Dan was born on February 29, 1928, in East Boston, MA, he was the cherished son of the late John W. “Jack” and Charlotte M. (Clague) Wandell. Dan grew up in Winthrop, he spent many summers at Silver Lake in Wilmington, before his family moved to Wilmington permanently 1943. Dan graduated Wilmington High School Class of 1946.
Forever a proud American, Dan enlisted in the United States Navy on August 30, 1950, to serve his country during the Korean War. Dan served overseas and received several commendations for his service, he was honorably discharged on June 18, 1954.
Dan returned to his family in Wilmington and to the love of his life Catherine E. “Betty” Hennessy whom he met during the many years his family summered at Silver Lake. He and Betty married on July 18, 1954, spending 53 wonderful years of marriage and raising seven great children together before her passing in November of 2007.
Dan always had a passion for serving his community and doing for others, his career at the Wilmington Fire Department began on February 12, 1957, when he was the first Firefighter in Wilmington to be appointed by Civil Service. Dan worked hard for the town and the Fire Department, he moved up as Deputy Chief on February 23, 1971, serving in that capacity until January 31, 1980. Dan was appointed Chief on February 1, 1980, working tirelessly to fill his position and oversee the many changes that took place over the years until he retired on February 26, 1993.
Dan also served his community well outside the Fire Department he was a member of the Finance Committee, a Selectman for two terms where he served as Chairman of the Board, and a Wilmington Youth Hockey Coach, bringing his team to win a championship.
Everyone who came in contact with Dan knew he loved the town of Wilmington and the Wilmington Fire Department, but what he loved most was his family, they were the center of his world. Dan was very involved in his children’s school activities and their sporting events. He seldom missed a play or a game, always there to support and encourage his kids. He and Betty vacationed on the Cape with the children where they swam and fished along the Bass River, the family had a great time making many memories to last throughout generations to come.
As the years passed and the grandchildren came along, Dan cherished every moment with them he enjoyed babysitting, taking them to school, watching their sports, showing them how to fish, taking them to the movies, and attending the many special events in their lives. He was always encouraging them to do their best and relished in their accomplishments. He was an awesome grandfather according to them.
In his spare time, Dan enjoyed traveling with family and friends, watching the Patriots, Bruins, and of course the Red Sox with Betty. Dan followed boxing, a sport that he dabbled in as a youngster and did pretty well at.
He will be fondly remembered by his family and friends as a loving and devoted family man, a hard worker, and a true friend to many, they will miss him dearly but are comforted to know that he is reunited with his beloved Betty.
Dan was the beloved husband of the late Catherine E. “Betty” (Hennessy) Wandell, devoted father of Kim McDonough-Gawron and her husband Chris of Hollis, ME, Daniel C. Wandell, Jr. of Wilmington, Joan Wandell of Lowell, Susan Landry and her husband William of Billerica, Nancy Brothers and her husband Patrick of Tewksbury, Kathy Mireault and her husband Erik of Lowell, and Michael Wandell and his wife Bridget of Dracut, loving grandfather of Erin, Patrick, Jack, Kevin, Meaghan, Allyson, Curt, Victoria, Danielle, Danny, Keith, Brandon, Billy, Sean, Tommy, Patrick, Kiley, Megan, Mikey, Kaleigh, and great-grandchildren Devin, Cori, Cayden, Bryelle, and Colin, he was the dear brother of Josephine “Sis” Bell of South Carolina and John W. “Jack” Wandell, Jr. of Connecticut, Dan is also survived by many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Wednesday, December 22nd at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, at 10:00 a.m. Interment Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visiting hours Tuesday, December 21st from 2-4 & 5-9 p.m.
Memorial donations in Daniel’s name may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Headquarters, 3300 East Sunrise Drive, Tucson, AZ 85718.