Larry is survived by his life partner, Betty , his sister Marie -Therese, his daughters Amber and Sarah, nephews Eric and Marck and his dog Oliver.
submitted Nov. 22, 2013 12:06P