Some people are lucky to like their jobs. Daniel Lorenzo Decker loved his. To him, work equaled fun.
Daniel was born in Provo, Utah, on September 22, 1929. He moved to Arizona six years later where he helped with the family farm and excavating business. During his childhood, he drove heavy equipment solo across the reservation, attended a Hopi snake dance, and survived a violent tornado. On his LDS mission to Hawaii, he served the Kalaupapa Leprosy Colony. After graduating with a Ph.D. in physics and becoming a professor at Brigham Young University, Daniel visited universities all over the world, collaborating with scientists from China to France.
Whenever he could, Daniel took the road less traveled, including quite a few precarious ones on top of mountainous cliffs. He enjoyed hiking, biking, and camping with the Boy Scouts. He loved singing, playing the violin, and gardening. He found great pleasure serving as an LDS bishop (twice).
There is not enough space to list all of the accolades Daniel received during his professional career—and in the end none of them mattered as much to him as did his God and his family (though he was pretty proud of his work on the Decker Equation of State for NaCl, which was named after him).
In 1954, Daniel married fellow scientist, Bonnie Beardall, in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. Together they had seven children with whom Daniel passionately shared his love of math, science, board games, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Daniel was a husband and father who embraced both roles—secretly leaving Valentines on the porch for his sweetheart, hiding bags of candy in his briefcase on Monday nights for his kids, and singing non-stop in the station wagon during family trips.
In 1988, Daniel was appointed as Chair of BYU’s Physics Department and served in that capacity for nearly a decade. In his “golden years,” he fulfilled a second LDS mission with Bonnie to Seattle, Washington, after which he continued to donate countless hours as a family history consultant. He enjoyed 62 beautiful earthly years of marriage to Bonnie before her death. On February 23, 2018, Daniel passed from this life and rejoined Bonnie, this time for eternity.
Daniel will be greatly missed by his surviving siblings Catharine, David, and Jerry; his seven children and their spouses: Kenneth & Mary Decker, Renae & Randy Everitt, Ralph & Tracy Decker, Max & Lisa Decker, Eldon & Katherine Decker, Keith & Karen Decker, and Lois & McKay Brown; his 47 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held at the LDS Provo Peaks 2nd Ward church (965 North Locust Lane, Provo, Utah) on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. His funeral will be at 11 a.m. at the same location. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Brigham Young University or the LDS Church missionary fund.