Dan was born Jan. 13, 1933, in Baltimore, Md., son of Wolcott Edward Lay, Sr. and Harriet Harmon Deems. He was the fourth born of nine children with six brothers and two sisters. Dan spent his first two years in Alexandria, Va., before moving in the fall of 1935, to Fairfax County, Va., where his father had purchased seven acres and built a log cabin there. Initially, there was no roof in place, nor was there chinking between the logs, when the family moved in.
Wanting to serve his country, Dan tried to enlist in the U.S. Army to help fight the North Koreans. Being only 16, he was not accepted so turned to President Truman, writing for an exception. He received a written response granting him permission to enlist, which he did.
He served his country in North Korea as an infantryman, following a long line of Army ancestors, including his grandfather, Brig. Gen. Clarence Deems, Jr. and great grandfather, Brig. Gen. D. H. Brush. He was in the 1st Cavalry Division and trained in chemical warfare.
Dan married Ann Marie Evelyn Woznicki on June 9, 1973, and they were divorced in 1987. He later married Belmar Shepley Gunderson, the girl he used to walk home from school in the eighth grade. They were married in Las Vegas on Dec. 29, 1990, sharing 25 years of life on their farm in Wisconsin and a winter home in Florida.
Dan loved to fly and took lessons before purchasing his own plane and doing the required hours to become a licensed pilot. He was a commercial pilot for Allegany Airlines on Feb. 2, 1962, Lake Central, and U.S. Air for many years before retiring in 1992.
Retirement didn't mean sitting around for Dan. It just meant more time to put up hay, to work in his woodworking shop, and to do the many things necessary to keep two homes up and running. He was a man of many talents and seldom needed outside help to fix anything for himself or for the many others he helped over the years, always generous with his time and talents.
Patriotism: Dan was an active member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Sons of the American Revolution, the Soaring Eagles, and a life member of the Defenders Club of the Second Amendment Foundation. He was extremely knowledgeable in the areas of politics and history and an avid reader on a number of subjects.
Dan is survived by his wife, Belmar; brother Donald and his wife Virginia, brother John "Jake" and his wife Betsy; many nieces and nephews; his ex-wife and close friend Ann Marie Kirker; close friends Al Kelly, Chuck Anderson; and many other friends.
Dan's funeral service was held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, graveside at the Lay Family Cemetery, Rapidan, Va. The CMM were represented by Dan's brother, CMM Treasurer Jake Lay and his wife Betsy, President Bill Schwetke and his wife Cat, and CMM wives Mary Ann Cowherd and Mary Margaret Lacey.