Daniel Augustus Dreyfus
March 5, 1931 – January 30, 2021
The Honorable Daniel A. Dreyfus, a public servant, combat veteran, and beloved father has passed into the Kingdom of our Lord on January 30, 2021. Following a bout of COVID-19 from which he recovered, ultimately Dementia took its toll. He was 89 years young. Daniel is survived by his wife, Josephine, five children, and six grandchildren.
Daniel was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 5, 1931 to his parents, Major General James Dreyfus and the former Edna Cecilia Hogan. After his father served in World War II and participated in the reconstruction of Japan, Daniel attended the Meguro High School in Tokyo, Japan. Relentless in his pursuit of knowledge, Daniel would go on to attain a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the George Washington University in 1957, a Master of Engineering Administration from George Washington University in 1965, and a Doctor of Philosophy from The American University in 1975. For his notable work, American University also bestowed upon him the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1980.
Before accruing his considerable academic credentials, Daniel served our nation in the Korean War. After leaving his chemistry textbook open in the library at Northwestern University, he enlisted in 1952 and saw combat as a rifleman and light machine gun squad leader in the Army’s 7th Infantry Division and was awarded the Order of the Bayonet for faithful and honorable service and a Combat Infantryman's Badge. In 1957, he was directly commissioned as a second lieutenant, and was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers. He also served as a company commander in the Eskimo Scout Battalions of the Alaska National Guard, where he delighted in toughening up special forces trainees by teaching them how to subsist on seal blubber and misery.
In between his military duties in Korea and Alaska, Daniel married the love of his life, Josephine, whom he had met on summer vacations to Long Island as a teenager. Daniel and Josephine expanded their family by five children—four daughters and one son. With his family, Daniel eventually settled in McLean, Virginia, where he pursued a career in public service.
In 1968, Daniel was appointed as a professional staff member to the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, beginning his time in the United States Senate. In 1979, he was appointed as the Staff Director for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He retired from the Senate in 1981, but not before contributing to several major legislative efforts including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 which established the Department of Energy. Daniel next took on a role at the Gas Research Institute, as the Director of Policy Analysis in a position of Deputy to the Vice President of the company and continued his presence on Capitol Hill in a slightly different capacity.
Daniel retired from GRI to return to public service in 1993, through the nomination of the Senate and appointment by then President Clinton, to serve as the Director for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, Department of Energy. While awaiting the formal appointment, he worked as a special assistant to secretary Hazel O’Leary of the Department of Energy. Daniel managed key responsibilities for the Department, including overseeing the fueling and safety of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines and surface vessels, as well as the planning and initial exploration for the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.
After retiring from federal service, Daniel was able to combine his love of history with his professional life. He joined the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as Associate Director for Operations, where he fulfilled roles as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer from 1997 to 1999.
In his spare time, Daniel enjoyed exploring his favorite hobbies: gardening, talking to nature, gunsmithing for black powder shooting, and wood working. Daniel retired in McLean, much to the delight of the region’s fauna that seemed to have an almost magnetic attraction to him. In retirement, he delighted in caring for his six grandchildren, and instilling into them the same verve for life that he enjoyed and the knowledge he acquired including ‘never walk backwards on a dock,’ ‘never pitch a tent in a dry riverbed,’ and ‘you can never have enough clamps.’
Daniel will be missed by his family, and his many friends. A man of many interests, he was privileged enough to be a member of the Cosmos Club, the Izaak Walton League, the Knights of Columbus, the American Philatelic Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Mensa.
A mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday Feb. 8th 10 AM at St. James Catholic Church, 905 Park Ave. in Falls Church. A Private burial will be held at Fairfax Memorial Park. For more information please visit murphyfuneralhomes.com. For family and friends not able to attend services in person they can be viewed at either https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC79Oij7-oo1m3kkpT9BfFXA or facebook.com/murphyfallschurch
For remembrances and condolences, please send cards to: Mrs. Dreyfus, P.O. Box 2389, Fairfax, VA 22031. Due to the current pandemic, physical viewing and services will be restricted. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the National Audubon Society (Audobon.org) or Alzheimer’s Association (ALZ.org).
Requiescat in pace.
Mass of Christian Burial
Monday, February 8, 2021
Monday, February 8, 2021
Daniel Augustus Dreyfus
February 25, 2021
Fifty Years of Friendship - Fifty Years of Memories
Our heartfelt sympathy to Kiky and the Family.
Warm summer evenings sitting in the patio counting bats as they swooped from the attic vent.
