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Official Obituary of

Daniel Edward Rector

January 11, 1940 ~ March 5, 2024 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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Daniel Rector Obituary

Daniel Edward Rector passed away at the age of 84 at his home in Woodland Park, Colorado on March 5, 2024, of recurrent cancer, after fighting it a decade earlier.

A distinguished computer engineer, consultant, and much-loved father and husband, he was born January 11, 1940, in Dayton, Ohio. He grew up in Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, and California in a large family with seven half-brothers and sisters, his mother Margaret (Kratzer) Gravette and stepfather Carl Gravette. In Florida, as a pre-teen, he caddied at a local golf course and worked various jobs supporting his loved ones ever since.

His family moved to North Hollywood, California in 1954. He attended Hollywood High while working at a bowling alley, setting pins to support his family and younger sisters, and then later joined the Air Force where he studied computers while he worked as a technician and guard. After leaving the Air Force, he worked at ITT and then RCA. He met his future wife of almost 62 years, Vicki Marie (Forbes) Rector, and they later married on July 7, 1962. They bought a house in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and raised five strong women who excelled in academics and sports, and he loved watching their games as a parent and sometimes coach. He was so proud he was able to send all five to college.

While working at RCA, first as a computer quality control inspector and later as a computer engineer, he helped work on the first rocket that went to the moon and on proximity fuses for bombs, among other projects. After sending his daughters to college, he went back and got his associate degree at Pierce College and took classes at Cal State LA, while supporting his wife as she got her bachelor’s degree and then later her master’s degree.

He worked and traveled the world for many years as a computer engineer and consultant in the field of superconductors. He later became the Director of Engineering for Photronics, designing and creating large area steppers for computer boards, which were the only ones made in the United States at the time.

After working for over seven decades, he and his wife retired in the mountains of Colorado amongst the peaks and pines of the Rockies. Never one to sit still, he continued to consult and had a small business repairing computers and fixing software and hardware problems and enjoyed helping to keep the computers of widows and the elderly running, free of charge. He taught himself woodworking and acrylics and learned to make both works of art and utilitarian pieces for his family and friends. He made rocking horses and large toy boxes for his grandchildren, ski and snowshoe racks, furniture, home bars, and whatever his daughters needed, and later made intricate segmented wooden bowls and other artwork in his shop on his wood lathe.

He also volunteered his time as a VITA Volunteer with his wife and eldest daughter, helping those in their community with free tax assistance. He had many friends and was a member of the OMG Men’s Group, the Knights of Columbus, Soul-Link, book clubs, and he loved to cook.

His daughters remember, among many things, his talent for singing (especially when he crooned “Danny Boy” or would sing along with his favorite musicals), his love of science fiction and mystery novels, and his bad dad jokes. They remember how he could do a back flip when he was younger, how he used to love riding his BMW motorcycle, and how much he loved to play and collect harmonicas. He taught them that they could do or learn just about anything, and he was a self-taught car mechanic, teaming up with his daughters to help fix their cars, or work on projects around the house. He also supported them and attended as many of their sports events as possible (sometimes going from one game to the next in an afternoon) and showed his love for his many grandchildren.

He is pre-deceased (d) and survived by his spouse of 61 years Vicki Marie Rector; children Deborah Rector, Gwendolyn MacLeod (Douglas), Kathleen Hagan (Mitch), Jennifer Benjamin (Keith), and Pollyanna Melendez (Jorge); grandchildren Ophelia Blue, Dylan Hagan, Mariah Hagan, Kaia Herrin, Sebastian Melendez, Bryce Hagan, Cameron Benjamin (d), Sabrina Melendez, Duncan Benjamin, and Rowan Benjamin; mother Margaret Gravette (d); and siblings David Kratzer (Sandra), Paul Gravette (d) (Sandra), Susan Malachosky, Marilyn Smith (Christopher), Alice Peplow, Anne Luman (Jim), Sally Wieland (Tom); and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held March 23, 2024, at Mt. View United Methodist Church, Woodland Park, CO at 11 am.

“Write on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely with too high a spirit to be cumbered with year old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Memorial Service
March 23, 2024

11:00 AM
Mountain View United Methodist Church
1101 Rampart Range Road
Woodland Park, Colorado 80863