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Daniel John Donza
March 31, 1940 ~ October 31, 2022 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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Daniel John Donza had a heart of gold. Commonly known as "Dapper," he was loud, handsome and full of life. Born March 31, 1940 in Brooklyn, NY, he was the most caring man around, never thinking twice about helping friends, family or strangers. He passed peacefully at home with family around him on October 31, 2022, after the final leaves fell in Vermont.
He spent an idyllic childhood in Brooklyn, rich in love and surrounded by his family - his mother and father, Irene and Dominick, older brother Joseph, older sister and partner-in-crime, Irene, younger brothers, John and Robert, younger sister Donna, tons of extended family, and, most importantly, his cousins. He cherished his childhood in Brooklyn, playing stickball in the street and causing all sorts of trouble with his cousins, using their belts to suspend themselves from a chain link fence to watch Dodger games for free.
He started coming to Stowe, VT to ski with his father and friends from an auto racing club and his heart never left. Stowe hasn’t been the same since. Dan fell in love with Vermont and in the 1960s built his first house on Sterling Brook, a place he found peaceful. He made a life in Stowe filled with too many funny, outrageous, and truly touching memories to count, and with an amazing community that surrounded him with love and support - and a sense of belonging even though he never lost his Brooklyn accent.
For many years, he split his time between working in Brooklyn and enjoying the Stowe scene. In 1970, he opened Dan’s Auto Body in Sterling Valley and moved to Vermont full time. He built “Dapper kingdom” into a business that allowed him to travel the world, support his family, and enjoy many meals out in town. He never could refuse an inspection sticker to someone who needed their car to get to work.
In the late 70s, he met Donna Sullivan at the Shed and they wed in 1977, building a house on Weeks Hill and raising a family with love and pride. He will be missed most of all, and remembered always, by his life’s pride and joy — those lucky enough to call him Dad: Nick, Danielle, and Christopher. He will always be with us as we will carry him forever in our hearts, and our memories of him will always make us laugh.
He leaves behind his son-in-law, Daniel, daughter-in-laws, Tiffany and Caroline and eight grandchildren, Isabel, Daniel, Curtis, Vivian, Benjamin, Alexander, Teddy and Lila. All of whom he loved completely and loved him back dearly. He will be remembered fondly as Uncle Danny by enough people that he was able to hold babies for 50 years straight.
Words feel inadequate to capture the life of such a man who loved fiercely, lived large, laughed loudly and often, cared deeply, and was always so generous. He became a town fixture over the past 60 years and there weren't many locals that didn't cross his path. Whether you saw him eating out in town or sitting in the white adirondack chair on Main Street, he was always there to offer advice (often unsolicited) freely or crack a joke. He will be remembered by many and forever missed.
A celebration of his life will be held April 1st from 1:30-4pm at the Green Mountain Inn for anyone to come and share fun stories and memories. In lieu of flowers, buy someone a cup of coffee, treat a friend to a meal, or fill the gas tank of a complete stranger.