Obituary: Daniel R. DeChaine, Jr.
Longtime Claremonter, fencing armorer, craft beer enthusiast, opera lover
Daniel “Dan” Robert DeChaine Jr. died peacefully on May 20, after a short illness.
Dan was born October 29, 1934 in Paso Robles, California, and had lived in Claremont since 1968. He moved from Paso Robles to attend Pomona College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1956. It was there that he was introduced to his two loves: his wife Myra and the sport of fencing.
After college graduation, the couple married in the Scripps College garden. Over the next few years they welcomed two children, Rob and Laura.
He worked at General Dynamics for many years while simultaneously serving as an armorer for the USA Fencing team. He became more involved in the sport of fencing and served as armorer for numerous world fencing events, including the Pan American Games, Junior, Cadet and Senior Fencing World Championships and numerous other events. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, he was the managing armorer.
In addition to serving as an armorer for decades, Mr. DeChaine invented, designed and constructed testing devices for fencing which were used at several Olympic games. His extensive contributions to the sport resulted in his induction into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame in 2007.
In his spare time, you could find him listening to opera (very loudly) or enjoying a craft beer with his son, Rob. They loved the craft breweries in the area and regularly spent time together until Rob’s death due to cancer in 2018.
He continued traveling worldwide long past formal retirement and enjoyed many hobbies. He loved to cook and took pleasure in serving elaborate meals to his family and friends. He loved animals and was always an advocate for local strays, and adored his recently found feral cat, Sasha.
“He was an intelligent, witty man with a great sense of humor,” his daughter commented. “He will be missed by many.”
Mr. DeChaine was preceded in death by his wife Myra (2012), and son Rob (2018).
He is survived by his daughter, Laura Van Dran (Daryl); granddaughters Meg LaBare (Aaron) and Kara Gionet (Jordan); grandson Grant Van Dran; and great-grandchildren Canon and Jude. He is also survived by his brother John David (Dave) DeChaine, wife Lyn and three nieces.
A memorial service will be planned for a future date. Because of Mr. DeChaine’s international “fencing family,” details are still being arranged.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, his friends should visit a local brewery and drink a pint of Guinness in his honor.
Cheers! Sláinte! Salud! ваше здоровье! Gártha! 乾杯 Dan!