Dr. Ivan Edward Danhof Ph.D. M.D.
June 24, 1928 – July 15, 2021
Ivan Edward Danhof left his earthly body on Thursday, July 15, 2021, just two weeks following his 93rd birthday. He had been bravely battling blood cancer for the past 5 years. The angels who had been calling finally were heard and brought him home with them in glory to join the other beloved family members who were certainly at Heaven’s gates with Our Lord to greet him.
With his passing, the world lost a truly amazing and unique individual. He was a medical doctor (specializing in gastroenterology), medical researcher, medical school professor, motivational speaker, lecturer, accomplished architectural designer, linguist, musician (playing the piano and organ), singer, composer, church music director, pipe organ designer and builder, author, and Bible scholar.
But most importantly, he is our precious Ikey, Daddy, Gandy, and Ghee to a devoted adoring family of siblings, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews and the many church members, colleagues, and former students whom he had blessed with his time, endless patience, and limitless love. If love, respect, admiration, and gratitude could be monetized, he was certainly one of the wealthiest men who ever lived.
He always saw the good in everyone he met and went out of his way to help anyone in need. He truly led a life during which he lived his Christian faith by “walking the talk”, taking every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and set an example of service and faith that is continuing through his children and grandchildren. He was touched by angels many times in his life; events he recounted with his family and in his witness to others in search of The Lord.
He was preceded in death by his parents, the Reverend Benjamin John Danhof and Lois Dena Vandenberg Danhof; sister, Marie Danhof Cooper and brother, the Reverend John Benjamin Danhof.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 71 years Martha Aye Crouch Danhof of Grand Prairie; sister, the Reverend Phyllis Danhof Speck of Dallas, and his entire host of adoring offspring.
Our father was the patriarch of a very close family consisting of both biological children and children that the family always refers to as those “God-given” via divine intervention. The children include Sadir Ahmad of Grand Prairie, Rev. Janie Marie Danhof Slaten of Cedar Hill, Mark Edward Danhof of Grand Prairie, Lucinda Kay Johnson of Grand Prairie, Dr. Martha Lynn Danhof of Fort Worth, Masahiro Tajima currently residing in Sweden, Gary Phillip Danhof of Lubbock, and Dr. Faiz Behsudi of Virginia. His children-in-law include Debra Danhof of Grand Prairie, Melody Danhof of Lubbock, David Bourland of Fort Worth, Harry Slaten of Cedar Hill, and Liz Behsudi of Virginia.
Grand children include Allen Read, Robert Danhof, Brittany Danhof Pillers, Alyssa Ann Belcher, Hunter Danhof, Jennifer Danhof Baxter, and Emily Belcher. Great Grandchildren include Benjamin Read, Chase Pillers, Zoe Danhof, Wren Danhof, Molly Pillers, Duke Read, and Maisie Baxter. Survivors also include sister-in-law, Moira Lee Crouch of Grand Prairie, 8 nieces and nephews and 6 great nieces and nephews.
Born in Grand Haven, Michigan, on June 24, 1928, he moved to Texas with his parents and 3 siblings in 1945 when his father accepted the pastorate at a local church. It was at church that our parents met and found their life-long love. They were married at the home of our mother’s aunt, Aileen Millar Roark, on Church Street in Grand Prairie on January 22, 1950.
Dr. Danhof had been a resident of Grand Prairie, Texas, for more than 60 years with brief absences to attend graduate school in Illinois in 1950 to 1953, and to serve as a Fulbright scholar in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in 1968 and 1969.
After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas in 1946, he and our mother attended North Texas Agricultural College (NTAC), now UTA, car-pooling with other family and church members to attend the 2-year college. Our parents completed their baccalaureate studies at North Texas State University now the University of North Texas. Dr. Danhof held the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in microbiology from UNT. Our parents left for Champaign Urbana, Illinois on their wedding day for Ivan to begin his graduate studies at the University of Illinois – Champaign Urbana. He earned the Master of Science degree in nutrition and the doctorate in Physiology at UI.
The couple returned to Texas in 1953 where he joined the faculty as a professor of physiology at Southwestern Medical School, now the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas. He continued to teach physiology at the medical school while simultaneously attending as a student. He completed his studies for his medical degree (M.D.) and graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1962. He completed a post-graduate fellowship in gastroenterology at the Gastrointestinal Research Foundation of the Southwest in 1966 training developing subspecialty expertise in gastroenterological diseases, clinical pharmacology, and clinical nutrition. While in private practice specializing in digestive medicine, he continued his relationship as an associate professor in physiology and a medical scientist teaching and conducting pharmaceutical and clinical research at the medical school for 30 years.
In 1968, he was selected to serve as a Fulbright Scholar in the U.S. Government-sponsored cultural exchange program for scientists and physicians to teach and conduct research in foreign countries. He served as a clinical professor at the University of Nangrahar in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in 1969 and 1970. This assignment included taking the entire family – Martha and 3 of the four children to live in Afghanistan during his tenure. He not only taught medical school students but served as a clinician at the university hospital in Jalalabad and was able to improve the care and services through sharing his expertise, arranging for interns and residents from Texas to rotate through the hospital and in securing donations of medical equipment and supplies from Dallas medical institutions.
