Amherst College In Memory Notice

Dan Israel

Amherst, Spring, 2011


Daniel H. Israel, died on Sunday, February 6, 2011, in Boulder, Colorado. He had been battling cancer for a year and a half.

His wife Carol L. Grasse said that he died peacefully. Following a memorial service in Boulder, his ashes were scattered at the foot of the Rocky Mountains at a place where he had often hiked.

Dan was born in 1941 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Dr. Harold L. Israel (Amherst 1930) and Dorothy (Harris) Israel, one of five children. He attended NetherProvidenceHigh School in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, about 15 miles west of Philadelphia.

At Amherst Dan majored in English. He played football for two years, then rugby, along with ice hockey and lacrosse. He pledged Theta Delta. After Amherst, he earned a master’s degree in government studies at the University of Pennsylvania, then he entered the University of Michigan law school, graduating in 1967.

After practicing tax law on Wall Street, for two years, in the early 1970s, Dan moved to Colorado and began working a non-profit law firm providing legal assistance to Indian tribes throughout the country.

He represented several tribes over a span of four decades contributing to the advancement of federal Indian law in the areas of water rights and protection of tribal natural resources.

Dan married four times; his first three marriages ended in divorce. He also leaves four children -- Sophia (Gold), and Rachael, Adam, and Eli Israel; a brother and two sisters (another brother predeceased him), and two grandchildren, Hannah and Bo Gold.

Dan requested that memorial gifts be collected and formed into a scholarship fund to help a local tribal member or Hispanic rural high-school graduate attend AmherstCollege.

In a note written a couple of weeks before he died, Dan wrote that during his illness, “I have managed, at long last, to cleanse my soul, myself, of its powerful but fictitious beliefs in the inevitability of personal catastrophe.”

- Neale Adams