Obituary: Daniel Achilles Gould

Beloved son, brother, stepson was 2009 CHS grad

Daniel Gould, beloved son of Donald Gould and Pamela Gould of Claremont, brother of Julia Gould, and stepson of Rhonda Raider Gould, died unexpectedly on August 1, 2022. He was 31.

A service honoring Daniel was held at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona on August 9, 2022, preceded by a graveside service at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont.

He was born in Pomona in 1990. His family moved to Claremont in 1993. Daniel attended Condit Elementary, El Roble Intermediate, and Claremont High School, graduating in 2009. He became a bar mitzvah at Temple Beth Israel in 2004.

A brilliant student and writer, he attended Oberlin College in Ohio, where he earned his B.A. in history in 2013 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After college, he returned to Los Angeles and built a successful career in writing and business communications. At global real estate companies Cushman & Wakefield and Colliers International, he led teams of researchers, designers, and writers in developing business proposals for major clients across the U.S.

“Daniel loved and embraced life,” his family shared. “An early and avid reader and writer with boundless curiosity, Daniel quickly gained an expansive grasp of geography and world history and how they formed the basis for all storytelling. Favorite authors included Philip Pullman and Ursula K. Le Guin. Daniel talked knowledgeably and engagingly on seemingly any subject, but always with humility and a keen ability to listen. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of music spanning six decades, spinning off an eight-hour playlist with ease. From an early age, he was a graceful and original dancer. He was a lifelong advocate for environmental, economic, and racial justice.

“For all his many accomplishments, Daniel is most remembered as a remarkable son, brother, and friend.”

In the words of some who knew him best:

Friend Violet: “Daniel was a good man. A gentleman. A leader and protector among his friends. When Daniel was there, I knew everything was going to be ok. Leaves fell more softly in his presence. He had a way of bringing out life’s beauty, excitement, and joy. Dance floors were created when he shook his hips. Yes, he was the smartest man I knew, but he was also wildly creative, musical, and capable of the most compassionate acts of kindness and care. He understood the masks we wear in mundane life and how to love what was underneath.”

Friend Melody: “Danny was simply charming. His broody dark eyes with soft features. He’d come with meaningful compliments. His booming laughter that filled your heart and a deep voice. A brilliant writer and avid reader, a phenomenal dancer. He was ever evolving and supportive of everyone’s individual growth. Danny inspired me to read. Danny was passionate and informed about social justice issues. With Danny, there was never any pressure to perform or say the right thing. If he liked you, he loved you and accepted you. His hugs spoke a 1,000 I love you’s.”

College friend Lizzie: “Danny approached the intricacies of the world with such empathy, curiosity, intellect, discernment, and humor. He moved through life with sensitivity but also resilience. He was such an incredible, wise, sensitive, and radiant being.”

College roommate Jake: “He was always generous, gentle, compassionate, but also strong. I don’t know of anybody who better embodied loving kindness.”

Co-workers: “Daniel — a poster child for how a beautiful, smart, dignified, regal, kind, empathetic, thoughtful, humble, joyful human should be. Always there for you, panic or not, writer’s block or not, deadline or not.” “Calm, level-headed, and positive at every turn… effortlessly funny, a remarkable writer and a friend to all.” “A comforting, kind, and humorous presence … the essence of a patient teacher, a trusted colleague, an impressive intellectual, a gifted writer, a warm and welcoming person I will forever feel lucky to call a friend.”

Cousin Greta: “Daniel had such a sense of justice and creativity; how much love and joy he gave to everyone he met, how much he inspired others.”

Stepsister Sarah: “The rare young man today who is a natural empath … an unfailingly excellent listener … adventurous and confident in social settings, but he showed vulnerability candidly … smart and insightful but unpretentious.”

Mother of a high school friend: “I love Daniel for many intrinsic reasons, his beautiful, brilliant self … and I especially love and honor how he helped his friends.”

Elementary school teachers: “On the playground at age 7 … endlessly fascinating and brilliant, kind and wholehearted. Always with a 3-inch book and a joke to share … a teacher’s soul … the smartest kid/person I have ever met.” “One of my favorite students of all time and I have thought of him often through the years … brilliant and witty.”

Sister Julia: “Daniel personified everything that is good in this world. He cared deeply about his family, his friends, the suffering of others, and our planet. He was effortlessly brilliant, witty, had the coolest taste in music and art, and was an absolute joy to be around. He was more than a sibling — he was my best friend, protector, and mentor.”

Father Donald: “Daniel lifted those around him, both teaching and demonstrating self-acceptance and self-love. Daniel was always the friend that each one of his friends needed, and he is truly loved by everyone who knew him. I think that is the ultimate tribute to Daniel and how he lived his life on earth. Daniel lives on in the hearts of the many whose lives he touched so meaningfully.”

Mother Pamela: “Daniel was a wonderful, loving son and a beautiful human being. And so, his laugh still makes us laugh with him. His kind and gentle spirit is still with us. And we will always light the candles for our Daniel.”

Donations in honor of Daniel Gould may be made to Sunrise Movement (LA Chapter) and Environmental Defense Fund.

A note from his family: “Opioids have killed more than 50,000 Americans since Daniel passed on August 1, 2022. So many of these deaths were the result of unintended ingestion of fentanyl — increasingly, street drugs are poisoned with this lethal substance. Please be careful.”


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