George Goetz Daniels, Time Magazine journalist and a leading advocate for Martha’s Vineyard wildlife conservation, died peacefully on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 under the warm care of Long Hill Assisted Living in Edgartown.
A man of far-reaching intellect, uncompromising integrity and vision, Mr. Daniels’ career at Time Inc. spanned four decades. As editor for the Latin American section of Time Magazine in the 1950s and 60s, he covered some of the most controversial political figures, influential artists, and activists of his era — including interviews with Argentina’s Juan Peron and the Cuban leaders of the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion. Upon leaving Time Magazine, Mr. Daniels moved to Alexandria, Va., where he helped raise Time-Life Books to prominence with his editorial leadership — writing and editing the seminal books series Nature, The Civil War, The American West, and World War II.
During the course of his career, Mr. Daniels became widely known as a world-class big game fisherman, director and author for the American Birding Association, first-rate gourmet chef and pioneer in America’s budding nature conservation movement. He pursued these passions to the far corners of the earth. A member of The Explorers Club Environment Committee, he worked with close friend and long-time Vineyard resident Alan Keith to make the first private purchase of land for conservation in what is known today as Costa Rica’s spectacular Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Upon retirement, Mr. Daniels and his wife, Doris Billings Daniels, and daughter Katherine became permanent residents of Martha’s Vineyard. He considered the Vineyard his one true home and haven for nearly half a century. The Island inspired his singular passion for wildlife and desire to preserve places of natural beauty. To that end, he became a leading light in Martha’s Vineyard conservation, serving as Chairman of the Board for the Felix Neck Wildlife Trust and playing an instrumental role in the expansion of the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary boundary for future generations to enjoy.
Born in New York City on August 17, 1925, “Gus” Daniels spent his formative childhood years in Paris and was raised to adulthood by his uncle and aunt, Augustus and Ruth Goetz, who co-wrote the Academy Award-winning film “The Heiress.” During World War II, he achieved the rank of second lieutenant as a navigator in the U.S. Air Force and entered Harvard under the G.I. bill where he distinguished himself as both a writer and editor for the Harvard Crimson.
He was an adoring husband, devoted father, fiercely loyal friend and independent thinker whose class, charm, and cutting wit will be greatly missed by all.
Mr. Daniels’s memory is honored by his sons, Peter and Robert Daniels of Tucson, Ariz.; Michael Daniels of New York, N.Y.; and Geoffrey Daniels of Bethesda, Md. His daughter Katherine died in November 2009. He has four grandchildren.
A private graveside service will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Tisbury. Donations in Mr. Daniels’s memory may be made to Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, PO Box 494, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.