Feeding Koi as long as your arm!
Wreck diving in Truk Lagoon.
Parakeet rescue on the West Front of the Capitol. (The parakeet went home with Dan after biting his hand bloody.)
Laying on a concrete garage floor underneath a red 240Z installing a new tailpipe and muffler.
Summoning birds, chipmunks and squirrels for treats and conversation.
A beautiful hand-crafted belt knife with sheath as a gift to be cherished.
The gathering of seeds and cuttings from the grounds of the Capitol.
Recipes for mussels and potato soup.
And the stories; repeated word for word over fifty years.
Service on the battleship Wisconsin; engine room and battle station as an ammunition passer serving a Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun.
Fishing, trapping, boating as a young boy.
His time in Japan when his Father was with the occupation Forces.
Caribbean travels with a Czech refugee who fled across the border in a tank.
Winter on the frontline as a machine gunner in the Korean War.
Remote site surveys with the Corps of Engineers in Alaska.
Forced helicopter landing on the Yukon Delta.
Arctic night with his Eskimo troops
And on and on…..
And a story from me.
It was 1979, the height of the second energy crisis. Senator Jackson, Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee had called together a group of leading authorities including Admiral Hyman Rickover and physicist Edward Teller. The group was assembled in the anti-room or Library adjoining a Senate Hearing room when the door from the adjacent hallway opened and Senator Jackson entered followed by Dan.
Senator Jackson addressed the Group by saying; “I would like you all to meet Dr. Dan Dreyfus, the smartest man I have met in Government.”
I still wonder what that meant to the gigantic egos in that room.
- Russ and Linda Brown
February 9, 2021
To Kiki and the family- I will always be grateful for the opportunities Dan generously provided me when I worked for him at DOE. In the many hours we spent in his office he shared stories and wise words that to this day I have passed on to others about work, life and the journey through aging. He was very kind to me. We both grew up moving and shared the common feelings of being New in foreign countries as children. He taught me so much. Thank you for sharing him with us.
February 7, 2021
About Dan Dreyfus
Ben Cooper February 7, 2021
Dan was a mentor , a colleague and a friend to me beginning in the 1970’s. In the periods since then when we each were at different jobs, I’ve stayed in touch if only for the advice and insight available from a really smart person.
For many years Russ Brown and I had the occasional lunch with Dan, perhaps once a month. The formula: first, comment on topics of the day. Dan would have copies of one or two newspaper articles that addressed issues that interested him. These issues would be discussed, not always coming to a common conclusion, but for me nearly always picking up some facet I had not considered before. Then, good burgers at the local joint near his home, a beer (one) and talk, perhaps continuing with the earlier topics. Dan loved the talk, and Russ and I were fascinated.
Then back to his home for some time feeding the animals in the back yard: blue jays, sparrows, cardinals, chipmunks and squirrels. Dan was our version of Dr. Doolittle: he could truly talk to the animals. He would issue instructions: chipmunks would be hanging on his sleeve looking for nuts, birds fluttering to the table or the feeder for seeds and squirrels scampering from tree to table and then back with full cheek pouches. There were at different times the occasional deer, a fox and a black cat that seemed to have adopted Dan.
But there came a time when Dan and Kiki moved to the Kensington and our lunch was no longer at the burger joint, but became late breakfast at the assisted living facility. And then we had the covid virus pandemic and visits were stopped altogether.
Over the past several years, I guess we’ve been losing him bit by bit, certainly for longer than I realized, but it is now very, very hard to grasp the fact that he is really gone.
We have his great children. His inanimate accomplishments in law and policy endure. The animals have been looking for another human to talk to.
February 2, 2021
Pop loved his outdoor friends. This image is one of his Nuthatch friends who often came to his presence outside. He would meet them at their tree and hand them a precious sunflower seed. His pockets always had offerings of peanuts and sunflower seeds for the birds, chipmunks, and squirrels who came calling when he was outside.
February 1, 2021
So many memories working with Dan at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Gas Research Institute and benefiting from his many kindnesses. A truly great man. Rest In Peace, dear DAD.
February 1, 2021
So sorry to hear of the passing of a great man. I had the honor of working for Dan for several years in the early 1990s at the Department of Energy as his Deputy. He was a wonderful person of honor, dedication, conviction, wit, and also humor when he wanted. He was a naturally born leader and dedicated public servant who used his immense talents and knowledge for the common good of all. He was also a great teacher to learn the ways of Washington from. We were all blessed to have known him. He will be greatly missed.