Dan Howard Abraham

Dan Howard Abraham

Neosho, Newton County, Missouri, USA
Death 30 Aug 2020 (aged 72)
Longview, Cowlitz County, Washington, USA
Burial Longview, Cowlitz County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 215178576 · View Source
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Dan Howard Abraham was born to James Howard and Margaret (née Lee) Abraham at Sale Memorial Hospital in Neosho, Newton County, Missouri on June 2, 1948. He was the third child and second son in a family of four children born to “Jim and Maggie”.

After World War II, Jim and Maggie moved during 1946 from Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri with their first two children and settled near the community of Noel in the southwestern part of McDonald County, Missouri. Noel is a small village on the Elk River nestled in the beautiful timbered Ozark Mountains. It has large overhanging limestone bluffs along the west side of State Highway 59 which intersects with the Main Street bridge of Noel. Before and after World War II, it was primarily a small resort community offering campgrounds, cabin rentals, swimming, and fishing.

Following the Abraham family’s move to the resort area, Jim and Maggie purchased, in 1947, Mount Shira Lodge, beach, and campground on the Elk River (north of Noel on MO-59 Hwy) from J. A. “Dad” Truitt and operated it until 1952. The lodge had three floors; they rented the third floor lodge rooms and campground space to vacationers, and canoes for float trips. Besides working at the lodge and campground, Jim was a contractor who worked at establishing a construction business in the area.

The lodge and beach was Dan’s first home and it was fondly reminisced by his family as their most enjoyable family business that they had the opportunity to operate. At the time of Dan’s birth, Jake was the family dog. He was a mixed breed who decided Dan was his responsibility and rarely left the little boy’s side. As soon as Dan was able to walk, Jake could be seen using his teeth to take hold of the seat of Dan’s pants or shorts to maneuver him away from any potential harm such as the edge of the river. Jake’s gentle love and care fostered a lifelong love of dogs in Dan.

By the time Dan was about twelve years old, his Dad had a well-established construction business and the family was living on a farm about three miles south and one mile west of Noel. While walking through a residential area near Noel, a boy that Dan knew from school ran up to him to show off his BB gun. As they looked at the gun, the boy noticed a dog and raised the gun to shoot the dog. Dan responded by shouting, “Don’t shoot the dog!” He was ignored and in the next moment the boy pulled the trigger as Dan knocked the gun upward to keep the dog from being hit by the shot. The dog ran off as the boys argued over what had happened.

Later that same evening the local sheriff came to the Abraham farm to talk to Jim and Maggie. Someone had seen two boys fighting over a BB gun shortly after a large picture window had been shattered by a BB hitting its glass. The sheriff stated that one of the boys had been identified as Dan Abraham and he needed to question him. Dan verified that he had been one of the boys and explained what had happened. Dan and the boy had been so busy disagreeing that they didn’t think to check where the BB shot went and hadn’t realized the damage it had caused.

The sheriff stated that the woman who owned the home which had been hit by the BB wanted to press charges. Jim asked if he and Dan could first meet with the lady to see if they could work out something to her satisfaction other than having the boys charged with a crime. The woman agreed to meet with Jim and Dan that evening.

At the meeting, Dan apologized for what had happened to her window and explained how it had happened. Jim asked if instead of her pressing charges against the boys, would it be agreeable with her to have Dan make the majority of the repairs under his supervision and assistance with Jim doing any work that might need the finishing touch of more experienced hands to ensure a job well done; all costs would be covered by Jim, Dan, and the father of the other boy. She agreed and Dan started work that evening learning from his Dad how to safely remove the remaining broken shards of glass from the window frame, how to cleanup the broken glass inside and outside the house, how to measure the window to determine the size of glass needed for replacement, and how to measure then safely cut with an electric saw the plywood needed to cover and secure the window until the glass could be replaced. On his own initiative, Dan listened, learned, worked hard, and did a good job with the work needed to replace the window. His parents were proud of him for understanding on his own that replacing the window was not punishment but part of what it took to ensure that an animal hadn’t been maliciously harmed and to fix the accidental damage incurred to a person's home.

Dan attended the elementary, junior high and high school at Noel except for his 8th grade year when the Abraham family lived in Siloam Springs, Benton County, Arkansas. Shortly before his seventeenth birthday, he hitchhiked to Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri with a couple of friends to voluntarily enlist to serve their country. One friend enlisted in the United States Army, the other in the United States Navy, and Dan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for four years (1965-1969). He was stationed in Vietnam for 23 months and 11 days during two (December 1966–December 1968) of the three years that had the highest recorded deaths of military personnel.

