Today—July 28th—is my brother Ricky Lynn Daniels birthday. Family or friends that didn’t know me before 1978 probably never met him. He was born in 1953 and passed away in October 1978. He fell while painting a house.
Today he would have turned 65, 10 years older than me.
I looked up to him, with love and respect. As a kid I always wanted to hang out with him, and he was a big influence on my life. Living in Wyoming, Rick took me camping, fishing, shooting, hunting, off-roading in 4×4 trucks, motorcycle riding… He always treated everyone, including me, with respect.
1978 was a big year for me, a year that was greatly influenced by Rick. I got my motorcycle learner’s permit and the freedom that goes with it in February. I rode my little Honda CB125S all over southern Wyoming and northern Colorado. I love riding with my brothers, and in 1978, I rode to Ricks house often. One morning, while visiting Rick, I learned to rebuild my first Harley clutch. The only riding I ever did with Ricky was that year, in the warm Wyoming summer.
On this day in 1978, Rick turned 25..His friends and wife threw him a birthday party. I rode my motorcycle over to his place and was excited to park my Honda next to all the Harleys of family and friends that were there. It was a fun party.
That summer, Rick got me my first non-paper route job as a stone mason working on the crew he ran for a company called Universal Stone. It was great being able to work with him. It so happened that this was the year my parents were finishing their new home on W. Powell Road. Rick and I built them a beautiful stone fireplace, and we were painting the house as well. We had planned to stone the outside chimney that ran all the way up the side of the split tri-level house, but it wasn’t meant to be. Rick’s accident took his life before we could do the chimney. After Rick’s accident and me being only 15, my parents would not let me put the stone on the chimney. They didn’t want me on a ladder, so they hired Universal Stone to finish it.
Rick used to tell me that when it was your time, it was your time. Didn’t matter if you were sitting in your living room watching TV or in combat.
He survived a few motorcycle wrecks, a couple helicopter crashes, and more. Yet he passed away from a fall while painting a house. When it’s your time, it’s your time.
I learned so much from Rick that influenced my life. My father raised me to be a mechanic; however, my brothers Ray and Rick helped guide my skills toward motorcycles. When I was still young, my knowledge of Harleys used to amaze the bikers I would meet. My brothers’ friends always said it was because I was raised right, and I used to joke I was raised by bikers.
My father gave me my love of aviation by taking me to the airport to watch the planes fly, including countless Thunderbird shows. He used to buy airplane models for us kids to build. Rick was a UH1 (Huey Helicopter) Crew Chief in the army and helped guide my love of aviation to include helicopters.
As an avid gun collector/hunter, Rick was a big influence on my appreciation for and respect of fire arms.
I miss him and often wonder how my life would be if he was still around. I so wish I could take Rick and my parents for a flight in a Cessna.