Dan Few | Cleveland Clinic

Not only did Dan Few live his life with more gusto than caution, but he also lived it with admirable optimism. He jumped into new adventures (spy school) as avidly as he hung on to old habits (smoking), always excited to learn something new, try something different.

Following a stint in Europe with the U.S. Army, he followed his dream of working in New York, becoming the quintessential salesman and then founding and publishing The American Dream magazine for new homeowners in the New York metro area. He was even written up in the New York Times.

In the mid-90s, Dan settled down in Cleveland, where he became as passionate a Cleveland Indians fan as he’d been a Yankees fan. He was quickly captivated by the city’s cultural life, especially the art museum, as well as a woman who would become his life partner.

As the new millennium approached, Dan began experiencing serious health problems — some were hereditary, others were because of lifestyle-related factors. Each time he underwent surgery, doctors brought in medical students to learn from his remarkably complex case. Despite his countless health problems and being in pain most of the time, Dan always had one answer when somebody asked how he was: “Never, ever better.”

Many times during his years of ill health, Dan spoke of how his doctors were astounded by his survival and how valuable a research subject he would be for students. He was always fascinated with learning. When he signed the application for body donation, shortly before his death, his formerly dramatic signature had been reduced to a formless scratch of the pen. Still, he was eager to help advance medical knowledge, no doubt recalling the thrill of discovery he had so often experienced during his own lifetime.