Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Daniel Marra

January 1, 1950 - April 1, 2022
Kalamazoo, MI


Prayer Service

Saturday, April 30, 2022
11:00 AM to 11:30 AM PDT
White Emerson Mortuary
13304 Philadelphia Street
Whittier, CA 90601
(562) 698-0304

Graveside Service

Saturday, April 30, 2022
12:00 PM PDT
Olive Lawn Memorial Park
13926 S. La Mirada Blvd.
La Mirada, CA 90638


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

St. Jude Research Hospital
Web Site

Los Angeles Animal Protection Services
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Daniel Marra was an independent and free spirit who lived each day to the fullest. With passion and tenacity, Daniel was unyielding in the face of adversity. When life proved challenging, he fought, sacrificed, and pressed on until he made it through to the other side. He didn’t always have the right tools to get the job done, but he always found a way to not only survive but thrive. Daniel genuinely loved people and firmly believed that there was always more to a person than the image they projected. To him, a man dressed in rags might have a beautiful soul and some interesting stories, while a person dressed to the nines might be someone need to be wary of. He believed that no matter where we begin in life, we can always do better and that the measure of success is not the money we have but how we treat others. In every action, he showed us that no matter where we are, we should always try to do better…to be better. Steadfast and loyal son, brother, father, and friend, Daniel will long be remembered and so very missed.

From his earliest days, Daniel possessed a keen ability to genuinely connect with people. He never met a stranger, instead, he greeted every person as a friend. Just as he treasured a close relationship with his mother, he also came to believe that his chosen family was every bit as important as his biological relatives. He quickly learned to trust the bonds that can be formed with others that transcend anything words can adequately describe. And while he enjoyed formal traditions, he much preferred simply being in the presence of the right people, celebrating any and every occasion.

As a father, Daniel took a “hands-off” approach, allowing his kids to grow at their own pace and into who they wanted to be. He was a proud and supportive father who taught his kids to push themselves to succeed. He gave his kids all the tools to survive in this world, encouragement, validation, and his own example of continuous growth. Many of his sons’ best qualities were shaped and inspired by Daniel’s words and by his actions. Whether sharing his passions for music, food, and people or teaching them new skills, Daniel consciously guided Devin and Damon. When the kids were young, Daniel always looked forward to taking them to the annual May Day picnic at McGroarty Park, where they enjoyed food, family, friends, and music. As Devin hit his 20s, Daniel honored his son’s passion for cars by buying a 1987 second-generation Prelude. The car became a vehicle to connect more deeply over the years. Daniel encouraged his kids to face challenges head-on. Once, while teaching his son to drive a stick shift, he parked the car on the steepest hill and told his son, “OK, drive.” Needless to say, that didn’t end so well, and they never spoke of it again.

Music and food were the cornerstones of Daniel’s life. He believed music was essential to the soul and always had music playing, was playing music himself, or quoting song lyrics. He had a great voice for singing. He loved live music and attended countless concerts. A favorite memory was taking his sons to an Aerosmith concert. Later that night at the hotel, they ran into three members of the band, who autographed a bootleg t-shirt for them. Music is one of many beautiful gifts Daniel celebrated with his friends and passed on to his children.

A little over 20 years ago, Daniel developed an intense love for cooking. He quickly became an amazing cook and used his talents to express his love for others. For all who had the pleasure of experiencing what he made, it was abundantly clear that he infused each bite with love, respect, and commitment to their well-being. Daniel truly hit his stride during his time at Universal Studios, where he earned the name “Chef Dan” and proudly ran the employee kitchens, cooking for hundreds of people per day. He also catered special events and was known for starting an annual Thanksgiving event that raised money for the Rex Foundation, a nonprofit for the environment, arts, and social services. Gracefully blending his love for people, music, and food, Daniel fully self-actualized when he became a cook and integrated with the deadhead community.

Daniel also possessed a phenomenal talent for strategy games. He played chess all the time, and his opponents had to work hard to beat him. Despite the challenge, he would encourage everyone he played and acknowledge them for playing a good game no matter the outcome. He also expertly played computer games dominating every game at its highest level of difficulty. A devoted fan of the L.A. Raiders, he loved watching their football games. If he couldn’t watch live, he’d record the games on an old VCR. And, even though his seats at the L.A. Coliseum were at the very top of the stadium and required binoculars to watch the game, being in attendance always filled him and his sons with excitement. The atmosphere of communing with 85,000 fans was more important than anything else. Daniel also generously gave of himself in support of animals and children suffering from cancer.

An unwavering defender of all that is good, Daniel proved a powerful inspiration for all who were blessed to know him. In every moment he taught us how to live an authentic and heart-centered life. He showed us how to face life’s challenges with courage, stand up for our beliefs, and persist in being our best selves. He taught us that being true to ourselves meant never compromising our principles and that we should get in the mix, engage in life, and be fully present. As we choose to actively grow and march to our own beat, we live the best of Daniel’s legacy. And, each time we hear songs by Grateful Dead, Little Feat, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, treat ourselves to a banana cream pie, Crème Brule, or beef stroganoff, or see a Studebaker pickup or a 1950 Dodge at a car show, we will feel Daniel’s presence and give thanks for the many ways he gifted our lives.

Daniel Neil Marra passed away peacefully on April 3, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Daniel was born to his parents, Anthony Paul and Glenda Lynn (Jackson) Marra on December 28, 1956 in Omaha, Nebraska. Though born in Nebraska, his formative years were spent in California, graduating from Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary and Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga, CA.

He is preceded in death by his mother Glenda; Daniel is survived by his father Anthony; two sons: Damon (Rebecca) of McKinney, TX, Devin (Alba) of Tujunga, CA, one grandchild, Jace Marra, sibling David (Anne) Marra of Kalamazoo, MI, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral Services led by Father George Brincat will be held Saturday, April 30 at White Emerson Mortuary in Whittier, CA, beginning at 11:00 am. Interment will immediately follow at Olive Lawn Memorial Park, La Mirada, CA, concluding all services at the graveside. https://www.whiteemerson.com/obituary/644311/daniel-neil--marra/

Life Story Services provided by Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. (269) 375-2900. Visit Daniel's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook.