Life Story / Obituary
With a strong will, determination, and an independent spirit, Daniel "Daddio" Maciejewski lived a life rich in family and friends. Cloaked in a tough guy exterior, Dan's loving ways proved especially endearing to those who knew him best. Outgoing and quick-witted, Dan never met a stranger and often inspired laughter and much-needed levity. Both hardworking and playful, Dan embraced each moment as a gift and every person as a friend. Loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, "Daddio" will long be remembered and ever so missed.
1947 proved a year of continued celebration of the nation's momentous victory in World War II. America's heroes eagerly returned home to a country filled with renewed spirit and hope, ready to claim their share of the American Dream, which they fought so proudly for overseas. As American prosperity grew like no time in our history, hope sprang eternal, and the Greatest Generation soon proliferated, creating the age of the Baby Boomers. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the cause for celebration grew even greater for Walter and Irene (Ziombkowski) Maciejewski as they welcomed their son, Dan, into their hearts and home on June 7.
The third of the seven Maciejewski kids, Dan naturally possessed a strong will from the start. It proved an important quality, especially when his family's home, and everything in it, was destroyed in a house fire. In order for his parents to be able to concentrate on working to rebuild everything, Dan and his siblings lived in foster care for a time. In time, the family was reunited and settled in the Newaygo area on Hess Lake. Eventually, they returned to Grand Rapids to where his parents worked. Dan's lifelong love of dogs began in his early years. As a kid, he built a kennel for the German Shepherds and would often go out in winter and sleep with them on the hay.
A spirited and headstrong teenager, Dan never met a challenge he didn't believe he could conquer. Once he set his mind to something, nothing could get in his way. Once, he decided to ride his bike to see his aunts and visit the zoo in Grand Rapids. With signature determination, he got on his bike and made the trip from Newaygo. Dan enjoyed roller skating and creating art. He even won 2nd place in a statewide competition. He cut grass and worked a paper route to make money and was a proud graduate of Grant High School's class of 1967.
One winter day in 1967, Dan participated in a legendary snowball fight that involved one of the neighbor girls, Deb Louks. Instantly smitten, Dan told one of his friends that "you watch someday, I'm going to get that girl. The pair were soon dating and setting their eyes on sharing the future. After courting for a year and a half, the happy couple married on September 23, 1970, at the courthouse in Grand Rapids, officially beginning their 50-year adventure.
The newlyweds began their married lives in the home on Hess Lake, and Dan worked for U Haul. A couple of years later, they settled into their forever home next door to Deb's childhood home on 2nd Street in Grand Rapids. In time, Dan and Deb were blessed to welcome a son and daughter to their family. Darcy and Daniel quickly became the centers of their lives, and they worked hard to afford them a loving and supportive home. This included Dan changing jobs in order to be home more. He became a mechanic and worked for Mac Truck, Star Truck rental, and lastly, Velting Contractors, where he eventually retired.
Though Dan had a loud bark, he was a teddy bear on the inside, and he quickly became an adoptive dad to many of his children's friends and was soon endearingly called "Daddio" by everyone who knew him. A natural smart ass, as his children grew older and began dating, Deb frequently asked them if they'd warned their dates about their dad and his long tradition of testing people to see if they were strong enough to be in his family.
Dan was a resourceful hard worker, who loved a challenge and who also understood the importance of play. He liked going to amusement parks with the kids and spending time at their camper on Lincoln Lake. Many summer days were spent riding golf carts and taking rides on the pontoon. Evenings were spent gathered around the bonfire. His radio was always on and frequently tuned into the classic tunes of Johnny Cash. Saturday Polka Pops were a tradition, as was enjoying a Miller Light, Stroh's, or Bud Light. He wasn't very picky when it came to food. A meat and potatoes kind of guy, he liked Frank's Kielbasa and chili dogs from Mr. Burger. He never turned down Tootsie Rolls or Bit-O-Honey. He'd watch anything on the Discovery or History Channels and held regular Sunday Nascar race parties, enthusiastically cheering on his favorite driver, Tony Stewart. Though he never learned to play golf, he enjoyed watching the game, and his fellow left-hander, Phil Mickelson, was his favorite player.
Twenty-five years ago, Dan was hit by a garbage truck. Though he was able to continue to work, he eventually required several back surgeries to tend to his injuries. Sadly, despite his and his medical team's efforts, over time, he slowly lost more and more of his mobility. At age 60, he retired for medical reasons, and for quite some time, required the assistance of a cane. Eventually, he needed the support of a walker. As his mobility continued to decline, he became isolated at home and eventually was hospitalized at Butterworth Hospital, where he passed away.
Without a doubt, the world is significantly duller in the absence of Daddio's robust spirit. May we find comfort in our many cherished memories and in the honor of carrying his legacy of determination and good humor forward. With each roller coaster, pontoon, and golf cart ride we take, American Pickers episode we watch, bonfire we gather around, and quick quip we share, we celebrate the best of Dan's legacy. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Daniel "Daddio" Maciejewski, age 74, on January 30, 2021. He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Irene Maciejewski, and sister, Nancy Wortman. Daniel "Daddio" is survived by Debra, his wife of 50 years; children, Darcy Maciejewski and Daniel (Kate) Maciejewski; grandchildren, Taylor and Madison; and many siblings. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. A celebration of life service will take place later this summer. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Dan's life story, submit a favorite memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.