History Buff And Former City Employee Michael McDaniel Passes Away ay 67

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It is with deepest sadness that we inform you Michael McDaniel, 67, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, passed away on April 23, 2024. He was born on June 24, 1956, in Burbank, California.

Michael was a beloved husband to Neva, and a cherished father to Tim, Drew, Ashley, Nathan, and Erin, and a respected member of his community. He worked for the City of Burbank for 33 years, serving as the supervisor of the City’s print shop before his retirement in 2020. Michael was also a dedicated Militaria Collector and enjoyed traveling, spending time with his family, and honoring veterans through his work on the City’s Veteran’s Committee.

In his free time, Michael enjoyed watching TV shows with his family, taking vacations, visiting Knott’s Berry Farm, working on his family genealogy, and enjoying retirement. He was known for his love of history, especially focusing on World War I and World War II. Michael was actively involved in honoring those who served their country and was a member of the City of Burbank’s Veterans Committee for 30 years. He was instrumental in creating a veteran’s memorial book for the committee that honored those who died in the wars and were from Burbank. Michael was also a part of the committee and design team that re-designed and implemented the new veteran’s memorial statue placed at McCambridge Park.

Michael was also passionate about the early history of his hometown, Burbank, California. He and his best friend Wesley Clark co-wrote and created a website called Burbankia, which they still add and maintain to this day. Michael and Wes also co-wrote and had published 3 books that covered the early years of Burbank’s history from the founding times of the city to around 1970. Talking history brought him so much joy, and you could see his eyes light up when he got to share his knowledge of history with those who knew him best and even those meeting him for the first time.

Michael will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality and his commitment to his family and community. A Memorial Service will be hosted at the Cedar Ridge Ward building located at 3195 S Holmes Ave Idaho Falls, Idaho 83404 to honor and celebrate his life. The memorial service will be televised for those who are not able to attend the service in person.

Rest in peace, Michael. You will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved you.

Comments from close friends,

Linus Abegg:

Sincere condolences to you, Tim, Drew, Ashley, Nathan, and Erin. I pray that God gives you all the strength in the upcoming days. Mike meant so much to all of you, I know, and he also was a powerful influence in my life. I will always hold fond memories of Mike and how he always went to bat for his “print shop” staff and also his conviction to his family and to his hometown, Burbank! A true hometown hero, dedicated to community and mutual respect. Also, his deep respect and love of those who served our country. He truly enjoyed all of the veteran’s events and really brought them to life! I know it is a difficult time for you, but know that Mike was a wonderful spirit to so many folds and his life should be celebrated. God Bless you, Mike and the kids always!

James Daza:

We’ve known each other for 30 years ever since I was a kid in high school. You taught me a lot, brought me out of my shell, encouraged me, backed me up, and you were there in the toughest times. I honestly do not have the right words to express how I’ll miss you my friend. “O Captain my Captain…..” may you rest in peace.

Wesley Clark:

I am very sorry to have learned that my best friend, Mike McDaniel, passed away recently in Idaho Falls, ID as a result of a stroke he suffered.

He died peacefully while in hospice care. Neva, his wife of over 40 years, was with him, as were his kids. His distraught son called me Sunday to tell me the initial news, and it’s been a very difficult week for everyone.  

Mike and I met in September 1972, when we were both sixteen and in eleventh grade at Burbank High School. I had transferred into a biology class because I found chemistry too difficult, and the only empty seat in the class was the one in front of him. We became friends quickly. An only child like me, Mike wasn’t just “like” a brother to me – in any real sense of the term he was my brother, and I am heartbroken.

Mike and I have always kept in touch with one another… it was a rare day when we did not communicate by text, email, phone, or, in earlier decades, letter. I am happy to report that in the first hours when he was in the hospital unable to talk but able to hear, I called him and talked to him. I am told that he understood me. It was a very, very difficult conversation but I told him the things I needed to. I mentally filled in his part of the conversation because I could, I knew him so well. 

In 1979 Mike gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon, which I put up on a shelf and didn’t read right away. When I did, however, I finished reading it in only five days. The next day I told Mike that I wanted to join the church, and he baptized me into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints about a month later, after I received the discussions from the full-time missionaries. (Mike served a two-year mission in Idaho from 1975 to 1977.) In September 1979, Mike set me up on a blind double date with he and his girlfriend – later wife – and the woman who, in 1980, became my wife. The double date was her idea. It was at her suggestion that I enrolled at Brigham Young University and got my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. As you can see, I owe Mike a lot, and that empty classroom seat was indeed fortunate.  

We had an all-consuming interest in the history and lore of Burbank, California in common, and worked together on the Burbankia website since 2003. The massive amount of information on the website led to Mike and I developing three books for the History Press: Lost Burbank in 2016, Growing Up in Burbank in 2017 and True Tales from Burbank in 2018. I am proud to note that they are still in print (available at amazon.com) and sell. I call the years of writing and promoting these books in town and doing slideshows for the Burbank Public Library and Burbank Historical Society our “Book Years” – some of the most fulfilling in my life. Hanging around town for weeks with my best friend and presenting fun information about our hometown was tremendously fun and rewarding. Those books are an important part of Mike’s legacy. 

Mike flew out to Virgnia and visited me in October 2023, for which I am very grateful. We had a blast. The photo above is from one of our pontoon boat rides around in the lake – Mike found piloting a boat very relaxing, as do I. 

I shall close by noting something that Mike and I know in our hearts: We shall meet again. This world and existence are not the beginning and end – far from it. The resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ makes possible an eternal life, and families and friends can be forever. I look forward to once again meeting Mike in another world – a happy day! – and take comfort in this knowledge. 

God be with you ’till we meet again, Mike.  

Here is a link to his Memorial Service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsMHclLvGr0