Daniel Crockett Surface

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MURFREESBORO – Daniel Crockett Surface, age 68, of 343 Jay Trail, Murfreesboro, died December 3, 2011 at Pitt Memorial Hospital, Greenville.

He was born September 30, 1943, to the late James Paul and Gertrude Keister Surface of Blacksburg, VA, and was the beloved son-in-law of the late Ernest and Dorothy Britt Pait of Dublin, NC.

He was a graduate of Blacksburg High School, Guilford College, and The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he earned a graduate degree in 1969, and had studied at other universities including William and Mary, East Carolina University and Virginia Tech.  Athletics—playing, coaching, and  being an administrator—at both the high school and college levels and the teaching of health and physical education for college students, especially future teachers, had been his life’s work.  He believed in the power of education and athletics to transform lives. He dedicated over 40 years as a teacher, coach and mentor to helping young men and women better themselves through their experiences on the field or court and in the classroom.

He lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Blacksburg High School and in football and baseball at Guilford College where he was a member of the 1966 Baseball team that went to the NAIA National Baseball Tournament.

He had been a member of the Chowan University faculty for 37 years where his most recent faculty rank was as an Associate Professor of Physical Education.  He coached football, track, men’s and women’s basketball, tennis, golf, and served as Assistant Athletic Director.  He was honored to have coached in two Eastern Bowl Games that Chowan won and to have coached many student athletes who succeeded professionally. He was most proud of the life accomplishments and contributions of all of his students.    In 2004, he was selected as a Chowan University Faculty Marshall, a position that he continued to serve with honor.  In 2000, he was inducted into the Order of Lux et Veritas and in 2004 he was honored for thirty years of service to Chowan University.

Many young men benefited from the Chowan Football Camps that he directed for 15 summers.  Both young people and adults benefited from the Red Cross certified Swimming Classes that he taught. When his children were young, his summers were spent as a Little League Coach. He also officiated for high school basketball games. He had also taught and coached at Floyd County High School in Floyd, VA, Greensboro City Schools, Greensboro, NC and Fairfax County VA Schools.  Athletics was an important part of his life and he wanted to share that with others.

He was inducted into the Guilford College Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2005-2006 and into the Chowan University Jim Garrison Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2009.  He loved Chowan University and Guilford College. A special highlight for him was the visits, calls, and notes form former students, players, teammates, coaches, and colleagues.

He was a member of Murfreesboro Baptist Church, where serving as an usher was important to him, and during the two months each year that he served, he was dedicated to serving each Sunday and every Sunday regardless of whatever else was happening with his life or health.  He served as President of the Murfreesboro Exchange Club in 1999-2000 and was recognized as the Exchangite of The Year for 2004-2005. He was a kind, quiet and selfless man who lived his beliefs and was committed to serving others in all aspects of his life.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 42 years, Sallie P. Surface; his children, Dr. Eric A. Surface of Raleigh, Julianne Surface of Apex, and Brian and Jessica Surface of Shekou, China; his grandchildren, Olivia Rose and Ian Daniel Surface of Shekou, China; his brother and sister-in law, David and Ann Surface of Blacksburg, VA; his sisters-in-law and their husbands, Judy and Paul Pinkston of Lancaster, SC and Gayla and Chris Putnam of Apex; his brother-in-law and his wife, Ernie and Beckie Pait of Franklin, NC; a special niece and nephew who are like grandchildren, Grace and Joel Putnam; his many special nieces, nephews and cousins; and his many dear friends and colleagues.

He was especially proud of the educational accomplishments of his children, who all earned advanced degrees, and the choices that they had made in life. One of the joys of his life was pulling his grandchildren—Olivia and Ian—in a red wagon built for two that he had personally picked out for them. Another joy was spending time with family and friends—he was always interested in others and how they were doing and loved to talk with people. His love of ice cream and sweets was legendary; he was never known to turn down a cone.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, 2011, Turner Auditorium, Chowan University, Murfreesboro. The family will receive friends in the Chowan Room of Thomas Cafeteria after the service and at other times at their home.

Memorials may be made to the Daniel C. Surface Scholarship Fund at Chowan University, 1 University Place, Murfreesboro, NC 27855.

Family and friends may send online condolences to www.garrettjonesfh.com.

Garrett-Jones Funeral Home, Ahoskie, is serving the Surface family.