August 8, 1938-December 1, 2023
Daniel Joel De Freval was born Aug. 8, 1938 in Le Havre, France. He lived with his family in occupied France throughout the war, and moved to Rouen, France, for his dual bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology. His father spoke highly of the United States after working as a ship steward, and Daniel immigrated in 1964, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1975. During this era, he worked in New York City for a catering company, and taught English at the University of Texas (Austin), Dickinson College and the U.S. Army War College, the International School in Switzerland and on the Ojibwe Reservation in Red Lake, Ontario. He developed his skills to become an exceptional interpreter and translator, able to do phrase-by-phrase and simultaneous translation. He also became fluent in Spanish, and spoke some German, Italian and Latin. He worked in the U.S. State Department as a professional translator for visiting dignitaries until he found his career in the CIA in psychological operations and counterterrorism from 1982 until his retirement in 2005. He then contracted with various organizations, including the U.S. State Department and Blackwater, for the next 10 years. His time of service included dangerous missions undercover, and he worked for several kings and presidents overseas.
Daniel and Jamie met in Ouray, CO, at The Assembly of God Church, marrying in 1984, and had one son, Dan. They lived in the Republic of the Congo and Washington, D.C. after their tour abroad with Daniel’s work.
In retirement, Daniel was very active in the Montrose Prison Ministry, local churches as an elder, and on the Ouray County Sheriff’s Advisory Board. He also studied to become a professional minister and performed weddings and burials locally. “Licensed to marry and bury,” as he liked to say.
Daniel quietly passed away in his home in Ouray on Dec. 1, 2023. He will be greatly missed by his family. He is survived by his wife, Jamie; son, Dan; daughterin- law, Melissa; as well as his treasured grandchildren, Elise, Cesc and Niels; and his vast multitude of local friends. He is also survived by his two sisters in France, Vonette and Christianne, as well as many nieces and nephews, who fondly remember him as “Uncle Cowboy.”
A viewing will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Ridgway Community Church, at 685 Sherman St. with an 11 a.m. service, with interment to follow.