Richard Allen McDaniel, also known as “Rick,” was an advocate for the equality of African Americans and women. He published a paper on sexual discrimination in the workplace that appeared in the Law Journal of Rutgers University. McDaniel died on Feb. 1. He was 73.
McDaniel was born on March 22, 1938 in York. He was the third child of John McDaniel Sr. and Esther Stevenson McDaniel. He was a member of Small Memorial AME Church.
Even as a minor, he always strived for excellence in academics, sports and entrepreneurship. In school, he received high marks and awards, sometimes in spite of racial bias that existed in his community. McDaniel even had his own shoeshine business.
While attending York’s William Penn High School, he was elected to the student council and upon graduation, was awarded a senatorial scholarship to Lincoln University.
In 1960, he earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and chemistry. A few years later, he relocated to Philadelphia and started a dry-cleaning business with a friend. His career as a chemist began at U.S. Cocoa Co. and continued at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Although successful, McDaniel felt he had another calling. In 1966, he entered Howard University School of Law where he earned a law degree.
He began his legal career in 1969 as a corporate attorney at the Campbell Soup Co. in Camden. N.J. Deciding instead on private practice, he joined the law firm of Cecil B. Moore. Eventually, he established the partnership of McDaniel, Wheeler and Finch and opened an office in Center City. He was involved in several high-profile cases. Eventually, he became a solo practitioner, specializing in domestic and personal injury cases.
He met his wife Eleanor in 1970. They married in 1974 and had a son, Brian. The family spent their life together in West Mt. Airy. They enjoyed art, entertaining friends and travel. They often traveled to Europe and the Caribbean, and throughout the U.S. Their favorite foreign country was Italy, which they visited often.
“I’d like him to be remembered as an attorney that really cared about his clients and worked hard to do the best for them,” said wife Eleanor H. McDaniel.
McDaniel had a distinguished legal career spanning 35 years. In 1985, he succeeded to the presidency of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia.
He was also a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Philadelphia Bar Association and Frontiers International. He was a trustee of Community Legal Services and served on the board of the NAACP, the Philadelphia Federation of Black Business and Professional Organizations and several other organizations.
In 1996, he was appointed to the Fairmount Park Commission Advisory Council. He served as legal consultant for his friend and former city Councilman Alvin Stewart. In spite of his busy schedule, he found time to serve as president of the Lankenau Parents Association in the high school where his son was a student.
McDaniel is survived by his wife, Eleanor; son, Brian; sister, Diana McDaniel Walker; mother-in-law, Elizabeth Hendricks; two sisters-in-law, Valerie Hendricks and Doretha Washington McDaniel; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service will be held Feb. 10 at Ivy Hill Cemetery-Chapel, 1201 Easton Road. It will start at 11 a.m. Bruce Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.