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Daniel Haines Shertzer, Sr.

Posted By DeBord-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On November 25, 2014 @ 11:40 am In Obituaries | 6 Comments

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A fighter for social justice, a supportive patriarch to his family, and a curious, brilliant intellect, Daniel Haines Shertzer, Sr. left this earth surrounded by family on November 21, 2014.

Born April 22, 1926, he was the oldest of four children born in Lancaster to Joel Haines Shertzer and Elva Ayres Shertzer. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Carolyn L. Shertzer, daughter Stephanie Shertzer Lawson; sons Daniel H. Jr., husband of Yolagnis Shertzer, and Jason Haines Shertzer, and beloved granddaughter Isabella N. Shertzer, all of Lancaster; children by marriage Valerie Tharnish and Craig Ethridge of Sarasota FL, and their four children. Also surviving are a sister, Dorothy Skeen, Mission Viejo, CA, and a brother, Jere H. husband of Marilyn Ryan Shertzer of Devon, PA.  He was predeceased by a brother, James Shertzer of Indiana, PA.

Dan attended Carnegie Tech on an ROTC Special Training program and served in the Army in Texas during WWII. He graduated from both Franklin & Marshall College and Dickinson Law within five years of his discharge and was admitted to the Lancaster Bar in 1949. He was both the youngest member of the Bar at age 22 and the oldest, having practiced law for more than 60 years. He was a voracious and eternal student of the law and a fierce and indefatigable defender of those in need.

After being active in the Young Republicans, he became an ardent Democrat and, at different points in his life, served as a committeeman for both parties. As an attorney, he was deeply involved in Lancaster’s civil rights movement in the 1960’s. He successfully represented Amish fathers who were jailed for refusing to send their children to public school beyond the 8th grade, resulting in a law that to this day exempts the Amish from attending public high school, which helped to preserve their culture.    He was involved in desegregating the Rocky Springs Pool, and established and for decades ran the Pennsylvania office of the American Civil Liberties Union.  He was one of the founders of the Central Pennsylvania (now Mid-Penn) Legal Services, which serves those who can’t afford legal services.  He loved history and the historic buildings in his lifelong home of Lancaster, and was one of the organizers who saved the Fulton Opera House from destruction in the 1960’s, preserving it for future generations to enjoy.  He studied the lives of American liberal Patriots Thaddeus Stevens and Jasper Yeates, among others.  He was elected Judge Advocate of the national AMVETS.

Dan had an amazing intellect and was a voracious reader, which made him the best informed person in the room on almost any topic: Roman history, the genome, astronomy, archeology, the Civil War. He had a concise, dry wit that remained to the end, and a contagious laugh. He traveled to places as varied as Europe and Cuba, enjoyed skiing, building stone walls that have survived for half a century, good food and wine, reading, sailing, classical music, politics and being in the company of friends and family.  He did not suffer fools, but he took your side fiercely and led his life to help others.

A memorial service will be held Friday, December 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM at the Kearney Snyder Funeral Home, 141 E. Orange St, Lancaster, PA with Mayor Rick Gray officiating.  Friends may call at the funeral home on Friday, December 12th from 10:00 A.M. until the time of the service.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Fulton Opera House or Mid-Penn Legal Services.

Condolences for the family of “Daniel Haines Shertzer, Sr.”

Condolence from Deborah B. Everett (formerly Shertzer) on November 26th, 2014 9:21 am

Dear Carolyn, Dorothy, Jere and Family,

I noticed Dan’s obituary online this morning and wanted to send sympathy to you all. It has been years since I’ve last had contact with you, but I well remember as a young family member good times, often at family picnics hosted by Dan and sometimes by Aunt Elva and Uncle Haines.

You can be so very proud of the many accomplishments Dan achieved.

Just know you are in my thoughts and prayers at this time of reflection and sorrow.

Debbie Benson Everett, Oak Bluffs, MA

Condolence from Suzette Kneedler on November 26th, 2014 10:50 am

Dear Carolyn and family,

We were surprised and saddened to read Dan’s obituary this morning. We always enjoyed his wit and lively company. What an amazing list of accomplishments. He was such a humble man. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts are with you.

Suzette and Dick Kneedler

Condolence from laura ferenczy on November 26th, 2014 2:01 pm

Dear Steph and Danny,
You may not remember your old Charlotte St neighbors. But I will always fondly remember you. It is hard to lose a Dad. Hold on to the good memories. Cherish them. Our prayers go with you.
Laura “Lynn” Reed Ferenczy

Condolence from kathryn l potter on November 26th, 2014 2:51 pm

dear family i noticed the obituary this afternoon i remember the fun cookouts and the fire down in the ravine at aunt elvas house we have so many momories there when my brother rob and sister sue would play hours there at your moms home will miss you and godbless you dan for everything you have done for our family you truly were a wonderful person love kathy and emma potter

Condolence from Bill Gassman on November 27th, 2014 8:21 am

So sorry to read about Dan’s departure but not surprised by his accomplishments. Almost 62 years to the day, Dan, fellow frat brother, Zim, and I waited together for the delivery of our first child, as we had done for Stephanie’s arrival and the arrival of Zim’s first child. New Years’ get togethers became traditions as we raised our families but we went in different directions and lost touch with each other. My sincere condolences to his surviving family. You may be proud of the legacy he leaves.

Condolence from Sandie Skeen on December 10th, 2014 12:18 pm

Dear Stephanie, Danny, Uncle Jere, Jason, Aunt Carolyn I am so saddened by the news of Uncle Dan, but all the wonderful, fantastic memories I have will never be forgotten! My childhood was so fantastic because of all of you! The picnics in the raven, the train, sleeping in the tent, everything! I think of Uncle Dan every time I hear a Beattle song, everytime I see a rope swing on a tree I remember Uncle Dan swinging on, so many memories! Oh and the time Stephanie, Danny,Craig and I took Blackie in the house!! What fun we had! The vacations to Ocean City! Uncle Dan and all if you will live in my heart for ever!! Rest in peace Uncle Dan! You are the BEST!!!!!

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