Cover photo for Dan T. Creel's Obituary
1934 Dan 2024

Dan T. Creel

August 15, 1934 — June 25, 2024

Dan Talmadge Creel, 89, passed away on June 25, 2024, at home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, surrounded by loved ones. Known as "Dad," "Grandpa," and "Uncle Dan," he was an amazing man and there will never be another like him. Born August 15, 1934, in Meridian, Mississippi to Annie Mae (Smith) and Henry Harmon Creel, Dan enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1954 at the age of 19, serving until 1962 and then continued in the Reserves and honorably discharged in 1967. Trained in electronics, he served as an aircraft mechanic and radio repairman in the Korean War. During his time in the military, he was stationed in Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi, Amarillo AFB, and Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington, in addition to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he met Manuelita (Loretto) Creel of Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. They married on May 8, 1957, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Meridian. They had six children and settled down in Albuquerque to raise their family. A loving family man, they were married for almost 50 years, until her death in 2006.

Never a stranger to hard work, Dan was the hardest working and best man we ever knew. He worked his entire life and enjoyed honest work with his own hands to the very end. Mostly self-taught, he loved to take machines apart and put them back together, just to figure out how they worked. As a kid he hung around the bicycle repair shop just to learn, until the owner put him to work. As a teenager, he worked at a filling station, in the era before self-service, where a gas station attendant did everything from pumping gas to cleaning your windshield, checking your oil, tires, and engine, and even repairing your car.

While in the military, he had a side business as a television repairman fixing broken and abandoned TVs, to make ends meet. But it wasn't just TVs - the man could fix anything.

After the military, Dan worked for Mountain Bell Telephone Company as a lineman, installer and central office switching technician, and then later as an engineer for AT&T, until his retirement in 1986. A dedicated and loyal employee, some of his installations can still be seen around Albuquerque. He worked in every manhole in the city. He recently noted that he was retired longer than he ever worked.

The original recycler - Dan saw value in everything - including people or objects that others would reject or throw away. He could fix anything with the right tools, and if he didn't have the right tool, he could make it himself. His hobby was cars. He loved cars and often bought them at auction to fix-up. Whether it was for a stranger or family member, he never wanted anything in return, he just enjoyed helping others.

In the age before cell phones, he was truly a lifesaver. He was like a guardian angel who was always there to lend a hand. Whether on weekend trips or family vacations, the family would groan when we spotted someone on the side of the road, because we all knew he was going to stop and help, if he could. He stopped any time he saw a person, car or bike stranded by the roadside - to provide a jump, a tire-change, a ride, a tow, or an on-the-spot repair - night or day, and no matter the weather.

Sometimes, those in need would find him, without his even trying. Once when he was working out on his land in San Ysidro, New Mexico, he rescued a couple of visiting mountain bikers who strayed far off course. He gave them water, placed their bikes in his truck and drove them back to their campsite miles up in the Jemez Mountains. Another time, he found a whole suitcase on the side of the road and spent countless hours going through the telephone book to find the family - many states away - that had lost it, simply by the name engraved on a piece of jewelry. One evening while out to pick up a pizza, he was gone for several hours because he encountered a formerly imprisoned man who was recently released with no ride home. He gave the man a ride home.

Even though he may have put himself in peril to help others, he was our "Mr. Safety." He always put the safety and well-being of others first.

In retirement, Dan and Manuelita volunteered with the Telephone Pioneers at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Dan continued the volunteer work to honor his wife after her death.

Dan was a kind and generous man who loved his neighbors and made the world a better place. 

A humble and private man, he would not take credit for any of the miracles he made happen in his life.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents, Annie Mae and Henry Harmon Creel, his brother, Willie Creel, his wife Manuelita, and his son, Daniel "Junior" Creel.

Dan is survived by his children, daughters Patricia Ferguson, Margie Creel, and Barbara Creel (Adam Turk), sons Robert (Missy) Creel and Joseph (Anna) Creel; grandchildren Jacob, Jadah and Tessa Beasley, Meadow Creel and Sage Wagner; and a host of nieces and nephews from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, and just as many "adopted" children and grandchildren. He is deeply loved and will be deeply missed. 

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. with a reception to follow at FRENCH-Lomas. A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, July 11,2024, 10:00 a.m. at St John XXIII Catholic Community, 4831 Tramway Ridge Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111. with burial to follow at Santa Fe National Cemetery. These services will be recorded and can be streamed below.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Dan T. Creel, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Reception

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Thursday, July 11, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Graveside Service

Thursday, July 11, 2024

1:00 - 1:30 pm (Mountain time)

Santa Fe National Cemetery

501 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

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