It’s fitting that Dan Padilla lived in a town that is home to a volcano.
Dan had a naturally commanding presence and was full of energy--a
“volcanic” personality, you could say. He was one of those people that
could walk into a room and provide instant joy for anyone lucky enough
to be there. He had an ever-lasting supply of stories, which were always
the focus of any gathering he was a part of. Dan was the core of his family-
-his decisiveness paired with his laidback manner made him an assuring
leader. He had a way of making something worrisome into something
simple, not only because of his reasoning but also because he was very,
very funny.
Dan has been gone five years now, but so strong was his presence here
on earth that it is still felt strongly by those who knew and loved him. When
the phone rings we still believe that it’s possible that it could be Dan. He
was the rock in the family, the one his children, his sisters, and even his
parents, could fully and completely depend upon; for those consejos that
a close knit Mexican-American family need from the one that seems to
have a clear vision at all times. That’s what Dan had…a clear vision of
what was important, what in life had real meaning. Yes, he had a job with
the state as a parole officer, he had been a police officer and a park ranger
in his younger years, and yes he liked to spend time at his home in Shastina
tending his fruit trees, and yes he liked to play golf, and yes he liked to go
hunting, but what was really important to Dan was spending time with his
He loved having his parents and sisters and children and nieces and
nephews around him. There were always stories to tell about the times they
had been together before, camping in Jed Smith State Park, picnics by the
Rogue, backyard carne asadas, and the holidays, where nothing was better
than being with family. Everyone will always remember Dan throwing his
head back and laughing at the last silly thing someone said or did. Dan’s
laugh was like a potion that made any of life’s troubles seem utterly
unimportant. As charismatic and influential as Dan was, though, he always
maintained a sense of selflessness. His decisions were rooted in the wellbeing
of his family, particularly in his two children. They were his prime
concern and proudest creation. He was willing to make sacrifices in order
to ensure the best for them, and always did so happily.
Dan Padilla crammed more life into 59 years than most people manage
in 80 or 90 years. In his youth he was strong and invincible, so strong and
invincible that it was appropriate that he would eventually live next to
Mount Shasta. Until his illness, the mountain was the only thing that could
compete with Dan. He lived his life the way he wanted to live his life…
dedicated to his parents, extremely proud of his children and protective of
his sisters. He will always be fondly remembered as a son, a father, a
brother, a godfather, an uncle, an officer, and a remarkable individual.