WPRM Steam team member and good friend Dana Greeley passed away suddenly Sunday, July 26th, 2009. He was 49 years old. Cause is yet to be determined. His only surviving family is his brother, Doug. I spoke with Dana that Saturday before, and he was feeling poorly. I urged him to get to a clinic but he was determined to put his doctor visit off until Monday. I could be angry at him for being so stubborn, but that would be fruitless. Dana’s stubbornness was actually one of his more endearing qualities. His being argumentative and opinionated led me to more thoughtful decisions, or just shook me out of my supposed “Tree of Knowledge” at which point I would land on my butt, which would in turn cause me to rethink whatever I thought I was doing.
Dana and I met in the late 1970’s at the then California Railway Museum, now the Western Railway Museum near Rio Vista, California. I was involved in the steam program there, and he was primarily involved in maintaining the diesels. Of course in an environment like that, with so few volunteers, everyone did everything, so Dana and I would work together on track projects and the like. In those days Dana seemed a bit brusque. That might be attributed to the museum environment, youthful exuberance, or many other things; however later in life, removed from the Museum we became great pals. I would look forward to our driving trips over the mountain to Portola, or the gatherings in our friend’s backyards watching G-Scale trains going in circles.
Back in the day we really did think we were immortal. Shoving cuts of cars around with electric locomotives in the dark gave us a sense of empowerment, I suppose. Now we know this not to be true. Dana’s passing is a moment of great sadness for all of us, not only do we mourn this great guy, but also the passing of our youth.
David Wallace related the following: “Dana left this world within 20 feet of where he entered it....he was the only person I met who was born in his parent’s living room!”
No doubt his parents were there to welcome him back home. Goodbye old friend. - JCA