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1960 Daniel 2023

Daniel Creel

November 22, 1960 — December 27, 2023



Daniel (Junior) Creel passed away on December 27, 2023, at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.  Daniel was born November 22,1960 at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington to Manuelita (Loretto) and Dan T. Creel.  When he died, we lost our beloved son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. Countless people, friends and strangers alike, told us, “He was the smartest person I knew.” He will be greatly missed. 

Kind at heart, Daniel unselfishly shared his gifts at work and play.  He was known for his generosity, sense of humor and love of sports. He was a mentor, tutor, little league and softball coach to many people across the City of Albuquerque over the years.

A best friend to many, you could tell him anything. Daniel did not have children of his own, but tutored, mentored and coached others’ kids to meet their best potential. He helped others not just meet their goals but achieve their dreams.  He was shocked the day that MLB player Patrick Ahearne returned home to thank him for his baseball coaching back when Patrick was our next-door neighbor.

A 1978 graduate of Manzano High School, he had his own “smart person clique” and enjoyed the camaraderie of best friends in Joe, Don and Rick, who can recount the stories of a different time.

Daniel came from a Telephone Pioneer Family and followed in his parents’ footsteps. In career, he was a loyal customer service representative/supervisor with operator services for over thirty years with the Bell system, Qwest, and CenturyLink, a position that took him to Midvale, Utah, where he extended his family and friend connection. He told us stories of the support network he had at the office and his church.

After retiring, he continued to work as a Government Contractor with the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians / Bureau of Trust Funds Administration, as an Account Representative in the Trust Beneficiary Call Center. An enrolled member of the Pueblo of Jemez, Daniel continued to serve his community, assisting his Native brothers and sisters in their trust account access.  At this office, his co-workers told us, “Here when we wanted to know something, we didn’t say, ‘Google it’-- we said, ‘Daniel it’.”

With a wicked wit and a kaleidoscopic knowledge of sports, movies, media and more, Daniel was the one you wanted on your trivia team and the one you wanted on your side in a bind – not just for his intellect, but for the way he made you laugh, sometimes at yourself.  With a sportscaster’s vision of sports, he had many favorites across the years. You may not have known of his favorite team, but he could tell you yours.  He played ice hockey and watched the Chaparrals and Six Guns. As a kid, you could find him practicing shooting hoops, on his own, at Kennedy Middle School. Through the years, he loved and followed Lobo basketball, not just when the Lobos were great, and not just at home – he even made friends at away games.  His love of baseball began at Mile High Little League. He was a Dukes, Dodger and Isotopes, Rockies fan, and followed the teams and affiliates across the years. He followed college and professional football, and loved the Washington team, before the name change. In high school, he was introduced to the sport of horse racing and fell in love with watching and betting at the track. He never missed watching the Kentucky Derby.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Manuelita Loretto Creel, his maternal grandparents Lucianita (Fragua) and Jose Manuel Loretto of Jemez Pueblo, and paternal grandparents Annie M. (Smith) and Henry Harmon Creel of Meridian, Mississippi. 

He is survived by his father, Dan T. Creel, siblings Patricia Ferguson, Margie, Robert (Missy), Barbara (Adam Turk) of Albuquerque, and Joseph (Anna) Creel of Lebanon, Oregon, nieces and nephew, and numerous cousins and friends. He was so proud of his nieces Jadah and Tessa Beasley, Sage Wagner and Meadow Creel, and his nephews Jacob Beasley and Job Parker.  You could tell by the way he talked about them, helping them with schoolwork and art projects, and helping raise Jacob, who he picked up from kindergarten every day.  He loved them all so much and taught them things they would not learn anywhere else.

Daniel died of organ failure after corrective surgery to address a hereditary disorder that threatened his life. A man of faith, he was a devout Catholic who tried to stay on a good path even after his brutal diagnosis. Caught between life and death, he fought hard to return to health for a few months to be a good candidate for the surgery.

His greatest strength was this: He paid attention. This meant that he could not always be happy-go-lucky, because he could see unfairness and injustice and knew he could not always fix it.  In the end, he was a model of resilience and optimism, choosing to live while facing death.  We love you, Junior!

The family wishes to express our gratitude to the doctors, nurses, technicians and other staff of the UNMH medical and trauma ICU for their expert and compassionate care of Junior.

Visitation followed by a Rosary will be held Thursday, January 11, 2024, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at French, 9300 Golf Course Rd NW.  Funeral Mass will be Friday, January 12, 2024, at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church at 11:00 am, followed by burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery at 1:00 PM. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Mile High Little League or Albuquerque Public Schools in Daniel's name.

The service will be available to stream below

Repast Reception: All are invited to share a meal with the family after the burial. 
Location: Church of the Good Shepherd UCC 7834 Tennyson St. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87122. 


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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Rosary followed by visitation

Thursday, January 11, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Friday, January 12, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church

811 Guaymas Place Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87108

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Graveside Service

Friday, January 12, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

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