In Loving Memory of Dan Waskom (July 23, 1973–December 14, 2023)
Dan’s life stretched beyond the mundane through his vibrant and contagious sense of humor, leaving behind a legacy characterized by joy, laughter, and limitless creativity.
From his school days, in Medway, Massachusetts, Dan was destined to be a performer. His love for entertaining others, infused with his infectious silliness, took him on a journey that spanned the world. He graced Disney stages across continents, was a proud company member with the Troubadour Theater in Los Angeles, a performer with Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal in CA, and an interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village, MA. While he initially found his footing as a stage actor, it was in the art of “clowning” that he discovered his true calling. Dan’s ability to commit to a bit was unparalleled, transforming every performance into a masterpiece of laughter and delight.
A gifted athlete, Dan stood out in both soccer and track, showcasing his physical prowess and his dedication to excellence. As a performer, he was a true jack-of-all-trades, mastering dance, stunts, stilts, and character work. During his time with Disney, Dan portrayed nearly every prince, a testament to his versatility and commitment. Always gleefully animated (and tall), he was regularly cast as Goofy. He was also known as a reliable “swing,” as Dan could seamlessly fill any role at a moment’s notice, earning a reputation as a reliable teammate, dedicated leader, and exceptional teacher.
While most of his adult years were dedicated to the entertainment industry, Dan always embraced new experiences, ultimately becoming a skilled potter and carpenter. Most recently, his carpentry skills had him walking the wooden rollercoaster, among other duties and projects, at Adventureland Amusement Park, IA. He demonstrated his artistry in multiple forms, leaving behind tangible expressions of his creativity.
Family was the very heart of Dan’s being. At the age of 12, Dan experienced the delight of welcoming his brother, Rob, into his life, followed by the joyous addition of his sister, Sarah, 3 years later. As his siblings flourished and achieved milestones, Dan felt something akin to a fatherly pride rather than that of an older brother. Their accomplishments became a cherished source of happiness in his life, creating a familial bond steeped in paternal love, warmth, and pride. He also maintained a close relationship with his parents, Bill and step-mom Annie, even moving to Iowa to be closer to them.
Beyond his immediate family, Dan's capacity for loyalty extended to his friendships, which remained steadfast throughout his life. His dedication to his childhood friends continued over the years, reflecting a commitment to lasting connections that mirrored the warmth and loyalty he brought to his familial relationships.
His personal life took an unexpected turn when he met Mandi. Despite facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, Dan and Mandi made the heartfelt decision to tie the knot in a small backyard ceremony. A close-knit gathering of friends and family created a magical “stone soup ceremony” to celebrate life and love. The two chose to marry, fully aware that their time together was limited. However, it was paramount to make their commitment known to each other, particularly to the kids.
Dan always wanted a family and finally found that with Mandi and sons, Jack and Charlie. Dan’s deep and enduring love for them became the center of his world. Becoming a bonus dad to Jack and Charlie was an honor he took to heart, recognizing the importance of their bond and the joy of hearing them affectionately call him “Dad” while he, in turn, referred to them as “son.”
Dan's life was a beautiful composition of laughter, love, and unwavering charm. He leaves behind his wife Mandi and sons Jack and Charlie of Des Moines, IA; his father Bill and stepmother Annie of West Des Moines, IA; his brother Rob, sister-in-law Selby, niece Lucy, and nephew Gus of Shoreline, WA; his sister Sarah and soon-to-be brother-in-law, Chester of Seattle, WA; and his mother Alison of Athens, AL. He once said his biggest fear of dying was that people he’d known around the world not knowing how important they were to him and his life. So if you knew Dan, please know how much he appreciated the many, many people who impacted his life. As we mourn his passing, let us also celebrate the indelible mark he left on our hearts and remember the joy he brought to the world.
A memorial service will be held in the spring; details will be shared on his Caring Bridge journal. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Troubadour Theater in Los Angeles or your favorite grassroots arts program. Additionally, a memorial fund has also been established to support Jack and Charlie’s education.