Daniel Siegel ’11, a Calhoun College student from Baltimore, Md., died Saturday morning after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Calhoun Master Jonathan Holloway, who announced Siegel’s passing in an e-mail to Calhoun students Saturday afternoon, called on students to remember the “profound bravery” Siegel demonstrated during his illness. Holloway remembered Siegel as a good friend to his fellow Hounies.
“Dan was the kindest, most gentle person I have ever known,” said fellow Calhoun student Josh Esquivel ’11. “I feel blessed to have been able to call him a friend.”
Siegel left Yale after experiencing unexplained headaches and other symptoms during his sophomore year, Holloway said, and moved back to his home town of Baltimore. He was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in 2009, but looked forward to resuming his studies at Yale until about six weeks ago, Holloway said, when it became clear that he would not be able to return.
Siegel’s former professors describe him as an “absolutely brilliant” student of political science, Holloway said, since the work he did in his sophomore year was on par with that of “some of their better graduate students.”
Daniel’s father Everett Siegel said his family received an outpouring of letters and e-mails from friends and teachers explaining the difference he made in the lives of others. Many of the authors also spoke about their relationships with Daniel during his funeral service in Baltimore Sunday afternoon.
Alexander Greenberg, Siegel’s free throw shooting partner on the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School basketball team, read from his Nov. 10 letter to Siegel at the funeral. Team members were supposed to shoot 10 free throws at each practice and report the score to the coach, Greenberg said in his letter, provided to the News by the Siegel family.
While many other players inflated their scores, Greenberg said, Daniel never did.
“Dan, I swear to God, your honesty in that little drill is something I think about all the time,” Greenberg said. “In so many instances in life can you easily lie and not think twice about it, but that’s not something you would ever do.”
Instructors from the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Siegel’s high school, commended Siegel for his compassion and humility.
“Your courage and unshakable strength has been an inspiration, and it is humbling to watch you face your challenges with such vitality and good grace,” said instructor Steve Friedman in a Nov. 10 letter to Siegel.
The Siegel family is starting a foundation called “The Daniel Joseph Siegel Fund” to provide financial support to “people and ideas that help keep Dan’s core values alive,” Holloway said in his e-mail to Calhoun students Saturday.