He attended his basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California as a member of the Third Battalion, Platoon 341, Regimental Honor Platoon. They had commenced training on July 5, 1965 and graduated September 14, 1965. Dan briefly returned home before reporting to Memphis, Tennessee for helicopter training; his father wanted to spend more time with his son and decided to drive him to the training facility in Memphis from Noel.

Dan volunteered for duty in Vietnam and was flown out from Travis Air Force Base in California. He arrived in South Vietnam at the Da Nang military base then went on to the base at Chu Lai. In addition to Chu Lai, he eventually spent time at Phu Bai then Da Nang. He served as a crew chief on a MedEvac helicopter which flew the wounded to the medical complex at Da Nang; as one helicopter pilot described the crew chiefs assigned to gunships in Vietnam, a crew chief is "part mechanic, part pilot, an ordnance expert, and a darn good machine gunner." Dan also served in the infantry and was heavily sprayed, along with his unit, with the powerful herbicide and defoliant Agent Orange following ground combat.

Among the medals he received for his service were the Combat Aircrew Wings and the Combat Infantry Wings. At the end of his four-year enlistment period, he was honorable discharged as a Marine Corps Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), rank of Corporal (E-4).

After completing his enlistment with the U. S. Marine Corps, Dan served in the Merchant Marine. He worked as an oiler in the engineering department of the Walter Rice, a bulk carrier ore ship that docked at Reynolds Metals Company. About 1973 he decided to permanently drop anchor and go to work as a millwright at Reynolds Metals Company located beside the Columbia River in Longview, Cowlitz County, Washington. He had met the love of his life, Judith "Judi" Williams, at Longview and decided to go to work for the company where she worked as an accountant and office manager. His future father-in-law was employed there as production superintendent, and his future brother-in-law also worked there. Dan worked at Reynolds until the plant closed in 2001.

From 1974 through 1990, Dan volunteered as a Reserve Police Officer in Kelso, Washington. Reserves are citizens who donate at least 12 hours per month to assist patrol and detective divisions. They must meet the same standards as those of a regular police officer, must attend all required training, and are never used to replace regular officers.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents, James and Margaret (née Lee) Abraham; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Donald and Alvera (née Lowe) Williams; brother and sister-in-law, James and Ellie (née Pace) Abraham; and brother-in-law, Scott G. Williams.

Exposure to the toxic chemicals of Agent Orange (sprayed at a concentration up to 20 times the manufacturer’s recommendation) resulted in a lifetime of health issues for the individuals exposed to it. Like so many others, Dan’s battles did not end when his enlistment was up; he continued on with many individual battles regarding the health issues he faced due to chemicals such as dioxin in Agent Orange. When a tumor was discovered in his right eye, ocular brachytherapy (radioactive seeds on a thin gold plaque placed on the eye near the tumor during surgery) was attempted to save the eye but the tumor continued to grow; his eye had to be removed. Dan’s most determined fight came after being diagnosed with one year or less to live. His cancer was inoperable but he chose to fight the toughest battle of his life despite the odds and managed to live five additional years fighting the metastatic lung and liver melanoma before succumbing to the cancer and pneumonia. After being admitted Saturday morning, 29 August 2020, he quietly passed away at St. John Medical Center the next day during the afternoon with his loving wife at his side.

Dan is survived by his wife, Judi; two sisters and one brother-in-law; two sisters-in-law and their husbands; 2 nieces and 4 nephews; 5 great-nieces and 4 great-nephews. Dan also had close bonds to Judi's family of numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews; great-niece Kyla was at Dan's bedside with her great-aunt Judi when he passed.

The most fortunate day of Dan’s life was when Judi and he were married. It was obvious from their first meeting that they were meant to be together; his heart instantly melted when she looked up into his eyes for the first time and smiled. His love for her motivated him to fight to live to be with her for as long as he could. She loved and stood by him for forty-six years through all the trials and tribulations brought on by the toll his faithful service to his country extracted from him. Dan and Judi are the kind of heroes everyone would wish to have in their lives; they always had each other’s backs through every tough battle they faced.

