Herschell Daney dies; served as ABHMS director of Indian Ministries

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/19/16)—Herschell Eugene Daney, 87, who had served as American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) director of Indian Ministries, died on Dec. 20, 2015, in Tulsa, Okla. He was the husband of Vicki Daney.

A member of the Choctaw Nation, Daney was born Sept. 6, 1928. He was a son of the Rev. Ben and Edith Daney.

Daney served ABHMS from 1985 to 1996. His passion for the message of the Gospel was the foundation for his commitment to Native Americans, whose leadership he encouraged and championed. During his tenure as director of Indian Ministries, Daney developed a new vision for the future of Indian Ministries as well as the relationship among ABHMS and all Indian churches—a historic change that continues to positively impact ABHMS.

“Herschell Daney was a great inspiration to all with whom he came in contact,” says Ben Sullivan, ABHMS Eastern Coordinator, Indian Ministries. “As my great uncle, he was a forerunner for me in working with Indian Ministries. He often encouraged me, and his legacy inspires those in Indian Ministries today to continue his pioneering work. He embodied the love of Christ to all he met and, like another well-known Oklahoman [Will Rogers], ‘He never met a person he didn’t like.’”

After retiring from ABHMS, Daney served two terms on the general board of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA): 2000-2003 and 2004-2005. He also served on the board of International Ministries and the ABCUSA Committee on Denominational Inclusiveness.

“Herschell Daney served the American Baptist family with distinction,” says Susan Gillies, interim general secretary, ABCUSA. “He was a unique encourager, who brought a special creative energy to every task. He often had more ideas than the rest of us could handle! I am very grateful I had the opportunity to work with him, and I stand with many ABCUSA colleagues in giving thanks for his ministry among us.”

In addition to his ABHMS ministry, Daney had served as a missionary to the Crow Indians in Montana; director of religious life at Bacone College, Muskogee, Okla.; director of adjunctive therapy at Hissom Memorial Center, Sand Springs, Okla.; and superintendent of the Lloyd E. Rader juvenile treatment center, Sand Springs.

Daney graduated from Bacone College; Ottawa (Kan.) University; University of Tulsa; and American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, Calif.

He was a member of Community Baptist Church, Tulsa.

He was a president of Sand Springs Rotary Club, for which he sang with Rotary Men of Note.

He served on many advisory boards, including those of Indian Health Care, Bacone College and Ottawa University.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children and their spouses, Steve and Sheila Daney of Albuquerque, N.M.; Greg and Sarah Daney of St. Louis, Mo.; Mark and Laura Daney of Sand Springs; and Matt and D. Dee Reid of Topeka, Kan.; grandchildren, Hannah, Noah, Shae, Bryn, Hunter, Mason, Bella, Miller, Sutton and Blythe; and siblings, Billie Engavo, Jean Florance, April Brown and Daniel Daney. He was predeceased by sisters, Louise Paddlety and Peggy Shoemaker.

A memorial service was held on Jan. 2 at Community Baptist Church, Tulsa. Condolences may be made online at www.freemanharris.com.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.