Person of the Year 2022: Daniel (Danny) B. Chambers, Jr., Cleveland, Ohio
By Publisher John O’Brien, Jr.
iIrish is a celebratory newsmagazine. I am adamant about that. We feature the good people, music, events and actions in our ever-expanding community monthly in print, and near daily on our website, social media etc.
The plan felt right from our very beginning, in 2006, in that bad news and bad people are readily publicized, to all of our detriment, 24/7. But good people? Not so much.
In that vein, when we decided to annually recognize an individual that impacts the whole community, and name she or he our iIrish Person of the Year. I wanted to be sure it was done right, in the right spirit and with the right consideration.
That is why we delayed naming the inaugural honoree two years, as celebrating seemed a little inappropriate, when Covid first crossed the horizon and took so many. The selection was the same, the timing just had to fit.
Our Irish family is so fortunate. There are so many who are so dedicated to it, who do so much in the community. Then and now, there is no one who exemplifies the values of the award, the selfless embracing, nurturing and, of course, celebration, of all that is good in our family, then Danny Chambers.
A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day
If you don’t know Danny, I am surprised. But make the effort to meet a man you don’t meet every day. I could spend a day or three telling you all that is good about him, his day and what he does, but I will let other voices chime in to do that, after I populate the bio. Here are just a few of those bio facts to get us started.
Dan is a third-generation funeral director and embalmer. He is the oldest child of the late Eileen (nee Gallagher) and Daniel B. Chambers Sr.
He has four siblings: Brian, William (Bill), Connor and Eileen. He attended St. Edward and Fairview High School, Xavier University and graduated from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1991.
He is married to Kathleen (nee Campbell); they have five children: Daniel III, Fiona, Emmett, Ronan, and Bridget; live in Olmsted Township; and attend St. Mary of the Falls Church. Dan is a lifelong member of the West Side Irish American Club, serving on their board for many years, currently as Vice-President, as well as a member of the Mayo Society of Cleveland.
He belongs to the Ohio and Cuyahoga Funeral Directors Associations as well as the Embalmers Association of Cleveland. Dan is currently a board member and past president of the Fairview/West Park/North Olmsted Rotary Club; member of the North Olmsted Chamber of Commerce and Olmsted Falls Chamber of Commerce; served as a member of the City of Fairview Park Planning Commission; and was past managing member of Foresight Family Funeral Homes. [He is all of that, and more, as this is the edited version].
Chamber’s Funeral Homes are a Cleveland institution. We mourn losses and console loved ones there, swap stories and hugs, seeking solace and perhaps closure.
Understanding is hard to find, but love is not. A Chambers, Tirpak, Pierce or other friend is there with us, offering strength, empathy, wisdom and plentiful hugs too. Often, we meet at a local, usually Public House, to continue the conversation after.
Chambers Funeral Home
Wm F. Chambers, Sr., Agnes; William F., Jr.; Daniel B. Sr.
Agnes B. & William F. Chambers, Sr. founded Chambers Funeral Home in 1933. First at West 85th and Madison Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1937, they purchased a home on Rocky River Drive in Cleveland and moved their family and business into the West Park neighborhood.
William Sr. passed away unexpectedly in 1950 at the age of forty-five. Agnes Chambers assumed the leadership of the business, and with the encouragement of her sons, decided to remain open until they were old enough to take over the reins. William F. Chambers, Jr. received his funeral directors license in 1955 and Daniel B. Chambers, Sr. received his in 1959.
Chamber’s Funeral Home expanded to Berea in 1974, and North Olmsted in 2003. Through the years and milestones, they continue to exceed their mission of providing memorable and meaningful funerals to each family.
Some of the Chamber’s Funeral Home Family, Paul Kearns, Danny Chambers, Brian Chambers, Pat Campbell, Stephen Tirpak (Rest in Peace), Steve Tirpak.
Those Other Voices Chiming in:
“Now that we are getting older, we are realizing how much our dad truly embodies what it means to be an Irish American. While he always manages to put his family first, he is also fully dedicated to his job and the different committees and projects he finds on his plate on any given day.
“No matter how busy he is, he still finds ways to make it out to the Irish American Club for board meetings, up to the local pub to listen to an Irish band and makes it to church on a Saturday evening. Sometimes we wonder how he does it all.
“Dad has instilled in us how important it is to be proud of our culture and has embodied the true meaning of giving back to those before us who made such great sacrifices to give us the lives we live today. We are so lucky to see first-hand how our dad does it, so that maybe someday we can be half the Irish American he is.”
– Daniel III, Fiona, Emmett, Ronan, and Bridget Chambers
“Danny Chambers is an institution in the Irish American community. He is well known and loved by people of every age group. His steady and strong leadership of Chamber’s Funeral Homes, as well as his involvement at the WSIA puts him in the public eye and he always conducts himself with kindness, decency and respect for others.
– Eileen Chambers O’Malley and Brendan O’Malley
“He’s been the man of the year in our family for thirty years.” – Bill and Mollie Chambers
“Dan Chambers is the definition of servant leadership in his profession and everyday life. He serves so many grieving families. He works tirelessly in giving back of his time and talents to so many organizations, especially the WSIA.”
– Brian and Fiona Chambers
“Danny took it upon himself to carry on a tradition of involvement in the Irish community after his father passed away. Over the course of the last thirty+ years, he has continued to show a dedication and commitment to further the Irish tradition and sense of community throughout Greater Cleveland.”
– Connor & Bridget Chambers
“We are elated that Danny Chambers has been selected for this well-deserved honor. We have known him to be a well-respected and decent man who has been an upstanding member of our family for over 25 years. We knew his parents well and know that they would also be proud of the man he has become.”
– Mary & Eddie Campbell
“Congratulations to Danny on this honor! He is very deserving of this award as he selflessly gives back to the Irish community in so many ways.
“Danny has always been a man of character, integrity, with a hard work ethic. These values are evident in the wonderful family he and his wife Kathleen have raised and the success of Chambers Funeral Homes.
“We are honored to call him not only our brother-in-law and uncle, but also a very good friend.”
– Brian, Maureen and Eamon Carr
“Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition Danny! Thank you for always being there for our family, no matter what the circumstance.
“Your dedication to the things that matter most (family, funeral home, faith and Irish heritage) is inspiring to witness day in and day out.
“If Danny is not working, he can be seen watching any/all sports (except soccer) and attending the many sporting events of his children throughout the years. Nothing makes him prouder than seeing the accomplishments and successes of all his children.
“If our children are half as kind as you are, they will go very far in life; I am honored you are my man every day!
“I Love You.” – Kathleen Campbell Chambers