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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Local philanthropist, community activist passes away

Local philanthropist, community activist passes away

Allen Danos, Jr., age 68, passed away in his sleep early Friday morning, January 23rd. He and Hank, his brother, partner, and best friend were the owners of Danos & Curole Marine Contractors (now known as Danos, Inc.).
Together they built one of the major oilfield service companies in south Louisiana. Hank said he and Al had disagreements but never a major argument in all the years they worked together.

Al retired several years ago to concentrate on the many interests he enjoyed.

And, Al Danos had many interests!

First and foremost in Al’s life was family. His highest priority was his four grown children, six grandchildren and a new great-grandchild. Their images decorated the walls of his home and were embedded in his heart. Known to the grand kids as “Tu Tu”, Al’s greatest pleasure was watching them laugh and learn and grow into the beautiful young people they have become.

He left them all a lifetime of cherished memories.

Al also had many friends. Among them were farmers, ranchers, hunters, college presidents and high school dropouts. He was as comfortable talking to a group of young students as he was discussing issues with state and national public officials.

He enjoyed hosting informal lunches at his home with fellas from assorted academic, economic, and social backgrounds. The discussions might center on local politics, church activities, horses, or a fundraiser for one of the many charities he supported.

The favorite spot on this earth for Al Danos was a hunting retreat he owned known as Cheerful Valley. Friends and family would gather here all during the year to fish and hunt and relax at a beautiful cabin in the peaceful woods just north of St. Francisville, LA.

Al was a sportsman and a conservationist. He and his late wife, Mary, carved out the perfect location for a stocked pond and raised home site in the wild and rugged woods of West Feliciana Parish.

Although Mary died a couple of years ago, her signature of taste and charm will forever be seen throughout this large tract of land. Her soft touch has always been a welcomed addition in the cabin among the scoped rifles, camouflage clothing, and mounted trophy bucks taken by family members on the property.

Like a fine diamond, Al Danos had many facets. To some he was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community activist. Many knew him as a guy who raised horses and cattle. Some who saw him in a wheelchair in the last few years of his life thought of him as being physically impaired. After a lengthy battle with a from of muscular dystrophy, Al could no longer walk, but the only thing handicapped to Al was the license plate on his specially equipped van.

He accepted the challenges in his life and worked fearlessly to overcome the obstacles he faced.
When he was younger, in addition to his work in the oilfield marine and service industry, Al was involved in real estate, banking, and many civic and religious organizations. He served as president of his church council, and the South Lafourche Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the Greater Lafourche Port Commission and as Chairman of the Lafourche Beachfront Development Committee.

As busy as he was, for several years he took the time to prepare for and teach a series of business classes to local fifth graders.

Al also liked to travel, especially with family and friends. Work took him to numerous parts of the world including Africa, but his favorite vacation site in the world was Provence, France. Here, and in Canada and Nova Scotia, he developed a love for the French language.

Always interested in the history and culture of his birthplace, Al knew a little Cajun French when he was young. He developed an unquenchable appetite for learning to speak French.

Being the strongly determined person he was, Al studied hard and became very fluent in not only speaking the language but also, writing, and reading French. He traveled to St. Ann University in Nova Scotia to participate in four weeks of total immersion in speaking French. While there he made a contribution to the university and saw to it that the school became wheel chair accessible.

Upon returning home he continued early morning classes over the phone, and a monthly French class with friends at the local library. And, just before bedtime, Al could be heard many evenings on the phone reciting the Lords Prayer in French to his young granddaughter before she went to sleep.

On a personal note, I cannot help but remember the early years when my family used to vacation with Al and his family. We all went snow skiing in Colorado and white water rafting in North Carolina.

We hunted together, rode horseback, picked blackberries, and fished for perch in the pond behind his house. We played tennis, had cookouts, and lively discussions about politics. He was an early riser and had a days work done by the time most of us were waking up.

He was a kind and generous man. He gave and raised money for many good causes and always contributed his time and talents to his church and community.

Al was the most disciplined person I have ever known. In both business and personal matters, his decisions were always made after much thought and prayer. He planned ahead and worked tirelessly for the things he believed in.

Al Danos was a loving husband, father and grandfather … easy to get along with and fun to be around.

Al became a devoted and faithful friend to me and many others. He was a good person who touched many lives. Those of us who were close to him were thrilled that Al had met a lady to love and he spent his last days a happy man excitedly looking forward to a new life and wonderful adventures ahead.

This community has suffered a great loss. Al Danos will be greatly missed.

Rest in peace my friend.