ForeverMissed
Dan's life was celebrated at a wonderful event in the Midas Park, attended by family and friends, on Sunday, September 6, 2020. Joe Rollins recorded the ceremony, which may be viewed here. Many thanks to Joe for producing and sharing this lovely video.

Dan loved Midas; he loved the desert; and he loved exploring the past. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests a memorial contribution to Friends of Midas or an archaeology or history group of your choice. The mailing address for FOM is 811 N. Main Street, Midas, Nevada 89414.

If you would like to reach someone in Dan's family, and you don't already have contact information, please use this email address: RememberingDanBennett@gmail.com.

The Story of Dan D. Bennett

The youngest of three boys, Dan D. Bennett was born on July 25, 1940, in Kearney, Nebraska, to Dick and Madge Bennett. Dan was always proud of his family's deep roots in Nebraska soil. His great-great-grandparents, David and Rosetta Bennett, and their extended families moved from Pulaski, New York, to Valley County, Nebraska, in 1877. Dan thought that Kearney was the greatest place for a kid to grow up, and he often reminisced about his adventures there. He happily spent a lot of time with his grandmother who lived in a small house within walking distance of the Bennett home. He and his dogs, Pepper and Honey, were very fond of her and her cookies!

In 1952, Dick and Madge moved their family to Grand Island where Dan met Joan Pinkston. They went on their first date when both were in 6th grade. Dan and Joan graduated from Grand Island Senior High School in 1958 and were married at the Grand Island First Baptist Church on August 20, 1960. Their first daughter, Dana, was born in Nebraska, but in 1963, it was off to Nevada in a VW bug for new opportunities. Dan's two brothers, Dick and David (aka Cork), had already settled in Nevada. Dan and Joan settled near downtown Reno where they would live for 30 years. Two more daughters, Lori and Sheri, completed the Bennett family of five.

Dan started out working for the Beck Corporation at Harold’s Club. His office was in an old hotel across Douglas Alley from Harold's Club. In later years, he relished stories about his experiences with Pappy Smith, Harold Smith, Jessie Beck, and Johnny Brown. Dan's parents had also moved to Reno, and they joined their sons to establish Korky’s Karmelkorn at Park Lane Mall. Dan drove a popcorn and candy route through the bars of Dayton, Sutro, Carson City, and Virginia City.

Dan also began exploring Nevada, a state he truly loved. On Saturday mornings, he'd roust his family out of bed at 5 am, load up the Toyota Landcruiser, and set off to explore old Pony Express stations, mining camps, Winnemucca Lake, and many other spots in the desert around Reno. Sometimes, the entire weekend was spent on a camping trip in Dog Valley or at Fort Churchill. The first weekend of December was the time for Christmas tree hunting with the extended Bennett clan. Dan would always cut down a huge pinon that just barely fit through the front door and would then take up half the living room and fill the house with the iconic fragrance of Nevada.

In 1968, he visited Midas for the first time with his brothers on a deer hunting trip and quickly added the old mining camp to the family rotation. Each year in October, he and Joan would take their daughters out of school and spend a week camping in the Midas Canyon and hiking in the desert. Over time, they added additional visits during the year and began to build a residence in his favorite town.

During the workweek, Dan was developing his bookkeeping career. He had a brief stint with the IRS, which sent him to Haight Ashbury in 1969 for training. He had great stories about that adventure, too! He then worked at Great Western Advertising and Barnard Hildahl (now Barnard Vogler). For several years, he was self-employed in his own bookkeeping business. In 1979, he proudly earned an accounting degree from UNR. He finished his formal career at The Gibbens Company. Dan joined the Julia C. Bulette Chapter of E Clampus Vitus, which began as an anti-Mason organization, and was highly amused to be both a Mason and a Clamper.