It was during his tenure in Jalalabad that our father’s interest in herbal medicine expanded from its start during his days studying nutrition at the University of Illinois. He was made aware of the herbal remedies used by the nomads who frequented the hospital’s emergency department when they could no longer treat their ill with their folk remedies. This interest would later grow into his most outstanding medical research with the aloe vera plant.
It was in Afghanistan that the family gained two additional siblings – Sadir Ahmad and Faiz Behsudi, both ending up in Texas after the family’s return. Ahmad trained as a dental technologist and has been a resident of Grand Prairie for the past 30 years, and Faiz completed his medical studies and has been practicing medicine in Virginia for the past 25 years.
He served as director of post-graduate and continuing education for Methodist Hospitals of Dallas from 1970-1976. He left that position to establish North Texas Medical Associates in 1976, establishing a private medical practice and research laboratory in Grand Prairie. As the practice and research expanded, Dr. Danhof designed and had constructed his own free-standing medical facility located at 222 S.W. 2nd Street in Grand Prairie. This facility also houses IED Limited, a nutraceutical company founded by Dr. Danhof to develop and provide nutritional and herbal products to physicians and other clinical practitioners.
While in private practice and research, Dr. Danhof served as a consultant and contributing researcher to several pharmaceutical firms. He also served on several review panels and committees of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dealing primarily with gastrointestinal drugs. These activities led to trips to Great Britain, Europe, China, Cuba, and the Middle East in pursuit of international collaborative research efforts. These trips often included our mother, Martha, and led to many family evenings recounting their adventures, the people they met and cultural discoveries in these foreign lands.
Dr. Danhof's research was varied and focused primarily on digestive diseases and natural substances for treatment of those diseases in the 1980s. He began to focus his research on aloe vera in the mid-1980s and published the results of much of his study in his book entitled, “Remarkable Aloe – Aloe through the Ages” in 1987. The book is included in the collection of the Library of Congress. His research became more focused on the treatment of cancer using molecular abstracts of aloe when his grandson Phillip Hunter Danhof was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia at the age of 2 in 1994. At that time Dr. Danhof began focusing his research on treatments for fighting cancers of various types particularly those associated with leukemia using aloe vera. The more he analyzed and studied aloe, the greater the potential he discovered in its healing properties.
This aloe vera research became the primary focus of his professional activities in the 1990s and continued until his retirement at age 90 in 2018. His research work, lectures, published scientific papers and the nutritional products he developed from the aloe vera plant led to his recognition as one of the leading worldwide experts on the aloe vera plant and its molecular composition and therapeutic properties.
Dr. Danhof was recognized as a worldwide expert on aloe vera and its healing properties in 2001 by the National Aloe Science Council. In honoring him, the council recounted his breakthrough research in the use of molecular abstracts of aloe vera which have been proven effective at stimulating the body’s own immune system to destroy invasive cancer cells. Dr. Danhof was also honored by his alma mater, the University of North Texas, as a distinguished graduate in 2005.
His research led to the development and commercial production of a number of nutraceutical products that not only have assisted in the treatment of digestive disorders but in the treatment and cure of certain cancers. He held a number of patents for these nutraceutical products which are currently used in a variety of clinics throughout the world. The products are distributed through his nutraceutical company, IED Limited, which operates from the Danhof Building in Grand Prairie.
Dr. Danhof was the author of more than 90 research studies and numerous scientific articles addressing aloe vera as well as many other diseases and treatments for digestive disorders.
Both doctor Danhof and his wife Martha we're founding members of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, a church that was founded by his father, in 1950. Immanuel Church remains open and is located at 1202 N.E. 20th Street in Grand Prairie Texas. Dr. Danhof was the principal architectural contributor to the design and construction of the current church building which was dedicated in 1957. He also played a key role in the design of the church’s distinctive stained-glass windows, which depict the key principles of the Christian faith.
Ivan was the choral director for the church and served as church organist for much of his adult life. It was during his service as choir director that he wrote many hymns and anthems which were performed by the church choir and by other religious choirs throughout the North Texas area. His mother, Lois Danhof, was an accomplished religious poet and often provided the lyrics for his musical compositions. The two collaborated in 1963 and 1964 on Dr. Danhof’s choral cantata entitled, “The Appearances,” which recounts the appearances of Christ during his ministry, at his crucifixion, after his resurrection and in his ascension. This work was performed by collaborative Christian choral groups in Dallas and in Grand Prairie on multiple occasions over the years.
Our father’ hobbies were as varied and interesting as his professional pursuits. Growing up in a multi-lingual household with both of his parents coming from the Netherlands, he spoke Dutch and pursued the study of many other languages to aid in his professional research. He was fluent in Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Pharsee, Pashtu, and Esperanto and could “get by” as he would say in Japanese and Mandarin.
