Daniel Sherman Garber was born May 2, 1949 in Anderson, Missouri, the son of Ray and Mildred Irene (Sherman) Garber. He was the younger brother of Joe Garber, and grew up on a family farm in a home built by his grandfather Joseph Garber in Delaware County east of Jay, Oklahoma. He passed away on July 23, 2017 at his home in Cherokee County at the age of 68.
Dan was a 1967 graduate of Jay High School. Immediately following high school graduation he joined the U.S. Army, first serving in Germany, then in Saigon, Vietnam with the Army Security Agency. After duty in Vietnam he was stationed at Manassas, Virginia. Upon his discharge he enrolled in Northeastern State College, majoring in Political Science and Journalism, graduating in 1978. He worked as a reporter and editor at the Pictorial Press and as a writer for the Cherokee Advocate.
In 1981 he got his first law enforcement experience as a deputy for Cherokee County Sheriff Darrell Scott, then returned to the Pictorial Press, which later became the Tahlequah Daily Press, writing news and features and penning his well-read column "Dan About Town." He was a ranger for the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission, where he developed a love for the river which led him to become a steward of that and other streams for the remainder of his life. Dan then rejoined the sheriff's office as undersheriff during the term of Sheriff Andy Sellers.
In 1992 he became an investigator for District Attorney Greg Combs, then continued under Combs' successor Dianne Barker-Harrold. Upon the election of Delena Goss as sheriff, Dan returned to CCSO and served as her undersheriff until he retired in 2004. He was instrumental in securing the passage of a county sales tax which funded the construction of a new Cherokee County Detention Center.
Following his retirement, Dan devoted his time to veterans' matters as a life member of American Legion Post 50, as a member of Post 3707 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and was a member of Chapter 31 of the Disabled American Veterans. He served as a state inspector for the DAV, was an active board member of Hope House and spent a great deal of his time as a member of Save the Illinois River, Inc. (STIR). He kept in touch with his Army friends from the Radio Research Communications Unit in Vietnam. The unit held reunions every two years, which he eagerly attended.
In 1989, Dan married Nancy Frank, a journalist, and the couple became the parents of Ginny Rae Garber, who in every sense of the word became and remained the light of their lives. Together, they enjoyed music, traveling, and the joy of being together.
Many area folks knew Dan as a journalist, a veteran and a lawman, but among a large and varied population he was best known as a musician and songwriter, playing guitar and bass with area bands. His songs included many which were often requested at musical gatherings, cleverly making listeners laugh out loud or shed a tear. Dan enjoyed attending bluegrass and other music festivals, and loved to gather with friends to play music at the river and in the comfort of their homes.
Dan was predeceased by his parents and is survived by his wife Nancy of the home; brother Joe Garber and wife Pat of Claremore; and daughter Ginny Rae Ogle and husband Ansel of Berryville, Arkansas. In his years as a family man, veteran, lawman, journalist, and musician Dan was blessed with many true, faithful and lifelong friends who will keep his memory alive in stories and song. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to American Legion Post 50, Hope House, or Save the Illinois River, Inc.
A memorial service will be held Friday, July 28, 2017 at 2 p.m. at the Hart Funeral Home Chapel in Tahlequah. Interment will be at Fort Gibson National Cemetery at a later date.