This note was written by Tom Friel, a long time high power rifle shooter and a good
friend of the late Dan Ciarleglio.
Dan was a character in his own right. He was born during the Depression, and tried to join the Marines in 1943. He was sixteen if I recall correctly. His mother, in Dan’s words, ratted on me, and he was sent home.
His real name was Don, but to his friends it was Dan. He drove tractor-trailers all his life. He drove under age in CT, and used his uncle’s driver’s license until he was old enough to get his own. He married Esther and had five kids. He wanted more but the good Lord said no. It broke his heart!
He joined the army when he turned 18, and was on the 3rd Army Rifle Team. He almost went to Korea in 1950, but when his unit was sent there, he was again sent home – this time because Esther was pregnant with their first – born Nicky. Nicky currently lives in Lincoln and runs a garage with another son named Vincent. The two daughters are still in the area. I saw Donna, his oldest daughter with some of her kids the other day. We chatted about Dan for about an hour at Home Depot.
Dan was in a terrible tractor-trailer accident in the late 60’s or early 70’s, and it left him partially paralyzed from the waist down. He and Esther, with their then four kids, moved to Lincoln NH, and ran a family restaurant. I believe it was in the early 70’s.
Dan loved guns, hunting and shooting. He was a Life member of the NRA, joined the NH State Rifle & Pistol Association, The Daniel Boone Club of NH, and helped organize GONH. He was President of the NHSR&PA for I believe about ten years. He and Bob Suomala talked me into becoming Secretary and Treasurer.
In my position I worked with Dan, and he did everything he could on the political front to protect gun owner rights and promote shooting. He spent much of his own money on doing it. He took juniors to Camp Perry at his own expense, and chaperoned them out there year after year. Many times he refused to take any re-imbursement for his time, trouble and expenses. He worked closely with Mike Yacino of GOAL in Massachusetts on mutual projects.
He passed away one night very unexpectedly in 1985. He and Esther were talking in the kitchen about forgetting their wedding anniversary. He walked into the living room and sat down on the couch. Esther came in a few minutes later, and found him dead on the couch. He had had a heart attack. He did have a heart problem, but it didn’t slow him down.
Every rifle range held a memorial service to him after a match that year. We instituted an award to remember him in the League for all the work he did to promote shooting and getting new shooters into the sport. He supported the League and shot every match, year after year.