March 30, 1937 – August 19, 2015
Daniel Milton Lotz was born in Flushing, New York, on March 30, 1937 to John and Adeline Lotz. He claimed Jesus Christ as his Savior at the age of five during Vacation Bible School. When his father challenged him at the age of 15 following a meeting at the Bowery Mission in lower Manhattan to seek first the Kingdom of God and all the other things in his life would fall into place, Danny surrendered his life to Jesus Christ as his Lord. Other things did fall into place as he became a star athlete in track, basketball, baseball and football, setting several Long Island High School records. In 1996 he was inducted into the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame.
Things continued to fall into place as he was highly recruited in high school for football and basketball. He accepted the offer of a full four-year basketball scholarship with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His undefeated team won the NCAA National Basketball Championship his sophomore year in 1957, and he went on to captain the team in 1959. With one year of eligibility left following his graduation, Coach Jim Tatum gave him a scholarship his first year in dental school to play football for UNC as a lonesome end. Their biggest achievement that year was to beat rival Duke 50-0.
While at UNC he was voted into the Order of the Grail and the Order of the Golden Fleece. But remembering to seek first God’s Kingdom, he began the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus, a ministry he actively participated in for the rest of his life. He served on the National Board of Directors for forty years, and was given their highest honors – the Tom Landry Award and the Branch Rickey Award, as well as being named to their Hall of Champions in 2002. His love for FCA led him to serve not only on the national Board, but on the local and state boards as well.
Danny graduated from UNC dental school in 1963, then served as a captain in the Air Force for two years at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. While in the Air Force, he played on the All Service Basketball Team, and was invited to try out for the Olympics.
Three months before his discharge from the Air Force, he met his future wife, Anne Graham. He turned down a lucrative offer to practice dentistry on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and instead went into practice with Dr. Henry O. Lineberger, Jr, in Raleigh, North Carolina. With closer proximity to where Anne lived near Asheville, he pursued the relationship, and they were married on September 2, 1966.
He fathered three children, Daniel Jonathan Lotz, now living in Mocksville, NC; Morrow Reitmeier and Rachel-Ruth Wright, both living in Raleigh. He has three granddaughters, Ruth Bell, Sophia Frances, and Anne Riggin. He was beloved and respected by his two sons-in-law, Traynor Reitmeier and Steven Wright, as well as his daughter-in-law, Jenny Jones Lotz. Danny is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Denton and Janice Lotz and sisters-in-law, Beverly and Vicki Lotz. He was predeceased by his parents and his two brothers, Sam and John.
Continuing to faithfully put God first in his life, he helped to successfully plant two churches in Raleigh, Christ Baptist and Southbridge Fellowship; served as a discussion leader in Bible Study Fellowship for 25 years; established and led a men’s Bible study for over 30 years in Raleigh, and for the past ten years established and led another men’s Bible study in Chapel Hill.
While active in his Bible studies, churches, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, his Raleigh dental practice flourished for 40 years with thousands of patients who adored the “gentle giant.” In recognition of the significant and extraordinary contribution he made to his adopted state, on January 28, 2015, he was presented with the most prestigious civilian award North Carolina offers, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
At the age of fifty he developed a severe case of Adult 1 diabetes. For the ten years following his retirement from dentistry he fought the ravages of the disease, earning him the beloved nickname, God’s Gladiator. He lost the sight in one eye and the hearing in his right ear. His heart disease required 5 stents in his arteries. His renal failure dictated three days of dialysis each week. And yet he never slowed down, never gave up, never stopped investing in the lives of others. As a New Yorker he was plain spoken. As a German he was stubborn. As a Christian he was a compassionate servant leader. He was more than a man’s man. He was God’s man who triumphantly finished his race having fought the good fight, and having kept his faith firmly focused on the kingdom of God first. He moved to our Father’s House on August 19, 2015 and received the accolade of his Savior, Lord, and King who presented him with the Crown of Righteousness. We salute you, Danny Lotz. And we will never forget you.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
*Read more on Anne’s blog post, Danny Lotz: God’s Gladiator.