In Remembrance: Daniel Loren Sefton

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Daniel Loren Sefton, 67, one-time columnist for the Tolucan Times died Wednesday November 24 the day before his favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. He wrote the column, Dan Sefton’s Eye about Hollywood in the 1990s and early 2000s.

He was born Daniel Loren Haynes to Mary Joe Haynes (Wood) and Frank Loren Haynes August 18, 1943 in Corpus Christi, Texas while his father Frank was stationed there during World War II. After Frank’s death Dan’s mother Mary Joe remarried Roy Arthur Sefton in April of 1947 and Dan took the last name Sefton. Dan’s father Frank was killed in action in a Dauntless Dive Bomber from the Carrier Intrepid in October 1944 attacking a Japanese installation in occupied Formosa. This was to have a profound life-long impact upon Dan. He became a very paternal and protective older brother and was the “glue” that has held his siblings together ever since. It also gave Dan a very real sense of the fragility and brevity of life. It left him concerned that he would not live long and that he should take “life’s full measure” (as he was fond of saying) each day. Dan graduated from Lake Oswego High School (LOHS) in 1961. He attended Portland State and the University of Southern Mississippi before transferring to the University of Southern California where he was graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema. Dan demonstrated early acting and writing skills. He made home movies in the 1950s and was an avid actor in plays in high school, college and community theatre in Los Angeles, Big Bear and Corvallis. After college, Dan began a career of writing professionally as a staff writer at the Automobile Club of Southern California in Los Angeles. He moved from there to the Bay Area where he was named the Public Relations Director for Chevron Chemical at the tender age of 23. He was named to Who’s Who in the West and was also tapped to participate in the President’s Council on Juvenile Delinquency (an honor he found most ironic coming so shortly after some of his high school and college hi-jinks). He moved back to the southland in 1969 and worked for AvEd Systems and then Trainex writing police and hospital training films. After AvEd, Dan launched the PR Division for Bryan Hardwick & Associates (a southern California Advertising firm) as the Public Relations Director. Subsequently he created a Public Relations Division as the Vice President and Public Relations Director for Molnar and Associates, another southern California Advertising firm. Dan launched his own firm in 1973, Sefton Public Relations. Dan was a frequent public speaker and was at various times the president of the Los Angeles Publicity Club and the USC Cinema Alumni Guild and several Shakespeare Societies. He specialized in Restaurant and Real Estate PR for nearly twenty years before returning ultimately to his first love, cinema. Dan wrote and played a minor role in the film “James Dean: Live Fast Die Young” which starred Casper Van Dien and was the last movie in which Robert Mitchum played a role, (which was produced and directed by Mardi Rustam). Dan also authored several other scripts, “The Wildest Summer Ever” (a 1960s beach style movie) and “Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula” (a comedy horror film), “Partners” and “Imelda” (a biography of the late Philippine President’s wife). While those who knew Dan were deeply saddened by his sudden and unexpected passing, it is difficult not to remember him without laughter as he had a renowned sense of humor and his quick repartee and antics are often re-told by friends and at family gatherings. Dan was the moderator at an “Evening with Kirk Douglas” in the 1980s when Mr. Douglas was asked about “Lonely are the Brave” and the climactic scene at the end when Douglas and his horse were struck by a truck. Mr. Douglas commented with some disappointment that no one ever expressed concern about him, but everyone asked about the horse. Dan quipped, “and besides he was a stunt horse” at which Mr. Douglas burst into laughter and said, “Thanks! I’m going to use that the next time I’m asked!” And he did. Dan also enjoyed announcing to a room full of 250 guests at his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1997 that he was their eldest child and that he had attended and remembered the wedding well. This sent gasps through the audience before he explained his role as step son and ring-bearer at the 1947 ceremony. You never knew what Dan might say or do but you knew it would be unique, clever and funny. In later years Dan cared for his parent’s in Corvallis and enjoyed traveling when time permitted. He had traveled frequently to Hawaii and went to Europe in 1972 and again in 2002. He also attended the USC vs. Oklahoma National Championship Game in Miami in January of 2005 and the Cream Re-Union Concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall in May of 2005 as well as the USC vs. Texas National Championship Game in January of 2006. Dan was also a frequent visitor of New Orleans. Dan was preceded in death by his father Frank Loren Haynes (October 1944), his mother Mary Joe Sefton (August 2007) and his step-father Roy A Sefton (July 2005). He is survived by his loving siblings Lloyce Sefton Jaunkalnietis (Pleasanton, California), Donald H. Sefton (Fallon, Nevada) and Robert Wayne Sefton (Deerfield Beach, Florida). Dan will be interred with his parents at Corvallis Oak Lawn Memorial Park.

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