Friday, July 27, 2012

Daniel Ray Deuel, BHS 1964

Daniel Ray Deuel, BHS 1964

World, The (Coos Bay, OR) - December 26, 2006

Dan Deuel: Family confirms death of Free Flight founder

BANDON - Dan Deuel, founder of Free Flight Bird and Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Ltd., whose quiet, gentle manner with birds and marine animals earned him the unofficial title of Bandon's "bird man," has died at the age of 60.

According to his stepdaughter, Chrystine Deuel, Deuel died Dec. 18 at the Veteran's Affairs hospital in Portland, where he had been for about three weeks because of health complications. The cause of death has not been determined, she said. His wife, MeriJane Deuel, was by his side when he died, Chrystine said.

Free Flight, a nonprofit wildlife clinic, was established in 1976 when Deuel sought to "take care of a few oiled birds." It celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. Since its inception, the wildlife hospital has cared for thousands of animals, from raptors to bear cubs, run entirely by volunteers, including Deuel. Free Flight always has focused on returning releasable animals to their natural habitat. There currently are 25 volunteers.

Free Flight also provided information through outreach about the natural history of the South Coast's abundant wildlife. Deuel often brought some of the center's birds to local schools to teach the children about them.

Deuel, a Vietnam veteran, was seriously injured at age 24 when he was hit while on a bicycle by a drunk driver after he returned to the states following his service. He suffered from health problems related to the accident the remainder of his life.

MeriJane Deuel emphasized it was Dan's wish and plan that Free Flight would continue after his death.  "Free Flight will continue to run," Deuel said. "There may be a delay in call-backs for the next week or two, but there are directions on the answering machine for what to do if there are injured wildlife."

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Free Flight. The time will be announced after the holidays.

The center's volunteers were upset by the news of Deuel's death. "He absolutely, positively made a difference during his life," said Mickey Dupuis, a volunteer for the past 12 years.

Deuel is survived by his wife, MeriJane; his stepdaughter, Chrystine; grandson, Dakota Deuel; sisters Golda Johnson and Shari Nichols; and many nieces, nephews and friends. The family requests memorial donations to Free Flight, 1185 Portland Ave., Bandon, OR 97411.

For more information on Dan Deuel and Free Flight click HERE


  1. “O Christ, give rest to the souls of Thy servants with the saints, where there is no sickness, sorrow or sighing, but everlasting life.”
    Prayer for the Departed – Eastern Orthodox Church

    Dan, along with his sister and parents, were our next door neighbors in Burbank. He was a person of integrity, kindness and goodness. May his memory be eternal!

    Respectfully submitted,
    +Rev. Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos
    Class of 1975

  2. Daniel Ray Deuel was born July 22, 1946 at Glendale California and served in Vietnam then was out riding his motorcycle on April 26 1971 when he was hit while dismounted by a drunk driver.
    Rhonda Ware