Douglas E. Daniels was born March 31, 1943, the second son of Eugene and Vera Daniels in Missoula, Mont. He attended elementary school in Ovando and Missoula, Mont. He graduated from Missoula High School and then attended college on a wrestling scholarship at Montana State in Bozeman. He also squeezed in one quarter at University of Montana, Ohio State extension classes in Mexico. He graduated from Montana State in June 1967 with a B.S. in civil engineering. After graduation he was employed by the Washington Highway Department in Kirkland, Wash., from June 1967 to September 1969. He then returned to Montana to work for a Great Falls company from September 1969 until April 1972, when that company moved him to Kalispell, where he managed the office until the fall of 1982.
When starting his career as an engineer, he married and started his family of three boys. During his college years in Bozeman, Doug and six lifelong buddies hitched around Europe, became smokejumpers, and still are great buddies today, though their ranks are thinning somewhat.
Doug’s love of the smokejumpers has always been a huge part of this life. He jumped in Alaska, Montana, Idaho, clear down to Cave Junction, where he said the trees were so tall they never had enough letdown rope. For 20 years at the other end of his life, he has been part of the Retired Smokejumpers Trail Crew. They head for the back country all over, repairing trails from winter wear, and fixing fences and ranger cabins in the wilderness areas. He spent most of his time in the Sawtooth area in Idaho, and more than several years down in Utah, usually based out of Cedar City.
After he was transferred to Bozeman, he started his own firm, Daniels & Associates. While still in Kalispell, he started a new life partnership with Marlene Phillips. Doug and Marlene also started Montmaps, a landowner reference map, and later developed large Montana state maps for classroom use.
Doug and Marlene became very close with the Pass Creek Community. Doug helped with the design and engineered whatever was needed with the building of the Pass Creek Community Center. Doug was on the board for the Center for some time.
They enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping in their campers in the Big Hole together and with one of Doug’s brothers. Doug had camped there with his family since he was about 3. After Marlene retired in ’97, they made many trips in their fifth-wheel to Alaska. Doug visited the areas where he jumped on fires in their early fire season. Doug was also an avid collector of diamond willow, which he fashioned into walking sticks and beautiful railings inside the house for Marlene.
Doug is survived by his wife, Marlene; sons Todd Daniels [Gwen] of Bozeman, Robb Daniels of Osage, Wyo., and David Daniels [Sara] of Seattle, Wash.; three stepsons, Michael Barragan [Pam] of Prineville, Ore., Steve Barragan [Kris] of Cape Cod, Mass., and David Barragan [Jana] of Columbus, Ohio; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Marlene and family would like to invite you to a Celebration of Life for Doug on June 19 at 3 p.m. at “The Ponds at Dry Creek,” 91 West Dry Creek Road, just across from and past the Dry Creek Church.
In lieu of flowers please contribute to a charity of your choice. Condolences & memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.