Accounting paid the bills, but Dan was an artist at heart. He was a skilled woodworker, a talented graphics artist, and a superb singer with a wonderful tenor voice. He started singing when he got up in the morning and sang all day long, usually from the recordings of The Mills Brothers, his favorite group. He serenaded his children and grandchildren with unique, often funny, songs on their birthdays. Dan and Joan were often found on the dance floor, especially in Midas.

In 1992, Dan and Joan jumped at the opportunity to retire and move to their home in Midas. Dan helped construct the town water system. Literally, he was in the ditch, chinking the new pipe throughout the length of the town. He also served on the Midas Water Cooperative Board of Directors. Dan soon established a nonprofit organization to focus on the history of Midas. As the President of Friends of Midas, a historic preservation group, he led the efforts to recover the Midas Cemetery, develop a town park, collect historic photos, and commemorate the town through various projects. He constructed replicas of a blacksmith shop, fuel shop, assay office, and laundry, which demonstrated his construction skills. He installed numerous signs around town, which demonstrated his graphics skills.  Midas winters are harsh, however, and Dan and Joan became Arizona snowbirds, driving south for the winter and returning to Midas each summer.

Dan loved being warm in the winter at their home in Tucson. More than any other house in which he lived, their Tucson home expresses his artistry and love of color. He designed beautiful wood borders and incorporated colorful tilework, and he and Joan created a warm and unique home near the Saguaro National Park. They also enjoyed exploring the beautiful Sonoran desert and southern Arizona's unique history. Dan relished visits to Tubac, Tombstone, Bisbee, and Mexico.

Retirement also offered Dan the opportunity to expand on his passion for the early cultures of the Great Basin and the Southwest. He spent many hours searching for petroglyphs, ruins, and any evidence of early human activities. Some of his favorite explorations in Nevada were Alta Toquima (a difficult but cherished hiking trip with good friends), Flat Top, the Tosawihi Quarry, and Willow Creek Ridge. In the Arizona/New Mexico/Old Mexico region, he visited Casas Grandes, Tulum, Chaco Canyon, and Bandelier (as a kid in Los Alamos). He took several college level classes in Archaeology and Southwest Prehistory; joined Am-Arcs of Northern Nevada, and worked as a volunteer archaeologist on the Marana Mound Project, the San Pedro Preservation Project, and the Yuma Wash Site in Arizona.

During this time, grandchildren became an important part of Dan's life. There were ultimately four grandkids, and he was "Papa" to all of them. He loved it when they would visit him and Joan in Midas, and he encouraged them in everything they did. He would wear baseball hats and sweatshirts from their universities and was very proud to watch all four graduate from college.

Dan was diagnosed with aggressive esophageal cancer in February 2019. He was fortunate to be included in a clinical study at the Cancer Treatment Center in Phoenix, which maintained his quality of life for another precious 15 months and allowed for a brief return to Midas. Dan and his family are grateful to Dr. Toufic Kachaamy and the CTCA team for their innovative and compassionate care. Dan’s family is also grateful for the kindness of his hospice team from Casa de la Luz of Tucson.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Dick; and several adored dogs, especially Suzy, Smokey, and Lena. He will be deeply missed by his wife of 60 years, Joan; his three daughters and their husbands, Dana Bennett and Shannon Jackson of Midas; Lori and Gus Wegren of Reno; and Sheri and Keith Thompson of Tucson; his four grandchildren, Jordan Thompson of Tucson, Kaycee Thompson of Scottsdale, Arizona, Kalli Wegren of Ft. Collins, Colorado, and Eric Wegren of Bozeman, Montana; his brother and sister-in-law, Cork and Phyllis Bennett of Reno; six grand-dogs; and many extended family and friends in Nebraska, Nevada, and Arizona.

