He was a product of South St. Louis, Lemay to be exact. One of 6 kids “pound for pound” he was the toughest kid at St. Martin of Tours Grade School. His scrappy personality and determination helped him make it through St. Louis University High, St. Louis University and SLU Law School. Along the way he joined the Marine Corps and was commissioned as an officer upon graduation from Law school. He married Jeri Jamieson in 1966. When he completed his Marine Corps service in 1969, Dan returned to St. Louis and eventually established a successful practice of law with his long time law partner Mike Stokes.
Dan and Jeri were interested in helping children in need and served as foster parents for many years while raising their own children. In 1985 Sr. Julia came into their lives. Sr. Julia Huisecamp was a friend of Jeri’s family from Chicago. When she was sent to East St. Louis there was no infrastructure in place for social services. Jeri and Dan worked hand in hand with Sr. Julia to help put together a network of programs serving children and their families in the housing projects of East St. Louis. This network is called The Griffin Center and it now serves more than 500 students. When Dan died unexpectedly in August 2000 he was mentoring several students, paying their tuition at area private schools, signing them up for sports teams and attending student teacher conferences to demonstrate that these children were valued. Dan’s response to questions about his activities was always, “Let’s give ’em a chance”. This motto was taken up by his family and friends when they decided to do something to memorialize Dan.