You’re going to think I’m joking, and I’m not going to blame you because it sounds far out. But this obituary totally made my Friday. Read the whole thing; I think at the end you’ll wish you had known this fellow, just the same as I did.
Dandelion B. Treecraft died August 4, 2011
Born: April 30, 1949, Fresno, California,
Dam: Nina Isabel Guard, a shy, rural North Carolina girl, graduated from the University of North Carolina at age 18.
Sire: Vernon Willard Whipple, a dangerous-charming Fresno boy who managed to graduate from Fresno High School.
Christened “Daniel Bryan Whipple” at his birth, in Fresno, California, Dan endured 13 mind-numbing years of public schooling in California, Washington, and Florida before enlisting in the US Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. Thereafter, he worked as a carpenter, and a wood tank “cooper” in Fresno. After divorcing Leta, his wife of six years [formerly, his step-mother for 12 years], Dan moved to Spokane in June, 1980, and took up, promptly, with a former babysitter from his grade-school years. This was two weeks after Mt. Saint Helens’ historic off-topping.\
A short stint with the Spokane City garbage collection squad was followed by a similarly-short hitch, ‘cold-canvassing’ for one of Spokane’s leading predatory roofing and siding contractors. That invaluable vocational experience was followed by six years employment at an industrial transformer manufacturing plant – which failed to lead to tenure, as the company moved its facility to North Carolina to take advantage of a lower-wage environment.
In late 1980, Mr. Treecraft joined the Spokane Unitarian Church, whose very active singles group had a surplus of women 10 to 20 years his senior. This was truly a golden era for Dan. He eventually graduated from the Unitarian Church in 1997, with a degree of Critical Thinking. A doldrum period of employment coincided in the late –80s, and included a brief attempt to enter the medical industry as a nurse-aide. This proved, after all, not to be a good fit, as Dan felt compelled to take half of his charges home to provide more adequate personal nurturance, while the remainder, he felt, should be taken out over-night, and shot.
From 1991 until 2009, having found his calling, Dan employed himself as an arborist, changed his legal name, and attempted to make an honest living providing ethical tree care. Anyone who’s attempted to make a living – ethically – can attest that it is no small feat. Mr. Treecraft’s scorecard, here, looks fairly good – if graded on a –curve’. He was pleased, though, that many of his clients also became enduring friends.
In 1991, while pruning an ancient apple tree for a frugal-but-charming South Hill matron, Dan met his second-wife-to-be. Nearly eight years passed, before she managed to come to Dan’s attention again. Jan and Dan were married on the Autumnal Equinox, 2001, a pot luck affair which drew a crowd of well under one thousand.
The next nine years passed in what appeared to be sublime, flawless bliss. Both Treecrafts were generally satisfied to let that appearance prevail. It was a period of considerable inner growth, especially for Jan. For Dan, it was a time of great inner testing. The result was, after all, a passably agreeable relationship for a near-decade. No small feat in this day.
In the Fall of 2008, Dan noticed a mild, chronic sore throat, and some difficulty swallowing. The symptoms persisted, eventually joined by others, until Dan finally agreed to see a doctor in February, 2010. Examination and biopsy revealed a tumor of some advanced development. A course of “no treatment” was decided upon and followed, until such time as the discomfort and dysfunction of his illness directed Dan to thoughtfully and humanely end his tenure. Jan stood by him throughout the eleven-month duration of his winding-down process, walking all the way – to the very edge – with him.
Some fuss has been made of Treecraft’s social and political activism. This aspect of his life has been significantly exaggerated, though it’s true he took pride in his pivotal role – forcing Alberto Gonzales to resign as head of the United States Justice Department’s team of international war criminals. Dan was also exceedingly proud of being ousted from several dozen Spokane City Council meetings, by Council President Joe Shogan.
Besides his wife, Jan, Mr. Treecraft is survived by their dog, Skippy, Cuckoo, the cat, Jan’s adult son, Max, Jan’s daughter, Molly, and Molly’s 4-year-old son, Ezra. Dan also leaves a half-brother, Bill Whipple, seven step-siblings [ too numerous and far-flung to name - Bobby, Jackie, Eddy, Sally, Nancy, Tommy and Susan ], and an unknown number of nieces and nephews. Dan had no children of his own [ if he did, not one of them ever called or wrote ].
Burial will be at Worley Township Cemetery 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 6, 2011. A caravan of grave-digging friends and well-wishers are expected to provide funereal talent, shovels, sweat, cheer, graveside manners. Eulogizers of quick-witted brevity are welcome to speak. Long-winded droners may be stoned and used as backfill. Bring a picnic lunch to share, and something to sit on. Please consider carpooling. It is hoped this event might inspire and bring together a few good people from across the county.
Those wanting to make memorial gifts are asked to give generously to the Spokane Center For Justice.