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Chris and Alice
Chris and Alice
Scottsdale, Arizona
Published by John C.
Chris and Alice

It seems like it was yesterday when many of our lives were halted by the death of one of the nicest, kindest people I have ever known. It was 25 years ago that we lost Chris Daniels. It was a day that time literally stopped for me as I listened to the words from a lifelong friend from Dayton as he told me that Chris had passed away early that morning. My hands were shaking as I called WHIO to confirm the horrible news. After rebounding from the shock, I knew at that moment that I needed to see my dear friend Alice Daniels.

It was late in 1991 that my wife, Julia, and I made our normal trek to Dayton to see our beloved Flyers. Just two years before was magic as we returned to the NCAA Tournament. Jim O’Brien had turned a team that had been losers for three years into a group that nearly saw the Sweet Sixteen. Everyone was certain that this was the beginning of something big. In reality for me, it was. It just wasn’t on the basketball court.

We had been season ticket holders for a number of years and had been in the same seats for several of those years. When my tickets showed up that year, a mistake had taken place and only one set of tickets arrived, and it was in the wrong section. I immediately called the UD ticket office and eventually was helped by Gary McCans. He assured me that he would take care of me and was sorry for the inconvenience. There was no easy fix as all the tickets had been mailed out and there was no going back. As a result, Gary found a couple random tickets for me each game for the rest of the season.

We were watching an early season game and the beautiful African American woman next to me was completely into the action, way more than she should have been for a game against a team of little consequence. After a while, I started a conversation that would end in an amazing friendship.

I came to find out that the young lady next to me was Chris Daniels’ mother. Living in Columbus, I had scouted Chris at a few games after he had announced that he was going to attend UD. Little did I know at the time we would eventually become friends.

As the season went on, Alice, Julia and I became fast friends. Eventually we shared a few rides back and forth to the games. There is nothing like a 90-minute drive at 10:30 at night to learn a lot about the other people in the car. Through this all, we were able to spend more time with Chris often having a late dinner at Denny’s on campus.

After getting to know Chris, it was easy to understand where he learned his manners and great attitude toward life. There wasn’t a person he met that wouldn’t almost immediately fall in love with him. He was an intelligent, hard worker that could easily connect with anyone; you would never know he was a campus celebrity.

As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You can’t help but fall in love with Alice. I have never known a warmer, kinder individual. Now, don’t get me wrong. Some of those trips across I-70 were filled with disagreements on how O’Brien should be coaching the team. Occasionally, she was even right. I also like to think I am became a better parent as a result of learning from this single mother.

As the years went by, we became very close and on February 8, 1996, Alice, my son, Justin and I were going to drive down to Dayton that night, watch UD and celebrate Justin’s fifth birthday with Chris, his favorite basketball player.

Instead, that morning Julia and I immediately got in the car and drove to Alice’s home after we heard the news. We spoke very little after we got there, just hugging each other with tears running down our cheeks much like they are as I write this.

Since that horrible day we have stayed close to Alice despite the nearly 2,000 miles that separate us now. My life has been forever changed by Chris and Alice. Both Alice and I have had our own health struggles over the years, but Alice has always been there for me with prayers, caring and wonderful thoughts. Alice took her enormous grief and sorrow and turned it into a love for others that has helped many through the death of loved ones by giving lectures and counseling about loss and recovery. Too often many of us allow grief to consume our lives rather than focus it on compassion for others like Alice has. Her love for her family and friends is evident in her daily life. She continues to move forward and help make other lives better while honoring Chris’ memory.

This day will always be difficult for me, but I thank God that I have had the opportunity to know Chris, Alice and the rest of the Daniels family and count them as friends.
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By The Fly on 02-14-2021, 03:34 PM
Just saw this, John. What a wonderfully written tribute — to both Chris and Alice. A year later on the same day, Feb. 8, I lost my father, so it’s easy (and difficult) for me to remember that date. Time has eased the wound, of course, as treasured memories stepped in to fill the void. I hope time has been kind to Alice as well. She’s obviously an amazing woman, judging from what you’ve written here. Thanks for sharing this with us. My best to yours and the Daniels families!
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By John C. on 02-15-2021, 03:50 PM
Alice and her family are all doing well. Antonio is doing commentary for the Hawks and has his own radio show on Serius/XM on the NBA channel.
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