The Chelsea community has lost a great man and leader who deeply cared about the city.
Robert L. Daniels, 83, died unexpectedly Saturday, Sept. 1, due to natural causes.
“This is a huge loss,” said Jamie Bollinger, a longtime Chelsea resident and former City Council member. “He was a truly great man, an icon in the community and a great businessman. He supplied jobs to a lot of Chelsea kids.”
Daniels was the president of Chelsea Lumber Company, an active member of Chelsea First United Methodist Church, and a former village president.
“Bob died this morning of an apparent heart attack,” according to information from an email sent to parishioners of the Methodist church, where Daniels was an active member.
“Bob was ‘Mr. Chelsea’ – a significant part of the Chelsea community and our congregation,” the email states.
“Bob gave his heart and soul for this community. He freely shared his wisdom, time, expertise, energy and money for the well-being of all, and did so with incredible humility,” the email asking for prayers for the family said. “He reached out a hand of help and hope to those beaten down by the world. And in various ways he helped us believe in and live from our best selves. Truly in his death we have lost a light which has shone brightly over the generations.”
Daniels was born March 10, 1929, the son of Warren R. & Gertrude E. (Storms) Daniels.
“He did a lot for the community and when someone needed something, he was there,” said Joe Merkel, a longtime Chelsea resident, adding,”He was a big fundraiser for the community.”
Daniels was a driving force behind the millage for the Chelsea District Library building, among other projects, and encouraged former and current City Council members to run for office.
Bollinger and current Council Member Frank Hammer were among the residents he convinced to run for City Council.
“He was a man who was dedicated to Chelsea as a village and a city and he worked on unity behind the scenes,” Hammer said.
And everyone who knew him said Daniels never looked for any credit for his efforts.
“This is the end of an era,” Hammer said. “Bob was a man who was dedicated to Chelsea and to moving the city forward in a positive direction.”
Elizabeth Hammer, another longtime Chelsea resident, said,”My heart sunk when I saw that he died. He was such a principled person, a phenomenal figure. He worked behind the scenes for the community good. ”
Survivors include his wife of more than 50 years, Marjorie Daniels, and three children, John, Jeff, and Jodi.
“This is a huge, huge loss,” Frank Hammer said.
“Bob was a heck of a man, always willing to help and a real gentleman. I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone,” Bollinger said, adding, “I’m really saddened. The community lost a great leader.”
There will be private services for the family, and a memorial service for the community at a later date.
A full obituary will be published in the next few days, and arrangements are being handled by Cole Funeral Chapel.