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"If you are reading this, it means that I have moved on from this life and into a better place. These past six or seven years would not have been possible without my having received a lung transplant. It has been a wonderful life and I have much to be thankful for.
"I was born on Feb. 23, 1943, to Hal and Lois Elkins and have been a lifelong resident of Fredericksburg. I spent my youth growing up on Caroline Street, on the banks of the Rappahannock River. It was a great place for adventure and intrigue! While I have seen many changes to our fair city, it remained my home and I am grateful for those of you that helped to "keep it local."
"I graduated from James Monroe High School with the class of 1960, but had so much fun I decided to do some "continuing education" so that I could walk with the class of '61, as well. I've remained active and enjoyed my relationships with both of these classes over the years.
"With the rich history of our area, I became interested in Civil War relics and have been an avid hunter of these relics and their history for close to 50 years. So many tales these pieces of history could tell, and I enjoyed getting together regularly with the other local hunters to share our latest finds and reminisce about a time gone by. I especially enjoyed going on many hunts (both local and out of state) with my good friend Dennis Cox. Dennis, I thank you for sharing this passion with me and all of your invaluable research in identifying places to hunt--it was always fruitful and fun. This "hobby" was a deep and serious interest for me and I enjoyed every bit of it, especially time spent with the other hunters in the Fredericksburg Relic Hunters Association.
"Another interest close to my heart was the formation of the Virginia Gentlemen's Club. A few of us got together in 1966 and decided this town needed some folks who would be dedicated to having some fun and promoting some great social events in the community. The annual New Year's Eve party was always a highlight. I also remember fondly the crab feasts, fishing trips, golf outings and all the great camaraderie. A big thank-you to all of you who help organize all these fun activities. Keep it up!
"As many of you know, I am a big sports fan and a die-hard Redskins fan. It brought me great joy to see the Redskins win their division recently, and knock the Cowpokes out of the playoffs in the same game! In the late 1970s I started coaching the Fredericksburg Pee-Wee Steelers. Over 17 years I saw some great kids come through the program and enjoyed watching them play up through high school and beyond. I believe that being involved in sports is a great way to engage in life. I learned many lessons and have great memories from being involved in such a diverse and passionate group of people.
"I started suffering more serious health concerns about 10 years ago, most notably a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. If it weren't for a special individual who was willing to donate their organs, I would not have had these past 6 years to enjoy life and grow deeper, more meaningful relationships. I encourage all of you to become organ donors. I can't express how grateful I am for being given more life from the selfless sacrifice of others. It can be the gift of extended life for many people who are now waiting for the second chance I received.
"Speaking of more meaningful relationships, I will admit that while I always believed in God, I never really did much with it. I am thankful for all you who were proactive in being so open and comfortable sharing your faith in Jesus Christ. I accepted Christ and can honestly say that I have felt different and felt relieved that I could stop "being on the sidelines." Recognizing the love that surrounded me was a gift from God. I encourage all of you to go beyond just a simple belief and actively pursue the gifts that God, through the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, has for you. It has provided a welcome peace to me these past couple of years. It is real and is available to all of you.
"I have been blessed with a great and extended family. My wife of 31 years, Brenda, has been a constant source of support and affection. She has been a tireless and willing companion through the good and the bad, and I sincerely appreciate her willingness to join me on this life's ride. We had some fun. I love you and your wanting to share your life with me.
"In addition to Brenda, I am survived by my two sons and their wives and children, Steve and Becky (three sons and one daughter) and Mark and Debbie (three sons); my stepchildren and their children, Keith and Katrine Dunn (five sons and two daughters) and Kimberly Dunn and husband Doug Westby-Gibson (one son and one grandson). I am also survived by my brother, Eugene.
"I was preceded in death by my beautiful and loving stepdaughter Kyra Dunn Chrisemer.
"It has been a rich, wonderful life that I have fully enjoyed. I regret that I cannot name all of the people and pursuits that are meaningful to me but please know and believe that you are appreciated and deeply cared about. I believe that I'm
"I look forward to you joining me. I implore you
Danny went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. A celebration service will be led by his longtime friend and pastor, Jack Marcom Jr., at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, at Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg. Family visitation will follow at the church.
Interment in the family's burial plot will occur at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to do