When word spread Saturday night of the sudden death of David Dangerfield, Sr., the sense of loss was profound and cut deep to many. David was an Elmont and Royal Palm Beach community leader, firefighter, father, grandfather and surrogate parent. David was 51 years old and is survived by his wife Erica and children TJ, David “Deuce,” Jordan, Jared, Davina, Chaanelle, Charrise. The outpouring of grief spilled onto the pages of FACEBOOK where group sites were started where children and adults throughout Elmont posted their reflections about a man that was called “Papa D” to so many.
Scott Cushing, a longtime family friend from Elmont and who led the Memorial Service at Riverside Chapel in Manhattan, said, “this is heartbreaking and tragic. David loved his family and everyone that knows the Dangerfields know what a deep, cutting loss this is. The incredible outpouring of sympathy and prayers for the family has been a g-dsend. David’s boys are like my own children. And, David was so proud of all of them and their achievements. I will never forget that kind, gentle man who was a brother to me.”
Walter Aksionoff, Principal of Dutch Broadway School and family friend added, “I can simply say that the Dangerfield Family worked so hard for all the children of Elmont. They were always involved in the school and greater community. Whenever they were called upon, they were always there for Dutch. This is like losing a family member of the Dutch Family. When David shook your hand, he engulfed you and embraced you as a friend. Now, with his son Jordan going to Hofstra to play football, we’ll see him live on as a Dangerfield joins Hofstra’s pride a great extension of Dutch’s Pride.”
David was born to Marilyn Imogene Isaacs on January 5, 1959. He was an only child. Born in the Bronx he loved giving to all those he loved. He went to RT Hudson Seven Day Adventist School, Rhodes High School and Dewitt Clinton H.S. He went to Fairberry Nebraska attending a junior college playing football.
During his youth, his first job was an Apprentice at a local Butcher Shop. He then began working in Levish Animal Hospital, while attending High School. He also volunteered as a fireman in the community firehouse, aspiring and fulfilling his dream, to be a firefighter.
On October 24 1983, David Carl Dangerfield was sworn in as one of the New York Bravest, where he proudly served at Ladder 45 with the NYC Fire Dept, then went on to Rescue 3, finishing his career at SQUAD 270, along side his sister-in law, retired Firefighter Celia Thompson. He was truly devoted to the job. David loved being a firefighter. David bravely served over 18 years with true dedication and valor. He received a medical retirement in 2002. David was part of the team that responded to the 9-11 World Trade Center Terror Attack. He served in the ground operations team with the NYCFD. His wife, Erica, served at the site with the NYPD.
David was honored along with all 9-11 first responders throughout Elmont and North Valley Stream during a special ceremony hosted by the Lt. Governor Mary Donahue, Assemblyman Tom Alfano, Dr. Maria Palandra and then School Board President Deanna Doreson at Dutch Broadway School. Thereafter, both David and Erica Dangerfield were honored in the New York State Assembly for their service during legislative session.
Dr. Maria Palandra, a friend to the Dangerfield family, and co-host for the 9-11 honorary ceremony said, “we were honored to have him as a member of the Elmont School District community. He meant so much to the young people. He was a role model and a man of strength, values, courage and intelligence. He was a hero to many of our young people and he was a friend.”
Assemblyman Tom Alfano offered his reflection of David saying, “this is such a loss. He and Erica were friends and confidants that I counted on in so many ways. I had just spoken to him the day before where we were making plans to go to dinner and celebrate Jordan’s success at going to Hofstra. All of David’s children are part of my extended family and my heart goes out to them right now.”
Still wanting to serve and share his knowledge after his retirement, David was appointed by Governor George Pataki to the position of coordinator of Bioterrorism for New York State in the Department of Health, Emergency Management. In that capacity, David coordinated drills and protocols for disasters for vulnerable sites and communities throughout New York State.
In Elmont, David was very active in the Elmont South Little League helping coach his sons David, Jordan, Jared and TJ. In addition, he served as a coach and President of the Elmont Cardinals Football Club. David was very active in the Dutch Broadway School community. He was active in Dutch Broadway and Elmont Memorial High School PTA with his wife Erica. David also served as a campaign coordinator for Assemblyman Tom Alfano’s re-election campaigns. David also took particular pride in his work with the extended Elmont Memorial High School family through after school programs and the Varsity Football program.
In January 2005, David relocated with his wife and four sons to Royal Palm Beach Florida where he immediately began serving and giving back to his community. Becoming involved in numerous organizations and running for a local seat on the village council. He instantly became involved in Royal Palm Beach High School, where could you see him in the side lines holding the chains and cheering on his sons and their teammates. He volunteered his time at the High School, serving as School Advisory Council President. He affected the student’s lives becoming a substitute teacher, and a mentor until you earned the right to call him “PAPA D”.
David belonged to the Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, in Harlem NY where he worshiped for many years with his mother and family and where his sons where offered up to the Torah. He was a spiritual man, led a spiritual life, and was committed to his faith. Keeping with his faith and spirituality, never forgetting his Judaic traditions, he chose to expound on his spiritual walk, as a family by attending “Christ Fellowship”- Royal Palm Beach, continuing to head the message of the love of God, The love of “family”, the love of the community and giving. His kindness and acceptance to all who knew him and met him was genuine. His eyes were like his mothers. His smile was always broad and contagious. He was always sharing his “thoughts”, his words of wisdom, sharing his knowledge, enlightening and awakening ones, inner light, he always treated everyone equally and fairly. All who knew him, would state, “He’s the nicest man I ever met”.
He liked the saying “out of one came many.” He was an only child that is leaving a legacy that he called “His Tribe.” He is survived by his loving wife of 23 years Erica A. Dangerfield, his seven children, Charrise, Davina , Chaanelle, Anthony (TJ), David (Deuce) Jordan and Jared. His seven grandchildren, Deja, Cheyanne, Javon, Jaden, Taylor, Jayden and AJ, His mother-in-law Mernel Spellman, sister and brother in law Celia and Fred Thompson, his beloved Aunts, Joan Ford Jeffers, Delores T. Isaacs. His cousins, Kim, Karen, Kerri Ford, Reginald, Stacy, and Crystal Isaacs. His cousin Gloria Joseph, Philippa Karturon, His extended Daughters, Chanaya Johnson. Brittany McCarroll, Julissa Davilla, A hosts of nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren. Along with extended Family, Colleagues, and friends. He was a role model, a father, someone everyone looked up to, admired and aspired to be.