Mario Daniel Buccella passed away peacefully with his wife Tiffany, his sons Caleb and Lucas, and family by his side, and now rests with Jesus, his Savior. Daniel was the beloved son of Al and Tina Buccella, brother of Lisa Marie (Justin), Olivia (Travis) and Julianna (Michael), brother-in-law to Nicole and Craig Bushey, and Brad Davis, and cherished son-in-law to Maria and Mark Davis. Daniel was adored by a large extended family of aunts and uncles, cousins, twelve nieces and nephews, and known to thousands in Pensacola, Florida, where he ended his hockey career and chose to make his home.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Daniel lived an unusually rich life. He was raised in a loving home, where the values of family, faith, integrity and hard work were instilled in him. From a young age, he lived to play hockey, which he excelled at and that shaped the arc of his life. For years, Daniel and his father spent countless hours traversing Canadian highways for hockey tournaments and games during which they talked and dad got philosophical. But mostly they laughed and just thoroughly enjoyed being together.
After a career in the Ontario Hockey League as a teenager, Daniel played on teams in Alabama and Florida, where his determination, character and leadership impacted teammates and opponents alike. It was in Alabama where he met green-eyed, 5'3 Tiffany and her Bronco, and, where he introduced his younger sister Olivia to her future husband, Travis, Dan's teammate and close friend. Daniel went on to play with the Pensacola Ice Flyers, helping lead the team to a Southern Professional Hockey League championship in his final season with the team.
Daniel’s passion for hockey paled in comparison to love and loyalty for his family, who he faithfully served. Daniel loved Tiffany, Caleb and Lucas with all his heart and was the dad any son would be proud of. He leaves behind too many friends to innumerate, and many more people he impacted through his good deeds.
Those included people in the hockey community, his Tiger Point neighborhood, and co-workers and customers at Sunrise Marina in Destin, where he built a successful career. Daniel enjoyed spending time on the water with family and friends, and shared a love of classic cars with his father.
Daniel stayed close to his Italian roots. When asked what she remembered most about his childhood, his mother said, among other things: “He was a good eater.” Daniel carried this trait into adulthood, having an unconditional love for gnocchi and salads. However, when it came to food, Daniel carried dual loyalties. The influence of the South and his southern belle wife expanded his palate to include numerous dishes including crawfish boils and grouper picada. While he enjoyed the restaurants of Pensacola, Tiffany’s sorcery in the kitchen was (and remains) unique and kept Daniel under her spell.
Daniel had a reputation as a karaoke savant, at least in his own imagination. It was not unusual to find him alone in a room with a lit disco ball and a karaoke machine singing to Elvis or Johnny Cash. Daniel was an ever-optimistic, pants-optional life of the party guy, whether a large gathering or a party of one.
When Daniel was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer, it was nearly impossible to believe because he was invincible to so many. Daniel, the bon vivant, built, lived and appreciated the good life.
Daniel received exemplary care at the UAB O’Neil Comprehensive Cancer Center in Birmingham, Alabama, which he was grateful for. He was supported by his best friend Dr. Russ Ronson and his wife Catie, and by his close friends from the Tiger Point community, and many others, in many ways.
In honor of Daniel, please consider contributing to a college fund for his sons. More information is here: http://everloved.com/life-of/daniel-buccella/
Daniel, thank you for the gift that was your life. We love you, miss you tons already, and although it feels impossible at times, will honor your memory by living lives of love, goodness, and generosity.
Daniel "Dan" Buccella