Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Mary Waddington Barnum and Lew Barnum, the second of five children.
At the age of eight, having been increasingly curious about building design and construction, Dan knew he wanted to become an architect. After graduation from Baton Rouge High School in 1956, he entered Rice Institute with a Navy ROTC Scholarship. He served as a student leader, on the Student Council and as President of Hanszen College. He graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts and was commissioned to the U.S. Navy for three years, the final year serving as an advisor to the Vietnamese Navy in Saigon. He returned to school to earn his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Rice University in 1964. He then married Mary Sue Wilson, who would be his wife of twenty years and the mother of his two children, Betsy and Jeff. He continued his Navy career as a reservist, retiring as a Commander in 1979.
His architectural career spanned fifty-one years, working with five firms in Houston, three of which he was a partner or owner. His work earned design and preservation awards. He served as a leader in the Houston chapter of the AIA. He was a founder of the Midtown Redevelopment Authority in the early 1990s and served as a board member of the Midtown Management District. He was affectionately known as “The Mayor of Midtown.”
In 2009, Dan was invested in the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in a beautiful ceremony at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
In 2010 Dan married Marilyn Lewis. Since then they have enjoyed symphony, opera, art galleries, museums, travel, and nice dinners at home. Dan’s eggplant parmesan was a favorite.
Dan was a citizen of the world. He loved travel, he loved reading about global events, and he viewed world affairs through a wide-angle lens.
Dan is preceded in death by his parents and older brother Barney. He is survived by his loving wife Marilyn; younger brother Charlie (Dayonne); his sisters Mimi Riché (Guy) and Ann Clemens (Gary); daughter Betsy Morris and her children Katie, Ryan, and Bradford; son Jeff (Louisa) and their daughters Iren and Farranika; first wife Sue Barnum, step daughter Angi Harp (Rob) and their daughters; and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Dan’s life will take place at 11:00 am September 14 at Trinity Church, 1015 Holman St. at Main. In lieu of flowers, Dan has requested donations to the Trinity Church Endowment Fund, Rice University School of Architecture, or the charity of your choice.
Dan’s life ended with an aggressive cancer that did not respond to treatment. The family wants to thank the wonderful caregivers at Silverado Hermann Park, who helped us celebrate his 80th birthday and who made him comfortable as he slipped away.
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