Daniel Thomas Pieper was born a Kentucky boy on October 17, 1945. He was known as Danny, “to those who loved me most,” as he liked to say. He was the oldest of a rambunctious group of five brothers, whose love for each other only deepened as they grew into men. He spent his early adult years studying religion and theology at Bellarmine College and Sacred Heart Monastery in Louisville. It was here that he met his dearest friends, a brotherhood that would last his lifetime.
Danny’s life was changed forever when his cousin introduced him to her friend, a beautiful girl named Peggy. They fell in love, married, and soon started a family. Their two daughters, Jill Wright (Chad) and Lisa Gunderson (Shane), adore their dad. Danny and Peggy just celebrated their 50th anniversary last October.
The Piepers moved to Indiana and found a community of young families, who remain close friends today. They celebrated life together with dinner parties, competitive euchre tournaments, and vacations to the beach with the kids. It was in Indiana that Danny began and grew in his insurance career. He excelled due in great part to his engaging personality and integrity.
Later in life, after moving to Florida, Danny studied and graduated with a Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology from Barry University. He admired his professors and found great pleasure in the deep discussions and camaraderie he shared with his fellow classmates.
One of the most meaningful experiences of Danny’s life was the day he climbed Long’s Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park with one of his dearest friends. The journey to the summit provided him with a perspective and reverence for God’s power and faithfulness that would carry him through the most trying times in his life.
Over the last twenty years, Danny dealt with three brain tumors, along with other difficult health issues. We all know this was more than anyone should have to suffer, but we watched him live with dignity and courage and he never lost his sense of humor. He found ways to share his deep faith with those who were searching for their own. He made many friends through volunteering with his church’s RCIA group and was respected and treasured by them all. He also volunteered at the local hospital, spending time with and encouraging children who were also dealing with cancer diagnoses.
Danny was a scholar, a writer, and a theologian at heart. He loved history, books, theatre, and music of all kinds, but especially Willie Nelson. He loved hiking in the mountains and long bicycle rides. He enjoyed a strong Manhattan and good conversation. He was a Kentucky Wildcats fan and a coffee snob.
Danny had a talent with the written word, able to be both poignant and humorous. He spent years creating a moving memoir, which is now a treasured gift to all of us. In the eulogy that he wrote for his own mother, he reminded us that the spirits of our loved ones live on in the qualities and virtues they share with the next generation. And so, we whole heartedly believe that Danny will live on through his cherished grandchildren. We will see him in Ella’s intelligence and artistry; in Roan’s joyful spirit and love of nature; and in Elias’s compassion and voracious appetite for good books.
Danny passed away on February 10, 2022. While we will always wish for more time with him, we are grateful he has found peace with God. Peggy, along with her daughters and grandchildren, will have a private memorial to honor Danny at the mountain he loved, Long’s Peak. We will plan a memorial with extended family and friends at a future time when it is safe to gather together. We’re so grateful to all of you who loved Danny so much.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Danny’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital @ www.stjude.org.