Gwen was born on June 28, 1921 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She received her BA degree from Quachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. She married William H. Daniel on January 9, 1944 while he was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following his military discharge they lived in East Lansing Michigan, where he completed his PhD at Michigan State University.
They moved to West Lafayette, in 1950 for Bill to join the Agronomy Department at Purdue University where he served as a Professor of Turfgrass Science for thirty-six years. For several years Gwen worked as a dietician and found it easy to arrange lunch for 400 college men. She was a member of Federated Church and served as both President of the Congregation and President of the Women's Federated Fellowship. Gwen served as President of the Home Hospital Auxiliary and managed the Home Hospital Gift Shop. She also served on the YWCA Board of Directors.
She served as President of her PEO Chapter and the Roundtable Club. She was very active in the life of Purdue Women's Club and served as co-chair of many of those events. She enjoyed being a member of the Purdue Women's golf group. She was the recipient of the Golden Deed Award for Community Service given by the Exchange Club. In 2003 she was nominated by her granddaughter and received the "Woman of Wisdom" Award at the Salute to Women Dinner hosted by the YWCA. In 2003 she also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation. Her volunteer work also included the St. Elizabeth Hospice program.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, who died in 1996. She has one surviving sister, Genida Johnson, of Lynchburg, VA. She is survived by a son Donald L. Daniel and his wife, Sandra, and a daughter, Sue Eiler and her husband Edward Eiler, each of West Lafayette, IN. Her grandchildren are James Daniel and his wife Diedre of Louisville, KY; Kent A. Eiler of Washington, DC.; Ross Martinie Eiler and his wife Andrea Martinie Eiler of Bloomington, IN. and Lauren Gwen McClain and her husband Ryan McClain of Cincinnati, OH. Gwen has six great grandchildren.
Gwen possessed a sense of adventure, a zest for life and a love of people that were manifested whether snowmobiling at night in the Rockies, riding a camel in Egypt, getting lost in the Alps, walking The Great Wall of China, cruising the Amazon, bartering in the bazaars of the Middle East or serving as a gracious hostess to countless friends from near and far. The warmth of her smile, the twinkle in her eye, and her laughter will be greatly missed.
Memorial gifts may be made to the William H. Daniel Turfgrass Research Fund at Purdue University or the Westminster Village Foundation. A time to greet family and friends is set for 10:00 a.m. with a Memorial Service to follow at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 22, 2012 at Federated Church, 2400 Sycamore Lane, West Lafayette, IN.
Send online condolences to www.soller-baker.com.
Published in the Journal & Courier from September 12 to September 13, 2012