He loved architecture and shared this love with his children during our many international trips which were individual educational study experiences for all of us. He designed both commercial buildings (including one that is still standing on Main Street in Grand Prairie), church buildings and residences to make extra money during high school and college. He continued this activity even after graduating from medical school – designing residences for colleagues and eventually, the Danhof family home in Grand Prairie which was built in 1964 and expanded over the years as the family grew.
Daddy loved to travel, and our family vacations were like short courses at an Ivy League university. We learned all about the culture, language, food, architecture, religion, and history of the Netherlands, which was the origin of both his father’s and mother’s families; just about every western European nation we could possibly visit, Mexico, islands throughout the Caribbean, and of course, the Middle East because of his appointment as a Fulbright Scholar. Daddy would lead the tribe lecturing all the way with us running to keep up. (His normal walking pace was tantamount to a vigorous jog by an Olympic athlete!) It didn’t matter whether we were walking on cobblestones in Germany or up a rocky trail in a Mayan jungle, Daddy set the pace and was filled with information to convey all the while. With the entire family in tow on these adventures, his mother, Lois (Grammie to us), was the child wrangler on many of these trips which added to both the cultural content and certainly the entertainment because our grandmother was a real adventurer in her own right. Our adventures were heightened by Daddy’s acquisition of the popular book of the 1960s, “Europe on $5.00 A Day.” Based on the “unique” accommodations he would select for our over-night stays, and our meals with sometimes unrecognizable ingredients, we were all convinced that he believed the $5.00 budget applied to the entire tour group, not just one person!
Daddy’s life as an accomplished musician began with learning to play the piano in church as part of a pastor’s family. Our parents shared the love of singing in church and this bond of singing in worship was one of the things we all hold so dear in recounting our childhood – participating in worship and hearing our beloved parents share their beautiful tenor and soprano voices in duets worshipping Our Lord and Savior. Daddy was delighted that the Lord had also blessed him with his own little “choir” with the four biological children singing, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, respectively. Each one of us managed to learn to play at least one instrument and have tried to follow in Daddy’s footsteps in composing music. Our adopted brother, Masahiro, is also a very accomplished musician, due, in part to Daddy’s influence and his participation in our many family singalongs around the grand piano at home. The Danhof home features two grand pianos and a pipe organ. Our father’s idea of “relaxing” was to play the piano or his pipe organ, compose music, and then sing with as many “volunteers” as he could muster from the household. We all knew when Daddy was really happy because he was singing and playing the piano.
This love of music led to his love of the pipe organ and as we grew up, to his efforts at the “rescue” of pipe organs being replaced with electronic organs in churches throughout North Texas. Through the grapevine of Christian musicians, Daddy would learn of a pipe organ about to be scrapped due to its replacement with an electronic modern one. He would contact the church many times, make a contribution, and then enlist “Danhof and Sons, Organ Builders” (but also included us girls) to go and dismantle these poor discards and haul them to Grand Prairie to be stored and later refurbished for redeployment in churches willing to accept a “real organ” as Daddy would say. Our father, with the help of our brothers and some of his medical school laboratory technicians, rebuilt and installed these organs in churches big and small throughout North Texas. He even donated and installed a pipe organ at Methodist Hospital of Dallas during his tenure as director of medical education for that institution.
As I believe all of us children would admit, being the kid of someone as smart and accomplished as Ivan Danhof was not always easy. He inspired us in so many ways and challenged us just as intensely. Despite his professional accomplishments and enjoyable hobbies, he probably found his most rewarding accomplishment in his life the successful raising of a bunch of really good kids and grandchildren. He inspired in each of us a love and respect for life, a strong Christian faith, an unrelenting work ethic, a passion for excellence, a willingness to live our faith by helping others and giving of ourselves whenever called and for a limitless capacity for love. That love which transcends time and space and is the heart of our faith is what we all share and the way in which our father will continue to live in our hearts and souls until the day we each see him again at Heaven’s gates when Our Lord invites us in.
Our hearts are all broken at the moment, but we are filled with joy and the assurance that Daddy can once again play the piano and has a cast of thousands of angels to “volunteer” to join in the singing of his hymns and anthems in praise.
Graveside services are set for 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, August 4, 2021, at Grand Prairie Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum, 3001 S. Belt Line Road, Grand Prairie, Texas, in the Heritage Chapel Mausoleum.
The family requests that anyone wishing to honor Dr. Danhof may make a memorial donation to Immanuel Presbyterian Church via P.O. Box 535062, Grand Prairie, Texas 75053-5062.
Lovingly written by Janie Marie Danhof Slaten, the oldest and first kid (I refer to myself as the “prototype,” the kids got better with the later models!) I am also a 12-year survivor of late-stage breast cancer, due, in part to the aloe extracts I took as treatment which Daddy developed!
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Dr. Ivan Edward Danhof Ph.D. M.D.
August 4, 2021
August 3, 2021
My deepest condolences to the entire family. What a life well lived. God bless you in your grief until you are reunited in Heaven. 🙏🏼