Like so many Vietnam veterans returning home from battle, Dan had to face scorn from individuals who treated our veterans poorly. The antiWAR (NOT anti-soldier) movement was not meant to be interpreted as being directed at our soldiers, it was meant to support our soldiers by criticizing the government’s treatment of them.

The United States Government was treating our soldiers as expendable. They failed to provide reliable equipment to the soldiers, dangerous chemicals were sprayed near or on our men and women that would have devastating lifelong health problems on their lives as well as potential birth defects in their future children, and the government continually failed to adequately care for the physical and mental health of all veterans. The second half of the 20th Century was becoming a time when our country started wars to send our soldiers to instead of ending wars, as in the first half of the century, to bring our soldiers home.

The antiWAR protests were meant to challenge and guard against possible misplaced influence and power of the “military-industrial complex” forewarned by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower during his farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961. Our nation was entering a time when it was starting to became apparent that war could be used as a lucrative source to generate profit for a few at the cost of the lives of our young men and women. Many citizens were concerned that Eisenhower's warning of "the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist" was applicable to the era of Vietnam.

During the Vietnam Era people in the United States saw daily television news reports showing what was happening in Vietnam to our soldiers. Newspapers every day showed headlines and pictures that tore at our hearts for the men and women serving our country. We didn’t want our soldiers’ lives to be cut short or our veterans to suffer the rest of their life with endless pain and illness inflicted upon their bodies due to chemical warfare. The profiteers within and outside the government saw the antiWAR movement gaining momentum and it benefited them to start propaganda that the protests were directed at the soldiers; they were successfully creating a smokescreen to protect their interests and conceal their unwarranted influence.

As I reminded my brother, Dan, for every person he encountered that treated him poorly because he was a soldier, there were millions of us (wives, husbands, children, fathers, mothers, siblings, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, neighbors, veterans, strangers) who loved our soldiers, supported them, worried about them every day that they served, and continued to worry whether they would be provided with needed medical care due to the toll their devoted service levied upon their bodies. Like Dan and Judi having each other’s backs, the majority of us at home had the backs of all soldiers and were fighting for them through the antiWAR protests so they could have a future to return home where they would be valued as individuals, appreciated for their service to their country, and recognized for their sacrifices not only by family and friends but by the nation as a whole and by the government who sent them to war. As we talked, emotion began to well up in his voice as he thought about the people who had supported him and other soldiers he had known. Those supporters had always been there and were still strong in their conviction for soldiers and veterans while the scorn of others had begun to fade under the enduring support.

Dan had an intuitive quick wit and enjoyed making people laugh. We miss his intellect, his laughter and our laughter blending together, his strength, and his kindness. He enjoyed reading and studying history, especially in relation to the military and World War II, and loved traveling and vacationing with family and friends. Dan stayed active in supporting the Marines and all veterans throughout his life. With his passing, the world has lost another torch that lit our country’s path with honorable service.

He is greatly missed by his family and friends. It is a comfort during our time of grief to share this memorial for Dan with you. It was Dan’s hope, and is his family’s hope, that any soldier or veteran who has been poorly treated by protesters will reflect on the millions of people who make up the families of soldiers and veterans as well as the people who aren’t related to a soldier or a veteran but truly appreciate what each has done for our country – please, in your hearts, allow these voices to take precedent over and subdue those who attempt to criticize your dedicated service. Without the men and women who have served and who are currently serving, the United States of America would not survive -- YOU ARE THIS COUNTRY’S STRENGTH. The majority of the people in this nation have your backs; please look around at your family, friends, fellow soldiers and veterans, and strangers that count on your service and are grateful for all you have done. The protests of the Vietnam years were never intended by your supporters to be anti-soldier; they were anti-government for escalating our presence in Vietnam and for not meeting the needs of our soldiers/our loved ones. Please know we grieve with each loss of one of our soldiers; it hurts to see the lights of each generation of veterans lost one by one. We owe so much to each of you. THANK YOU FROM OUR HEARTS.

Biography Contributed to Find A Grave by L. ABRAHAM, sibling of Dan Howard ABRAHAM.

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  • Created by: L. Abraham
  • Added: 3 Sep 2020
  • Find a Grave Memorial 215178576
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dan Howard Abraham (2 Jun 1948–30 Aug 2020), Find a Grave Memorial no. 215178576, citing Longview Memorial Park, Longview, Cowlitz County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by L. Abraham (contributor 47495388) .