Daniel Arthur Meffen died at his home in Orlando, Fla. where he was found at noon during a wellness check on April 25, 2022. Although he had not been seen for a few days on his front porch, where he typically greeted neighbors daily, there is some evidence that he had bought fresh milk on the morning of April 23. The cause of death, confirmed by his sister Patricia, was heart failure. He was 71.
The son of the late Robert A. and Lillian Meffen, Danny was born in Ludlow on Aug. 6, 1950. He grew up in the Pine Point section of Springfield, where he developed a love of reading in the summer programs at the old Pine Point Library.
He attended Dorman Elementary School and Duggan Junior High before graduating from the former Springfield Technical High School in 1970. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of Troop 46. In high school he was a member of the swimming and soccer teams and was elected captain of the latter. “He was the spirit of the team,” a former teammate told Patricia at a recent high school reunion.
When Danny was three, his father built the third of three family cottages across from the landing near Campground Beach in Eastham. Every summer as he was growing up, the family would spend the first three weeks there after school let out, then rent the cottage out for the height of the season and return for a week before Labor Day. Patricia recalls that, although he was not a great fisherman or sailor, “we’d be at the bay morning and night.”
Danny did his best to carry on the family’s Eastham tradition with his own children and grandchildren, extending the Cape Cod summer experience to four generations. He inherited the cottage his father built in 2017.
After high school, Danny chose not to attend college. Instead, he worked construction for a year. Soon, he continued another family tradition by joining the U.S. Navy in 1971 and serving until 1995.
His father had been a Navy diver who performed underwater demolitions during World War II. Danny served on aircraft carriers and saw duty off the coast of Vietnam during the final years of that war. Before retirement, he served in Florida, Virginia, and Illinois, and on Westover Air Base in Chicopee; he attained the rank of master chief machinist mate.
Soon after his enlistment, he met and married Monica Campbell: they had two sons, Shawn in 1972 and James in 1976. The marriage ended in divorce.
When he retired from the Navy, Danny moved to Beach Park, Ill. He worked in Chicago at AbbVie, a pharmaceutical research and development company now called Abbot Laboratories, from 1999 to 2013. As he had done in the Navy, he maintained the boilers and other machinery to ensure smooth, safe operation of the facility.
After retiring from AbbVie, Danny relocated to Orlando where he carried on as a great reader, often reading a book a day, and becoming very interested in his family history. He discovered family connections dating back to the Mayflower.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Danny maintained his membership in the Mount Orthodox Masonic Lodge in West Springfield for forty years.
Danny expressed his love for Eastham by donating to the Old School House and the Buoy tree on the town green during his last years.
He is survived by two sons, Shawn Meffen of Greenville, N.C. and James Patrick Meffen and wife Jaqueline of De Soto, Mo. He also leaves his grandchildren: Marina, Caitlin, and Daniel of North Carolina and Connor and Morgan of Missouri.
He is also survived by his siblings, Mary Meffen and husband David Tancrati, Thomas and wife Lynn, and James, all of Springfield; Patricia Meffen and husband Thomas Huibregtse of Sarasota, Fla.; and Stacy Meffen of Essex, Md.; and by his former daughter-in-law Suzi Radovic of Rocky Mount, N.C.
He was predeceased by his siblings Andrew and Robert and by his ex-wife, Monica Campbell.
Memorial contributions may be made to any Shriners Hospital for Children or to the Eastham Famous Flower Islands, P.O. Box 191, North Eastham 02651.