Monday, June 25, 2007

Paddling with Angels

Dan Colodney, my dearest friend, paddling partner, teacher, and mentor passed away last evening. He's taken a piece of my heart with him.

I'm so happy that I was able to be with him on Saturday, visiting with him and his wife Ellen, celebrating his birthday, laughing, and hugging, and telling him how much I loved him.

It was Dan who gave me the confidence and opportunity for real expedition, and to find my passion in distance paddling. He was one of the the first friends I wrote about when I started this blog, see Friends in Need, Friends Indeed.

He's has been one of my biggest cheerleaders in WaterTribe, even after a shoulder injury left him unable to participate as we had originally planned. We'd also always planned to return to Newfoundland to finish that part of our original 2004 trip beyond Burgeo where we were fogged out. He hated that we wouldn't be able to do the trip; I will never do it without him.

It was only 3 months ago he learned of the horrible stomach and liver cancer that would quickly take his life. For the past month he has been home in hospice care with Ellen and his dogs, and his family and friends. He was amazed and happy to realize that so many really cared. If you knew him, you knew a curmudgeon, yet to know him was also to love him.

I take comfort in thinking that Dan is now paddling around the clouds, and waiting for me. For now, he'll be expeditioning with the angels.

Some history about Dan from his family:

After a lifetime of adventure, Daniel Colodney died peacefully at his home on the Yeopim River, June 24 - two days after his 67th birthday.

Although he thought of himself a curmudgeon, that was his perception only! With his lifetime of activity, he was anything but! Dan brought joy and laughter to the hearts of all who were lucky enough to know him. He will be missed terribly.

He was born in Bronx, New York in 1940 and lived in White Plains, New York through high school. Dan served two years in the Air Force. He earned two college degrees, including a Bachelors Degree from Allegheny College, as well as a Masters from the University of Rhode Island. His professional life began as a research scientist at Colgate Palmolive Company. Dan developed the technology for clear gel and tartar control toothpaste.

After making significant contributions to Colgate, Dan and his wife Ellen moved to Edenton in 1996 so that he could play full time.

Dan was a man of passionate interests which he loved to share with others - if they could manage to keep up! He was certainly a gifted athlete. He participated in marathons, major wilderness backpacking and canoeing adventures in the US, Canada, and the Northwest Territories. He was an avid bicyclist. He did some very intense sea kayaking excursions off the coast of Florida, Maine, and Newfoundland.

His less adventurous, but no less passionate hobbies included a fish room for his African and New World cichlids, being surrounded by his dogs and cats, and a good cigar.

Dan is survived by:
Mother Beatrice Colodney
Wife Ellen Jennifer Colodney
Son Michael Colodney
Daughters Jill Colodney and Debbie Debias
Sister Marion Marks
Brother Rich Colodney
Dogs Mickey & Jessie
Many Fish!
Predeceased by Father Bernard Colodney

A celebration of Dan’s life will be held at his house in Edenton on
Saturday, July 7 at 1:00 pm. All are welcome.


Michael said...

I'm sorry to hear of your good friend's passing. It's especially sad in a way as I will take the ferry over to Newfoundland tomorrow morning. I'll think of you two while I'm paddling there, you about to leave on another great distance paddle, and how nice it is to know, as you suggest, that when our time comes to leave this life, it won't prevent us from doing what we love!
Take care!

Anonymous said...

Dawn ...very sorry to hear of your dear friend Dan's passing ...I know that there will be a team of three padling the MR340 in a Kruger Cruiser!
...Take care, Bill / Waimanu

Anonymous said...


You are a great friend and I can't tell you how much you meant to my father. Thanks for being there for him when he needed you most. He must have asked "When's Dawn getting here?" 6 times on Saturday before you got there. He bragged about your paddling like you were a gold medalist! He loved you very much, and in the short time I spent with you, I can see why. Thank you for being such a great friend.


Silbs said...

It is hard to lose a friend, especially a teacher who holds such a special place in your heart. You were, indeed, lucky to have him in your life. Your wonderful work and your sharing is part of his legacy. My condolences.

Capt'n "O" Dark 30 said...

Oh Dawn...

Sorry to hear the news. Hanf tough my friend. With the support of family and friends...

Bri and Laura

Anonymous said...

I'm coming to this so late - just heard last week of Dan's death. We worked together at Colgate and, yes Ellen, I still have the Miyata Tour bike than Dan sold me way back when. Dan epitomized the happy outdoor warrior, calm within himself and confident that no challenge could not be met with hard work (and a cold one after it was done). RIP, my friend. dave

Anonymous said...

I am shocked. Going through old slides from 1985 and a brutal hiking trip Dan, Ellen, my SO and myself made to the summit of Mt Washington. Great memories among others I have with Dan bicycling, canoeing and partying. So sad.
Would love to send pics if interested, and get them to Ellen as well. John Waltz