Thank you for visiting this memorial website for Dan -- husband, Dad, Papa, brother, and friend. We hope you will add your stories of Dan to this site. Dan had an incomparable and usually irreverent sense of humor; no doubt, there are some doozies! Photos are also welcome. 
Posted by Elizabeth Neuens on June 21, 2020
Happy Father’s Day Uncle Dan. I know you are making heaven a more creative and colorful place and making the angels laugh! What an amazing and wonderful life you had on earth and I was so blessed by you, my Auntie Joan and my wonderful and FUN cousins. I have such great memories of Midas, Dog Valley, arrowhead hunting, Christmas Tree cutting and Christmas Eve at your house. You made it all so special. I still talk about the PeePee-TeePee when I take my grandsons camping! Haha they get a big kick out of that story!
Until we meet again,
Your loving (and sometimes bratty) niece,
Lynn
Posted by Jaye Smith on June 8, 2020
Dan's passion for preservation is a stirring tribute and will remain as a lasting memorial for all to learn from. Our love to Sheri and Keith and the entire family - embrace the memories.
Posted by Eric Wegren on June 8, 2020
Papa always said that if you take care of your body, it will last you a lifetime. He was quick with a joke and exceptionally witty. His humor and stories will be deeply missed. One summer in Midas, Papa and I dug holes near "The Green House", and erected rows of his signature old wooden posts. We then planted grape seeds in hopes that the area would turn into a beautiful vineyard. I will never forget the tales he told me that summer of his Kearney adventures, Midas shenanigans, and of course when he and his brothers were flocked by bats whilst exploring caves near Pyramid Lake. Papa, you will be in our hearts forever. I know that the next time I am in Midas, you will be looking down on me with Lena and Smoky. Love you Papa!
Posted by Danny Bennett on June 7, 2020
I met Danny Dale Bennett at my eye specialist's office in Tucson. We were both waiting for our appointments when the receptionist called for Mr. Bennett. We both stood up. She then said Danny Bennett and we both stayed standing. Needless to say we were both stunned at first and then burst into laughter as the entire office did. What were the chances of having the same first and last name at the same time in such a small office. I chatted briefly with Danny and found that he lived in the same town in Nebraska as my best friend. Needless to say, that meeting another Danny Bennett made my day. I found him and his wife to be kind and pleasant. I have told this story many times to friends and family members with a chuckle and a great memory. I was saddened to hear from my friend in Nebraska that Danny Dale Bennett had passed away. I feel honored to have met him.
Posted by Kaycee Thompson on June 6, 2020
To narrow down the memories of my Papa seems impossible. Between santa hat shopping, skipping through the mall, using our nicknames while we played pretend, milkshakes at Austin's, adventures in Midas, playing tennis at the center, and knowing I would always see his face at every piano recital or softball game, I just can't seem to pick the perfect story to share. Papa always knew how to bring a smile to my face and make me laugh. I will miss him so dearly and will always treasure all of the sweet, musical, and some hysterical memories I hold of him. Love you always, Papa. -Kaycee Dan
Posted by Ron Hansen on June 6, 2020
Joan:
So sorry about the loss of Dan. Will so miss the chats when you were back for class reunions. Dan was a truly unique friend that I would have liked to have more time to spend with. Guess too much distance between.
Take care.

Ron Hansen and Elsie
Posted by Jim Gulka on June 2, 2020
Dan, I will miss you and our middle of the street discussions. 
Posted by Lynn Grabill on June 2, 2020
I am so sorry to learn of Dan's passing. I have many good memories of Dan during our high school, years. We were in the Senior Boys Quartet, along with Dean Wiegert and Bob thomazen. My Condolences to Joan and their family.

Lynn Grabill
Posted by Carol Jackson on June 1, 2020
I first met Dan one morning when I was walking up the canyon in Midas . He was doing yard work at their home in Midas. He asked me if I had ever seen baby rattlers as he had some in a burlap covered box on the back of a trailer. I was curious as to what kind of crazy person would keep baby rattlers so I had to look. Inside were babies baby rattles. He got the biggest kick out of fooling me. Well, a few years later my son married his wonderful daughter and I got to know him well. What a wonderful, talented, amazing , kind , fun, gentle soul he was. A truly remarkable man that will be soooo missed. My heart and prayers are with all of his wonderful family. So glad I had the chance to know him. Rest well Dan. I`m sure we will still see a few of your tricks in Midas.
Posted by Janet MALONEY on June 1, 2020
We would meet Dan often on our morning walks and he always gave us a chuckle. He would tease me on my pronunciation of Nevaahda, the British pronunciation. He is missed, our walks are a little more lonely now, Joan we wish you peace,
Dave and Janet Maloney.

