Dan Secord, obstetrician and councilman, dies at 80

Dan Secord, obstetrician and councilman, dies at 80

Dan Secord, obstetrician and councilman, dies at 80

By SB BMW Riders on Nov 10, 2016 at 06:06 AM in Tid Bits
Dan Secord, obstetrician and councilman, dies at 80
Dan Secord in 2006

October 30, 2016 6:00 AM

To our dear friend and member of the Santa Barbara BMW Motorcycle Club.

Many people remember Dr. Dan Secord as the doctor who delivered their baby. The gynecologist/obstetrician was there for the birth of more than 6,000 babies in the Santa Barbara area from 1969 to 2001.

Others recall him as a "blunt, cantankerous" community activist who served on the City Council from 1998 to 2006. Before that, he was a member of the Planning, Harbor and Coastal commissions. In 2006 and 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in 2006 and 2010.

To his family and friends, Dr. Secord, who died Oct. 22 of bladder cancer at the age of 80, was so much more.

"My dad was many things to many people," said Jennifer Secord, 36, the youngest of his five children. "He was their doctor, their sailing buddy, the guy they rode bikes with, the guy they rode motorcycles with, their councilman, their pilot, their fellow board member, their choral society buddy, their coastal commissioner, their local politician, their Meals-on-Wheels delivery man and most of all their loyal friend.

"Dad built relationships everywhere he went, cruising around town in his signature ride, a classic 1965 red Mercedes 230 SL, the only car he ever drove."

Even with his myriad activities, Dr. Secord never forgot to call his friends and serenade them with "Happy Birthday," according to his wife of 46 years, Mary Secord, a psychotherapist.

"It was a very special thing for them," she said, adding that her husband also played the flute and "the bagpipes for awhile."

Among the little known facts about Dr. Secord's multifaceted life is that he was born Sept. 5, 1936, in a Salvation Army orphanage in Kansas City, Mo., leaving there at the age of 15.

From 1955 to 1958, he served in the Army Medical Corps. In 1961, he earned his bachelor's degree in zoology from UC Riverside and four years laterhis medical degree from UC Irvine.

While practicing medicine for 32 years, he ran five marathons, sailed innumerable races, including 10 of them to Hawaii, flew his own airplane, scuba dived and never missed challenging weekly bike rides with a large group of friends.

Ed Birch was one of them.

"Dan, Barry Berkus, Bruce McFadden and I began running 40 years ago in Hope Ranch. This evolved into the bike ride with a larger group," said Mr. Birch. "I discovered there was so much more to Dan than riding bikes. Over the years, I came to appreciate his qualities that resonated with me - moral and ethical issues - that are so important in my own life. Dan epitomized them in all ways."

Mr. Birch recalled an experience that illustrated his point.

"When Dan was on the City Council, I was involved in a project that needed his support, which he refused to give. Although I was disappointed, it showed me that Dan was no puppet. He didn't care if you were a good friends, a Republican or Democrat. All he cared about was doing the right thing. He reeked of integrity and honesty. I don't know of many people who are like that."

A long-time member of the Santa Barbara Choral Society, Dr. Dan, as he was known affectionately around town, served as its president and was instrumental in helping the organization meet new people and work closely with other arts organizations in town, according to Debra Stewart, the current president.

"Dan was a creative, kind and patient man. He had a great wit and knew how to make us laugh in tense situations. We were honored to know him and will miss him terribly," said Ms. Stewart.

Brooks Firestone, who sang bass with Dr. Secord in the society, said, "Dan and I sang some of the great works of the world. I will miss him. He was a good man."

Besides his wife, Mary, and daughter Jennifer, Dr. Secord is survived by his children, Cindy Tomkinson, Richard Secord, Stephanie Curtis and Lara Mislang and 10 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave. A reception with an open mic for "telling Dr. Dan stories" will follow at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

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