This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.
Daniel Harper, born August 9, 1969 of Lakeland, FL and Newport, RI; youngest brother of Jeff Harper of Lakeland and Suzanne Harper Ebel of St. Louis, dearly beloved son of Aubry and Gloria Harper of Lakeland, wholehearted father of Anson Hayden-Harper of Newport, and fun loving cousin to many Texans, Californians, Floridians, Georgians and North Carolinians. Daniel Harper will be remembered for the joy he spread through his kind nature and outgoing spirit. He had a divine effect on anything which crossed his path, and many regarded him as being bigger than life.
Growing up in Lakeland, Florida, he was surrounded with the vast nature of his lakeside home, and an ever-loving Southern family. Born with a passion for innovation and ingenuity, he spent his early days constructing and tinkering with anything he could lay his hands on. It is during this time that he would foster the fundamental skills that would last a lifetime; skills that would eventually lead him to build the first prototype of a product that changed the world.
As a student attending Lake Gibson High School, Daniel took great pride in his academics – well, rather the social stature and glory that pertained to his academic success. Serving as Senior class president alongside his cousin Sean Harper as vice president, he was able to express his vision and bring his peers closer together (I’m sure Principal Booth would agree). His success as class president was enabled by his inspiring charisma and immense leadership ability. Daniel knew how to get things done all while sustaining a warm smile.
When he wasn’t conducting academic revolutions or deconstructing old toasters, he was absorbed in the music of his drum set. The school band was lucky to call Daniel their most accomplished snare drummer. Aside from the school band, he took part in many musical groups, all of which were wildly popular among the entirety of Lakeland. He departed high school with the most impactful memories a young 18 year old could ask for.
Later on Daniel would embark on a lifelong journey dedication to the ocean. It was his extraordinary talent for celestial navigation that would allow him to sail seas uncharted without a doubt in his mind, all while teaching others the art of navigating by starlight. This was one of the phenomena about Dan that made him so special. Everyone who knew him knew that he wouldn’t have spent those days any other way, and if he could be anywhere in the world he would be aboard Corban making sail for his next expedition.
His love for life exceeded that of the average person. Optimism was something that came so naturally to Daniel, and through his encouraging interpretation of life he was able to bring others in under his wing and teach them to sail the seas of the world with conviction and dignity. As a visionary Daniel was an innate leader.
Not only was Daniel Harper my father, but he acted as a father to many. He was a gift from God. The lessons that he taught me are invaluable, as I would be but a shell of the person that I am without them. The wisdom that he bestowed upon those he loved was of utmost sincerity and love. He was the most compassionate man I have ever known, and if there is one message that he would have wanted to leave us with, it is that if you are not living with passion, you are not living.
My father used these talents to build Siren Marine, which revolutionized connected marine technology and IoT services. The team he built at Siren is a world class group of professionals who are fueled by the shared vision my Dad put into place, I know his legacy will live on.
There will be a Celebration of Life to be scheduled for later in the year.
In honor of Dan’s life, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105; IYRS, 449 Thames Street, Newport, 02840; or SailNewport, 72 Ft. Adams Drive, Newport, RI 02840.