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Daniel Rian loved singing and performing, and spent a lifetime giving to others.

“He was very gregarious and outgoing and loved life, and giving back was a huge part of his personality,” said son Mike Rian.

Rian worked at Boeing for 38 years, where he managed surplus in Kent, while also working as a volunteer firefighter and EMT lieutenant with the Kenmore Fire Department.

He and his wife, Suzanne, were active in local theater. The couple was known as the “The Doo-Wops.”

Rian, who lived in Bothell, died March 12 from complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He was 80.


Rian was one of eight children of John and Solveig Rian. He grew up in Kenmore and went to Bothell High School.

He was married for 62 years to Suzanne, who was one of Bothell’s first female police officers.

Son Mike remembers hanging out as a kid at the police station, and the fire station, “where my dad was a lot.”

“I remember him doing shift work around the clock (for the fire department) while he was doing his other job,” Mike Rian said. “That’s a hard thing to do and a pretty significant commitment.”

Some of Mike’s fondest recollections are when his father would pick up legendary Seattle clowns J.P. Patches and Gertrude for appearances in local parades.

“Our vehicle was in the parades, which was an old Model A truck that converted into a fire truck,” said Mike Rian, who got to go along and, like his father, dressed up as a clown for the events. “We were the total rebels of the parades. My dad and his buddies — all firefighters — were notorious for never going by what the parade person told them to do. ‘Here’s your slot in the parade.’ Nah. As soon as the parade started, we would just go up and down the entire parade, spraying people and throwing candy to the kids.”


Rian also loved performing onstage and singing with his low bass voice. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, appearing in several commercials and, briefly, in an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“He definitely enjoyed (performing), and it ran in the family,” Mike Rian said. “All of my dad’s siblings and a lot of their kids are very musical.”

After retiring from their respective careers, Daniel Rian and his wife spent many years working at Northshore Senior Center in Bothell.

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Rian enjoyed fishing, the outdoors and traveling. Each year for more than a decade, he and son Mike, who became a fishing guide, would spend a week to 10 days fishing out of a remote spot off Vancouver Island.

“I know those were some of the most enjoyable times he had,” Mike Rian said. “He absolutely loved it up there. My mom said he would start looking forward to next year’s trip the day he got back.”


The couple also took annual trips to Sun Valley, Idaho, and to Hawaii. On one of the trips to Hawaii, he was credited with saving the life of a friend who got caught in a rip tide and was washed onto the coral.

Daniel Rian is survived by wife Suzanne, son Mike, two granddaughters and a great-grandson. He was preceded in death by daughter Michelle.

Daniel Rian tripped and broke his ankle two weeks before his death. He was being treated at a rehabilitation center, where he contracted the coronavirus.

“He will be greatly missed,” Mike Rian said.

(Design by Frank Mina / The Seattle Times)
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