For the past 56 years, Sam Daniel has been at his desk by 8 a.m. every weekday. For the past 51 years, that desk has been at the law firm of Doerner, Saunders, Daniel and Anderson. When he’s not practicing family law, the 83-year-old Daniel and wife Mary Lou do a lot of fly fishing, especially at favorite spots in Colorado and Montana. He has also worked out and lifted weights every other day for more than 40 years and finishes the exercise by putting some miles on the treadmill.
“I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Daniel says. “I’m a second generation founder of our company and am proud that we’re the oldest law firm in the state of Oklahoma. I’ve been here my entire career, other than the first six years, joining the firm in 1965. We still carry the names of the original founders on the letterhead: Doerner and Saunders.”
Between a thrilling, fulfilling practice, highlighted by “the satisfaction of seeing people settle their differences and the challenges that research brings” and frequent fly-fishing, golfing and game bird hunting, Daniel is having too much fun to slow down.
“I’ve hunted game bird all my life. I hunt them, clean them and cook them,” Daniel says. “Mary Lou and I like how healthy, tasty and low fat [wild fowl] is.”
Other pursuits include membership at Boston Avenue Methodist Church, enjoying black-and-white movies from the 1930s and 1940s and extensive reading, especially researching the history of World War I and World War II. Daniels joined the ROTC and became an Air Force captain, but he was in college during the Korean War and was too old to serve in Vietnam.
Daniel’s interest in World World II history stems from his childhood experience of Dec. 7, 1941 – a Sunday that has stayed with him ever since.
“My parents were driving the family home from church, and we heard President Roosevelt on the radio telling us that Pearl Harbor had been bombed and attacked by Japan,” he explains. “There was just shock … and disbelief. I’ve always been fascinated by that period of history and am currently reading a trilogy about the war in North Africa, Italy, France and the Low Countries.”
Staying mentally young means counting blessings both present and past. Daniel fondly recalls the hot summers of his youth spent on Grand Lake and that other quintessential childhood pastime: summer camp.
“I attended Camp Kanakuk as a boy and so did my kids and later my grandkids,” he laughs. With two recent weddings among his seven grandchildren, perhaps some great grandkids will also eventually attend the Christian camp located in Branson, Missouri.
Two of Daniel’s five children are also attorneys, and he says: “I love my family, my kids and my work. I’m a very lucky man.”