In Memoriam: 1946 ME Graduate Daniel H. Neviaser

The Department of Mechanical Engineering extends its condolences to the family of Daniel H. Neviaser of Madison, Wisconsin. Neviaser, age 81, died peacefully on June 16, 2004. Neviaser graduated in 1946 from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, having started in 1943.

He was born on Oct. 14, 1922, in Washington, D.C., to John and Mildred Neviaser. He was raised in Arlington and Vienna, Va. Dan and his brother, Buddy (Charles), were raised fatherless and in the early years they and their mother boarded in other people's homes. This background gave Dan and his brother the incentive to help young people along the way.

His college years at Maryland were interrupted from 1943 until 1946 when he served as a paratrooper officer with the 13th Airborne Division in the United States, and in the 11th Airborne Division in the Philippine Islands. Having learned a little Tagalog, the Philippine language, Dan was given command of Japanese P.O.W. Camp No. 15, just north of Manila. In the Army of Occupation of Japan, he attended the Japanese war trials for the Class A criminals and then spent a summer playing baseball in Japan for the 11th Airborne Division. After the war, Dan completed his engineering degree.

Dan was also a founder and chairman of the Madison Muskies Class A minor league baseball team. Dan was also past chairman and owner/operator of T.V. stations KLBK, Lubbock, Texas, and KTXS, Abilene, Texas, along with friends from the athletic world. While working in various ventures Dan found time to be state campaign chairman for Wilbur Renk for governor in 1962, Renk for senator in 1964 and Bob Warren for attorney general for Wisconsin in 1968, and also the Wisconsin treasurer for George Romney. Dan started a program at his Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel for free rooms for families who have loved ones in the hospital during the Christmas season. It is now a national program called "Operation Care." He was past chairman of the UW-Madison School of Business Board of Visitors; a member of the Weinert Applied Ventures Board for UW MBA students; past president of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters; past director of Madison Visitors and Convention Bureau; nine-year trustee of Edgewood College and chairman of their buildings and grounds committee. At Edgewood High School, he organized a business advisory board for Sister Kathleen O'Donnell. He served on the advisory board for the Salvation Army.

He was a strong supporter of the UW athletic teams having served as president of the Badgers Basketball Booster Club and was a recipient of the University of Wisconsin Pat O'Dea Award for the Madison Sports Hall of Fame Club. He also was selected UW Basketball Fan of the Year in 1993. During his lifetime, Dan received numerous awards and honors including the NAACP Unsung Heroes Award in 1977, the NAACP Meritorious Service Award, the PAMANA Filipino American Friendship Award, the Dane County Small Business Award, the Edgewood High School Alumni Appreciation Award and the Madison Convention and Business Bureau Capitol City Cup. He loved people, especially young men and women. As such he started and supported the first juvenile shelter home in Madison in St. Raphael's Convent as an alternative to jail. He raised six children, was a surrogate father for more than 30 years for two other young men, a Big Brother to five minority students and a sponsor and fundraiser for South Madison Child Development Center.

He was an active member of the Madison Club, Maple Bluff Country Club, Madison, Pelican Bay Country Club and Vineyards Country Club in Naples, Fla., where he loved to play golf and gin rummy. He was an avid reader of science books. He preferred educational travel, especially enjoying his trips to Cambridge and Oxford universities in England to study subjects such as the history of math and science.

Most of all he loved his wife and family. Survivors include his wife of 26 years, B. Ann; five children and a stepson, Jennifer (Stephen) Christy of Chicago, Ill., Gayle Kelso, Verona, Bruce (Susan), Madison, Donald (Leslie), Verona, Gerald (Elizabeth), Fitchburg, and David (Lisa) Smith, Madison; grandchildren, Stephen and Danielle Christy, Chicago, Ill., Marci (Paul) Samuels, Gulf Breeze, Fla., Shaun and Shelby Kelso, Verona, Claire and Nicholas Neviaser, Madison, Rachel Neviaser, Fitchburg, and Jordan and Lauren Smith, Madison; two great-grandchildren, Tabitha and Gunnar Samuels, Gulf Breeze, Fla.; a brother, Charles (Doris) Neviaser of Jacksonville, Fla.; a niece, Nancy (Robert) Baker, Jacksonville, Fla.; and nephews, Michael (Lee) Neviaser, Jacksonville, Fla., and Jon (Wanda) Neviaser, Boise, Idaho. He was preceded in death by his mother, Mildred, on Oct. 23, 1995; and his father, John, in April 1975.

Contributions in memory of Daniel Neviaser may be made to the Daniel H. Neviaser Entrepreneurship Fund, care of The University of Wisconsin Foundation, 1848 University Ave., Madison, WI 53705. The fund was established in Dan's honor by his son Bruce to provide scholarships and seed money grants for young entrepreneurs at the UW School of Business.

Published July 1, 2004