Charismatic, intelligent, cunning, loving father, tortured soul
Dan was charming, endearing and brilliant, with an analytical mind that kept him three steps ahead of others. “He was also loyal, funny, sarcastic, a smart aleck, and goofy,” his sister said. “He could talk circles around anyone and would fight to the ends of the earth for those he loved.”
Dan could be reclusive and self-deprecating and pull away from people, even those he loved so deeply. “It was because he couldn’t find love for himself,” his sister said. “Sadly, he had a tortured soul.”
As a kid, Dan was very involved in go-kart racing and earned many awards, medals and trophies. He later played football and was in track and field, loving the feeling of the wind at his back as he ran. Dan also enjoyed boxing. “He was a fighter both in the cage and in the world,” his sister said.
Dan was the father of three girls who were his entire world; he strived to be a good dad for them. Dan remained close to Nadia’s mother, Britini, and was engaged to Brooke, the mother of MaKenna and Elianna. He was a good uncle to his many nieces and nephews from his 3 sisters and two brothers. On Thanksgiving, 2018, just a few weeks prior to his passing, one niece, Arianna, asked him to care for her baby doll while she was out of town for the holiday. Taking her request seriously, Dan dutifully held the baby throughout the day! Dan was equally thoughtful and loving to other members of his family, often writing letters or little notes to loved ones in his impeccable handwriting.
Dan was the light of his dad’s life, whose grief runs so deep he cannot articulate his memories of Dan. Dan’s mother said that all judgment of Dan or anyone with substance abuse disorder has gone out the window. “Your heart just breaks, longing to help the person mend their soul.”
Despite being so loving and loved by so many, Dan was exhausted from years of battling. “Unfortunately, I can’t remember a time before the addiction took over and became his life’s battlefield. “He saw nothing in his future but darkness, he just wanted to be at peace,” Victoria said. “It was like watching someone drowning in shallow water right in front of you, and not being able to help them stand up. I know his soul is finally at peace, but for me and my family-we will never be.”
Dan’s sister, Victoria Ernest, provided the information for this narrative, with additional information provided by Dan’s mother, Dorie, father, Henry, and step mother Beverly.
April 3, 1984-December 7, 2018
Age 34-Lived with the disease of addiction 17 years