On Friday, February 5, 2021, Daniel Robert Mealey passed peacefully away in his sleep at his home in Rancho Cordova, California, at the age of 92, from the effects of cancer which he had been battling for over a year prior to his passing.
He was born November 16, 1928 in Fort William, Ontario, Canada, to Robert George Mealey and Agnes (Depew) Mealey, and grew up in the small town of White River, Ontario, Canada. Dan had three siblings, his older sister, Barbara, and two younger brothers, Larry and Brian. His brother Larry preceded him in death.
Dan was married to Marion Olwen (Cuyler) Mealey in 1954, who immediately brought four children into his life from a former marriage, Wayne, Janice (DeRoss), Cheryl and Jim (Vicki). Dan & Marion were blessed with two more children together, Brian (Shenna) and Lauri (Mike). At the time of his passing, Marion and three of their children, Wayne, Janice and Cheryl, had passed away. He is survived by the remaining three children, 37 grandchildren, 60 great grandchildren and 8 great-great grandchildren. 1 granddaughter and 1 great grandson predeceased him.
Dan grew up in the woods of Northern Ontario, in a town dubbed “the coldest spot in Canada”. He fished, hunted, trapped, hiked, skied and canoed from his youth and loved the outdoors and the adventures that went with it. He went to trade school, became a journeyman machinist, and worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, working on steam locomotives and the brand new technology of his day, diesel locomotives.
In 1960 he and Marion decided to move the family to the United States and settled in Rancho Cordova. He went to work for Campbell’s Soup in 1961, and retired from there in 1992. He worked the graveyard shift his entire career at Campbell’s, working six days a week all of the time, and seven days a week about 4 months of the year. He survived on very little sleep!
Also in 1961, Dan was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He served in ward and stake callings continuously right from the beginning up until he passed away. Immediately after retiring, he and Marion left to serve for two years as missionaries for the church, living in Regina, Saskatchewan and travelling across Saskatchewan and Manitoba in an effort to help indigenous people in Canada prepare to lead their own congregations. Upon returning from Canada they served two more missions closer to home, taking care of all of the vehicles of the Sacramento mission.
In the mid 1990’s, following their mission to Canada, Dan and Marion were called to be ordinance workers in the Oakland, California temple where they served until 2006 when the Sacramento temple was dedicated. Dan served in the Sacramento temple until the temples were shut down due to the Covid-19 virus restrictions. He loved his fellow workers on the Tuesday mid-shift, and it was clear that serving in the temple was the calling he most enjoyed in the church.
The temple might have been his favorite calling, but the work he most enjoyed was helping people, in and out of his family, build and care for their homes and yards. Almost everyone in his family and many in his ward have received help from him, building, remodeling, maintaining or repairing something at their home and/or reclaiming a yard or tree that has gotten out of control. As a retired man his favorite tools would have been a mattock and a chainsaw. He pruned trees (or cut them down), trimmed shrubs, cleared underbrush, repaired fences for all the widows and “older folks'' that he knew. At age 89, he had to slow his pace down a bit when a branch from one of the trees he was pruning swung down and knocked the ladder he was standing on right out from under him. When he woke up a few minutes later he found himself lying on the ground with the idling chainsaw still in his hand, but he was pretty sore from the fall.
He also loved to write poetry. He has written poems about his work at Campbell’s Soup, his adventures growing up in Ontario, his family, his church service and his friends. In recent years he began putting a few of the poems to music, even submitting three of them to the church to be considered for a new hymnal being published soon.
He had a heart attack shortly after the tree branch knocked the ladder out from under him, and other health issues began to reduce his strength further. When cancer was found just after his 91st birthday, he decided to submit to chemotherapy treatments in an effort to extend his life as long as he could to allow him to organize his family records better, for the benefit of others in his family, and because he felt he still had “a few more poems left to write”. The treatments did allow him to live another 15 months and write a few more poems. His memory will live on in his poetry, his family records, pruned trees, home additions, terraced yards, rebuilt fences and well maintained automobiles. Most importantly his memory will live on in the hearts of the hundreds of family members, friends and associates that were privileged to be served by him.
Funeral services will be held via Zoom on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 11:00am Pacific Standard Time. A Zoom link will be sent to all family members and friends that his family is aware of. If anyone else would like to receive the Zoom link, please contact any member of the family.
A special thanks to genuine friends who called, sent letters, cards, poems and cartoons, who brought him soup, called on the phone, took care of his yard and simply loved him in meaningful ways. And to the doctors, nurses and caregivers who were kind, compassionate and friendly through it all. The family is eternally grateful for your love and support.