Dan and I worked together at Organic. He had what I’d describe as an aura of kindness. He was approachable, humorous and genuinely caring. We didn’t speak often, but on occasion we’d talk cars and life. Dan once noticed the DEMF sticker I had on my Moleskine, which lead to stories about my involvement with the festival in 2001 through text messaging. I could never tell if he was interested in my anecdotes or not, but he was so polite, he’d let me ramble about cultures coming together through technology and music.
When I left Organic for New York, he was one of the few people I wrote a thank you note to for being such a great colleague. He was also one of the few who wrote back.
Prodigiously, I had the opportunity to return (albeit temporarily at the time), as part of the Omnicom media planning company PHD, focused on winning the heart of Chrysler LLC’s CMO with a pre-bankruptcy “we’re back” media strategy. Low and behold, across the room from where we presented, was a small group from Organic. Dan was there with us, smiling as we rolled out a series of digital media strategies that played symbiotically to Organic’s strengths.
Post-meeting, Dan and I were able to catch up quickly. He was excited to work with us, and made a point to simply let me know he was happy to see my career blossom in Manhattan.
Dan and I would indirectly stay in touch throughout the course of the last few years. His humor showing up on threads of comments between mutual friends.
Earlier this week I was informed that Dan was losing his battle with ocular melanoma – a deadly cancer that spread to his liver. Many of us didn’t know Dan was ill. It was jarring to find out and I admittedly did not take the news well. Today, Dan passed.
There are so many people in our lives who shape us. Dan’s kindness was a subtle attribute as was his creativity and deep passion for chronicling the cultural relevancy of our city. Like Detroit techno, Dan’s spirit will live on.
Rest in Peace my friend.