Obituary of Daniel Milano "IronDan"
Daniel Robert Milano passed away at home on Saturday, October 20, 2018 with his loved ones by his side. Dan – or IronDan as he became known during his courageous battle against brain cancer – was born on March 26, 1979 in Leominster, Massachusetts to Bruce and Eileen and big sister, Jessica. When he was 4, his parents split amicably and Danny and Jessica moved with their mom to be near extended family on Long Island, New York. They got to enjoy fun filled weekends, shared holidays and summer vacations camping with their dad who was a soldier in the U.S. Army. In 1985, Dan’s mom remarried and from that came 2 little sisters. First came Lisa who Jessica decided belonged to her. Danny then decided that he wanted a brother but instead he got Teri and that was perfectly fine with him. He nicknamed her Teri Doodlebug and he made sure everyone knew that she was HIS Teri Doodlebug. In 1986, his dad remarried which gave him a new stepmom, Debbie, and 2 older siblings: Jason and Amy. He grew up surrounded by a very close knit family of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and many, many friends.
Dan loved the 80’s: the music, the clothes, the movies, and the whole culture. Part of his affection for the decade may have stemmed from “meeting” his first love in 1985: the year the first Nintendo game console was released. This began a lifelong love affair with video games. However, Dan had many interests including comic books, superheroes, amusement parks, music-he was a self-taught piano player, writing scripts, drawing, bead art and many other hobbies.
In 1992, Dan’s mom moved him and the girls to Northern Virginia where he began his freshman year of high school. This was a time when Dan forged friendships that would stand the test of time. His high school friends knew they could usually find him at his after school/weekend job at Centreville Mini Golf and Games, a job that he loved and took great pride in. After graduating high school, Dan took some time to figure out what he wanted to do and eventually he started a career with Costco which he did proudly without ever missing a day of work until he was diagnosed with cancer. Costco ended up being amazing in an unexpected way: It was there that he met the love of his life, Heather. Yes, Nintendo was his first love but Heather is his true love, his soulmate and best friend, all wrapped up in one beautiful person. It is often said by those who knew Dan and Heather that their love story was that of a hallmark movie, which really it is.
In April of 2017, Danny and Heather came home to Virginia for Easter. It was an amazing week filled with family, food, laughter and lots of fun. Heather was an instant part of the family. It is a visit that the whole family is so grateful for and will always treasure. One week later, Dan would be diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiform, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, and their lives would never be the same. Dan’s family banded together for the fight of a lifetime. Through brain surgeries, radiation, chemo, various trials and treatments, Dan and his family never lost hope or their sense of humor. There is a Johnny Cash song that means a lot to their family as it was played at Dan’s Pop Pop’s funeral. It’s called Meet Me inHeaven and the lyrics go:
We walked troubles brooding wind swept hills
And we loved and we laughed the pain away
At the end of the journey, when our last song is sung
Will you meet me in heaven someday…
The family is comforted knowing that Danny was met by his grandparents and other incredible family members who have passed on, including his beloved cat of 13 years, Knucklehead.
Though it was a rough time of their lives, there were many happy times along the way. The happiest though, was on October 11, 2017 when Dan and Heather became husband and wife. Two families became one and after much celebration with friends, tacos, Cards Against Humanity and of course, wedding cake.. The battle continued.
After many months of Eileen, Bruce and Jessica making the trip back and forth to Florida to help care for Danny, in December of 2017, the newlyweds would make the move to Northern Virginia to live with his sister, Jessica and brother-in-law Will. Dan’s dad would also join them in their new home base and his mom lived very close by. Dan was never without someone watching over him and caring for him. Though at times, he probably felt smothered, he also felt endless and unconditional love. Visits from close friends and many family members filled his days with so much laughter. Some of his happiest moments were spent in the summer months, walking laps in the backyard pool. Sometimes his family would have to force him to get out of the pool after 4-5 hours so he could get some rest. Another tradition was choosing the scariest movies he could find and then asking his sister, Jessica to watch them with him, knowing full well: Jessica did not say no to her precious brother. On weekends, Uncle Danny spent a lot of time with his beloved niece, Maddy and his nephews, Dominic and Anthony. They bonded over their love of video games, art, superheroes and shark movies.
Through all of the surgeries, the treatments and the pain, Dan never complained. He fought for his life every day with a courage and a strength that would inspire everyone around him, not only family and friends but also his doctors, nurses and many strangers who heard his story. He wasn’t just given the name IronDan, he EARNED it because sometimes in life there are real people with superhuman strength and IronDan Milano was one of those people. To those who knew him, his loss is immeasurable. His family hopes that everyone will continue to keep his memory alive in the years to come.
Dan is survived by his beloved wife, Heather and their two fur babies, Steve and Mr. Feeny, his dad, Bruce Milano and his stepmom, Deborah, his mom, Eileen Anatra, his sisters Jessica Ossakow (William), Lisa Anatra, Teri Anatra (Matthew), his stepbrother, Jason, his stepsister, Amy Rountree (Brian), his parents-in-law, Marlynn and John Weber, his brothers-in-law, Ben and Tim and many other members of his wife’s side who took him in and loved him as their own. Also missing Dan so much will be his nieces, Madelyn, Rylie and Jaycee, his nephews Josh, Jamie, Kyle, Dominic and Anthony, his many uncles, especially his idol, Uncle Kevin, his aunts and many, many cousins, some of whom where more like siblings to him, including Sean, Annemarie, Luke, Mia, Robert, Michael and Greg. Last but certainly not least are the countless amazing friends that Dan made throughout his life. There are too many to name each and every one but you know who you are. You all helped to shape Dan into the incredible person he was and for that, his family thanks you from the bottom of their hearts. Please know, that if you’re reading this, you made a lasting impact on his life and the love he felt for you, will go on forever. Death cannot dim the bright light that was IronDan Milano. Please love each other, be kind to each other and go about your lives “IronDan Strong”.
Family will receive guests, Wednesday, October 24, 2018 from 5:00pm-8:00pm at Adams-Green Funeral Home, 721 Elden Street, Herndon, VA 20170. A funeral service will be held in the Adams-Green Funeral Home Chapel on Thursday, October 25 at 10:00am. For map and directions please select the Service Information tab on this page.