Daniel "Dan" John DiGregorio

July 16, 1948August 6, 2018

This is the story of Daniel John DiGregorio. Dan was a man who was loved, is missed, and will always be cherished. Our “Popi” as he wanted to be called by his five grandchildren, “Baby”, by his husband, Joe, and by so many others: “Comare” and “Friend”, was an amazing husband, grandfather, father, uncle, brother, son, teacher and world traveler.

Dan’s story begins on July 16, 1948, the youngest child of Daniel S. and Elsie A. (Keets) DiGregorio. Dan was born in Glenside, Pennsylvania where he would attend St. Luke’s Elementary School, followed by Bishop McDevitt High School, then later La Salle University, finally receiving his Master’s degree in History and Education from Temple University. Dan had one sister, Elsie (Darlene) D. Connelly, who preceded him in death in 2012. Dan was the proud uncle to his sister Darlene and husband Jack’s children: Catherine, John, Michael, and Matthew. He was also loved dearly by his favorite Aunt Betty Butera.

Introduced by mutual friends, Dan married Barbara Kasper and had two daughters, whom he cherished and loved more than anything! His firstborn, Jennifer Marie and husband Robert Knight gave him two grandchildren, Sarah Marie and Brandon Robert. Nicole Lynn and husband Grady Catherwood, gave him three grandchildren, Dawson Robert, Rose Lynn, and Ember Nicole.

Raleigh is where Dan met the love of his life, Dr. Joe Tooley and spent the last 25 years with his best friend, partner and husband. Dan and Joe had a commitment ceremony in 1995, and an anniversary celebration in 2005. They got married in 2008 in California, the second state to legalize the right to marry for ALL people.

Dan and Joe have traveled the world. In fact, for several years they owned a travel agency called The Travel Guys. They visited over 30 countries and met many interesting people along the way, many of whom have become lifelong friends.

Dan’s first love was teaching. He began teaching in the 1970’s and continued on and off throughout his life, most recently teaching at NC State as a volunteer. Dan worked a number of years with IBM, from where he retired.

Popi took extreme pride in his five grandchildren. He spent countless hours on the sidelines of his grandkids’ sporting events, sitting in the front rows of dance recitals and competitions, going to many school functions, graduations, and even an Eagle Scout ceremony. He took them each on special “Popi” trips to places like Europe, Washington DC, Williamsburg, Disney World, New York, and his most favorite place, the beach. Popi also loved to tell his grandchildren about the far off places he visited, sending postcards and currency from each destination, which now fill many shoeboxes.

Dan’s other hobbies were tending to his plants, visiting museums, attending the theatre, shopping for bargains, watching documentaries and reading.

He was very passionate about the LGBTQ+ Community and human rights for all. He attended many marches and visited the AIDS Memorial Quilt. As an active advocate for many years, Dan served on the Crepe Myrtle Court, which is a yearly fundraiser for the development of services for persons with AIDS and/or HIV, outreach and education for the local gay and lesbian community. Dan and Joe hosted fundraiser dinners called Evening with Friends, at St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church for many years.

In 2011, Dan was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and after chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery he beat the odds. Dan spent the seven years as a cancer survivor living his life to the fullest, continuing to travel and spending quality time with his family and friends . Over the past several years, Dan’s heart began to slow down and couldn’t keep up with the fast paced life he lived. On Monday, August 6th, 2018, Dan passed away from congestive heart failure with his best friend and husband Joe by his side.

Dan's body has been donated to Duke University School of Medicine through their Anatomical Gifts Program. Medical students and physicians can further study the anatomy and possibly develop new surgical procedures. Our family made this choice so that Dan could continue to teach. We are sure that he would be honored.

We love you and miss you, Dan, Dad, Popi, Husband, and Friend.

Per Dan’s request, a celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, September 8th, at the Contemporary Art Museum located at 409 W Martin St Raleigh, NC 27603. Dan’s family will welcome guests at the museum between 5 pm and 7 pm. Since Hors d'œuvres will be served, please RSVP by text to 336-682-5371 or email

Finally, the family asks that in lieu of flowers; please consider making a donation to the LGBT Community Center of Raleigh by clicking on the Donate button at or you can mail a check to The LGBT Center of Raleigh, 324 South Harrington Street, Raleigh, NC 27603-1818.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's Street Raleigh, NC.


  • The LGBT Center of Raleigh


  • Celebration of Life Saturday, September 8, 2018

Daniel "Dan" John DiGregorio

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gaston Williams

September 8, 2018

My own personal "Docent" to the world. On occasions Dan and I would wander the halls of the NC Museum of Art. He seemed to be a docent's Docent. The depth and breath of his knowledge or a multitude of subjects and works was remarkable. Will forever remember our visits and conversations. From the academic to the mundane, he was a vessel for so much information. -- J. Gaston B. Williams

Willy Yates

August 20, 2018

I really enjoyed working with Dan allot! His talent to teach was amazing and we even created an electronic teaching system for a manufacturing plant in Durham NC!
His talent and energy was simply awesome! I am so sad to hear of his passing and although I moved away and have not seen him in years,,, I will never forget our time together! Rest in peace my friend!

Elizabeth Connelly

August 20, 2018

While I only knew Uncle Danny for a few short years he definitely left his mark. He and Joe gave Michael and I their timeshare week in San Diego as a wedding gift. We loved the gift and bought into the timeshare life. We will think of him every trip we use it.