Daniel Ralph Dambrauskas died of natural causes July 29, 2020, at his home in Greenbelt, MD, surrounded by love from his family. He was 91.
Dan worked for the DC government for 30 years as an internal auditor, retiring as an assistant inspector general in 1987. As a young man, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the Korean War, 1951 to 1953.
Humor, he said, was one of the keys to his longevity. Dan’s hearty laugh and quick wit were matched only by his kind heart. He lived his life with a keen sense of curiosity and optimism, while keeping his eyes on the ball: be it a bowling ball, golf ball, or billiard ball.
Born in Wilkes-Barre, PA, on October 24, 1928, Dan was the youngest of five boys. He had the proud distinction of having four brothers serve in four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II; two were killed in action.
By the age of 9, Dan had lost both of his parents to illness. His grandmother and his brother Ray (who was then 17), cared for him for four years. Dan then lived at a Catholic orphanage (St. Michael’s) until he was 15. In 1944, he moved to Beltsville, MD, to live with his oldest brother, Alphonse; Al’s wife, Rita; and their growing family.
Dan married Lillian Mae Dennis of Elkridge, MD, in June 1953. The couple moved to Greenbelt a year later, where they devoted themselves to their three children, one grandson, and their community. They were members of pinball bowling leagues for decades, with Dan continuing well into his 86th year.
Dan and Lil were active in St. Hugh of Grenoble Catholic Church and School. During the 1970s and 1980s, Dan established weekly bingo nights and volunteered for other fundraisers, helping to raise more than $100,000 for St. Hugh’s. He also generously donated his time and talents to the Greenbelt Lion’s Club and other organizations.
Dan also loved reading, sports, dancing, and history. He was proud of his ethnic heritage; his father, Charles, and his maternal grandparents had emigrated from Lithuania. Researching possible relatives in Lithuania, he found a second cousin and an unrelated family with whom he remained friends for nearly 20 years. In 2005, he met both families while touring the country with Lillian and daughter Susan.
Research also led Dan to two men who had served in the Air Force during the war with his brother Ray. One had been injured in the same flight that took Ray’s life in 1944; the man had been denied disability compensation because records of the mission were unattainable. Sixty years later, the veteran received his disability benefits using documents that Dan provided about his brother’s death as evidence of the crash. Curiosity begetting kindness to a stranger — that was one of Dan’s superpowers.
Dan is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Lillian Mae (Dennis); son, Raymond, and his wife Louise (Ng) of Shepardstown, WV; daughter Donna and her husband Gabriel Iriarte, of College Park, MD; grandson, Mikhail Iriarte, also of College Park; daughter Susan of Silver Spring, MD; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his brothers Alphonse, Raymond, Charles, and Robert.
Celebration of Life is being planned for the coming months. If you wish to make a memorial contribution in Dan’s honor, please consider donating to the Greenbelt Lions Club, P.O. Box 677, Greenbelt, MD 20768, or through Lions Club International Foundation (https://www.lionsclubs.org/en/donate/).