Daniel Edgar CoonsOctober 6, 1932 ~ May 3, 2017 (age 84)
Daniel E. Coons, passed away at his home on May 3rd, 2017, surrounded by family. He was born October 6, 1932 in Kingston, NY to Russell T. and Mildred A. (Rittie) Coons. He was raised in Stamford, NY and graduated from Stamford Central School. He attended Champlain College before receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Harper College (SUNY Binghamton). He received his Master’s degree and Doctorate of Education from the State University of New York at Albany.
He served in the US Army overseas during the Korean War era. Upon returning to the states, he taught history and coached football from 1958 to 1968 at Cooperstown (NY) Central School where he was beloved by his students. It was as a teacher and mentor that Dan found his true calling. He went on to teach at the State University College at Oneonta before moving to Dover, Delaware to take a position as Director of Libraries and Learning Resources at Delaware State University. In 1987, Dan combined his love of teaching with his passion for flying and founded the Airway Science Department at Delaware State University. He continued to serve as the aviation program director until retiring for the first time in 1992.
Following this retirement, he moved to Cairo, Egypt for two years, where he worked through a USAID grant to oversee the construction of the Egyptian National Agricultural Library. Upon completion of the project, he returned to chair the aviation department at Del State from 1995-1997 and continued part time until 2006.
In 1985, he married JoAnn (Kakos) Coons, the love of his life. They formed an inseparable partnership during their 32 years of marriage, travelling the world and embarking on great adventures.
His greatest legacy may be the creation of the aviation program at Delaware State University. This unique program provides opportunities to minority students in a field rarely available to them and which produces a large number of professional pilots. “Doc,” as he was called by his students, had a deep love and admiration for his students, who continued to stay in touch throughout his life and who he fondly referred to as his “kids.”
In 2003, he was honored by Kent County as an educator of distinction. He was a founding member of the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame, who honored him with induction to the Hall in 2011. In 2011, he was recognized by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) for his contributions to the education of black pilots. He was honored by the Tuskegee Airmen with the first Lemuel E Curtis Award for his service to minority pilots. He served as president of the Kent County (DE) Chapter of the Korean War Vets for several years.
He is survived by his wife JoAnn and his children Daniel E. Coons (Cassie) of Wolfeboro, NH, Kim M. Coons (Morton Korn) of Nyack, NY, Candace Coons Snyder of Madison, NJ, and stepchildren Karen Furlong Shemwell (Charlie) of Santa Clara, CA, and Robert Furlong (Ann Hicks) of Muncie, IN. He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren Matthew Coons, Bradley Coons, Jennifer Meanley, Brian Meanley, Ben Korn, Hannah Korn, Garrett Snyder, Julian Snyder, Gabe Luke, TJ Luke, Alice Luke, Kate Shemwell, Sam Shemwell, Leo Furlong, and Esther Furlong.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dr. Daniel E. Coons Endowed Scholarship. Checks can be made to Delaware State University Foundation and mailed to Dr. Daniel E Coons Endowed Scholarship/Delaware State University Foundation, 1200 North DuPont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901. For more information, contact the Division of Institutional Advancement at (302) 857-6055.
A Celebration of Life will take place on May 20th at 3:00 pm at the Delaware Airpark, 127 Durham Lane, Dover, DE 19904 (Cheswold, DE.)