Posted by Paula and Tony Scheuller on May 29, 2020
Oh, Dannyboy! You will be so missed. Thank God that we were able, over 50+ years, to be part of your “doozies”. The world is a better place, as are our lives and our family, for having such a gift in it. We had such fun and special memories! Love you, Joan, all the kids, (yes, the dogs, too), and God Bless, Tony and Paula Scheuller

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Elizabeth Neuens on June 21, 2020
Happy Father’s Day Uncle Dan. I know you are making heaven a more creative and colorful place and making the angels laugh! What an amazing and wonderful life you had on earth and I was so blessed by you, my Auntie Joan and my wonderful and FUN cousins. I have such great memories of Midas, Dog Valley, arrowhead hunting, Christmas Tree cutting and Christmas Eve at your house. You made it all so special. I still talk about the PeePee-TeePee when I take my grandsons camping! Haha they get a big kick out of that story!
Until we meet again,
Your loving (and sometimes bratty) niece,
Lynn
Posted by Jaye Smith on June 8, 2020
Dan's passion for preservation is a stirring tribute and will remain as a lasting memorial for all to learn from. Our love to Sheri and Keith and the entire family - embrace the memories.
Posted by Eric Wegren on June 8, 2020
Papa always said that if you take care of your body, it will last you a lifetime. He was quick with a joke and exceptionally witty. His humor and stories will be deeply missed. One summer in Midas, Papa and I dug holes near "The Green House", and erected rows of his signature old wooden posts. We then planted grape seeds in hopes that the area would turn into a beautiful vineyard. I will never forget the tales he told me that summer of his Kearney adventures, Midas shenanigans, and of course when he and his brothers were flocked by bats whilst exploring caves near Pyramid Lake. Papa, you will be in our hearts forever. I know that the next time I am in Midas, you will be looking down on me with Lena and Smoky. Love you Papa!
Recent stories

A special tradition

Shared by Keith Thompson on July 4, 2020
I woke up this morning, on the 4th of July, thinking of Dan and the Bennett Family.  For the past 30 years or so, my 4th of July has been spent in Midas, NV.  I remember the first being an "honorary" carrying of the 4th of July Banner with my new girlfriend, Sheri...I remember the countless horseshoe tournaments between the NOBs and the SOBs...I remember the kids games....the homemade parade floats....the flag waving spectators...the many dances after the day was done...the many BBQs taking in the beautiful weather...but most of all, I remember Dan leading the charge to get as many of the family & friends he could each year to join Joan and him for a celebration on the deck.  You see, 4th of July isn't just fireworks, BBQs, and flag waving. It is the gathering of family & friends year after year on a special day to celebrate.  Thank you, Dan, for sharing your special tradition.  Forever grateful.
Shared by Lynn Grabill on June 3, 2020
Our Grand Island Nebraska Senior Quartet, 1958.  Left to right, Dan, bob Thomazin, Dean Wiegert , me
Shared by Pat Pearson Shafto on June 3, 2020
One of my favorite memories of. City cousin Danny was he visited the farm and wanted to see a chicken lay an egg.  So Patsy and Danny got two sticks and went to the chicken house.  We tried to hold the hen up and wait for the egg to fall.    But to no avail...no egg fell.  I am sure the hen  was thinking what is going on...Only one of many adventures.  I got to visit Danny and we would go to the movies.  Lots of fun for country cousin Patsy.  My heart hurts for your family.  Such a full life Dan had.  A real tribute to him.