Dan Johnson was not a commenter here at TNIAAM, but that doesn't mean he was any less a part of the Syracuse community. Sadly, Dan passed away on Friday at Crouse Hospital, at the age of 68.
Many knew Dan as "Orangeyes" over at Syracusefan.com, and many more came to know him as an important figure in getting the Ernie Davis statue built on campus. While I never met Dan, a lot of other folks have other the years. One of those people -- Mark Bradwick (aka TexanMark, whom many of us know from Syracusefan.com and the many tailgates he's organized) -- was able to share some thoughts with me, and help put Dan's life and passing in perspective:
"Dan was one of those superfans that lives and breathes SU sports. He grew up as a fan who just bled orange. His claim to fan was pushing for the Ernie Davis statue and Syracusefan.com's links -- which were used by fans and even media folks who knew they could go there and click on everything relevant."
I'll attest to checking those links pretty regularly myself, both for my work here and with my old ACC site.
"Dan wasn't a rich man, but he had a rich life. He was loved by his family and everyone who knew him. He will be really missed. His illness dragged out for the past three or four months, but he's dealt with it for his entire adult life; for over 20 years. Dan was always good for a story at tailgate -- he knew more information about what happened with the Orange from when he was a kid. Anything that happened from the 50s and 60s on, he probably knew the answer."
Much of Dan's path to Orange obsession probably rings true for many of us -- no matter where we live now, or whether we ever attend Syracuse at all. It's a passion like many others. It hooks you whether you like it or not, and once you're in... well, you're in for life. From all accounts, Dan lived and breathed Syracuse. And for that, it's unlikely the greater Syracuse community, internet and elsewhere, will forget him and his passion for the Orange.
Rather than say more about Dan's passing, I'll direct everyone to several links that do so much better than I ever could:
Rest In Peace Dan Johnson. A great man, father, husband who loved Syracuse. Bless his family. #OrangeNation— Coach Scott Shafer (@Coach_Shafer) July 12, 2014
Rest in peace, Dan. You'll be missed throughout the Syracuse community. Our thoughts go out to your family in this difficult time.