Architect, patriarch, gardener, philosopher, adventurer, scholar, instructor, philanthropist, mentor, loving husband, steadfast father, caregiver, friend.

We are filled with gratitude for his influence in our life and the wonderful memories the years allowed.

Linda Streissguth

Good afternoon and welcome everyone.

For those who don’t know me, I’m Ben Streissguth, Ann and Dan’s son.

We are gathered here today to remember Daniel Michener Streissguth who among so many other things, brought love, laughter, and joy to this world from April 17th, 1924 to November 21st, 2020. We laid him to rest on December 3 2020 in Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle. I’d like to start off today with a minute of silence so we can all reflect on him in our own ways.


Thank you all. Dan always loved telling a good story with a funny ending.

Remembering Dan in story

by Ben Streissguth

My father was one of the last true gentlemen of the 20th century, he might well have been more comfortable spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, rather than the 20th and 21st centuries. In the early two-thousands I remember him proudly telling friends that he’d only every touched a computer — to dust it. One of his great concessions to the 21st century was getting a “newfangled” device for the home — an answering machine which he checked routinely but rather grudgingly. He did however learn to use an ATM a few years after that so he could get cash anywhere in the world where my folks were traveling — and travel they did, frequently and all over the world! Their last flight was to Hawaii in February 2018, and I was lucky enough to be with them. I believe my folks' last trans-oceanic flight was to Europe, in 2016, for a 10-day bicycle tour no less. For all of you who haven’t been in their house, it is packed, artfully so, with objects purchased on trips, objects reminding them of trips, and objects from friends who they either traveled with or who they had met during their travels. One of the greatest gifts my dad gave me was in 2014 when he gave me a binder with nearly a hundred hand-written pages, inventorying every significant object in their house, all the stories that accompany the objects, and a copy of the receipt if he had it handy. This document led him into another long and detailed inventory, this time of all the properties and their finances, and how he managed them. This, in turn, led him into thinking about their deaths. He wrote obituaries for both him and Ann, also making funeral plans, or so I thought. Not long after his death, upon tracking down and reading his obituary, I was shocked to learn that my memory was a bit faulty – Dan actually did not want a memorial service. — Oops!

Originally, I was conflicted as I’d already been telling people that we planned on having something online, open to everyone. But then it dawned on me — 2020 is the dawn of a new much more digital-age; one which I believe Dan didn’t really care to be part of, and probably didn’t fully comprehend. An age where we can reach out to others across the world without traveling or picking up the telephone. He was always a bit baffled when friends and family wanted to Zoom with him and Ann, though he put up with it good naturally. However this digital-age also allows us to have a small service, honoring the current gathering and traveling restrictions, and for all the rest of you to join in from the safety of your screens. I also believe that Dan was reluctant to have a service because he would rather be the host of a party, than to be fussed-over at one. We will be planning other larger gatherings to celebrate his life in a manor more true to his personality in the future when its safe and correct do so.

One of the beautiful things that has come about since his passing is the chance for me to reconnect with all those who loved him, learned from him, and were pleased to call him a friend. But perhaps the most unexpected gift was connecting with those who he touched less directly, be it from 38 years of teaching, or a life-time of gardening. It’s also been fun hearing from many friends about all the connections I didn’t know, or connections I had forgotten about. I debated if I should try and sum up his life here, but feel his obituary did it best, and in his own words. If you missed it, check out the Seattle Times obit page online, my Facebook, the Garden’s Facebook, Dan’s Facebook group, or the Streissguth Gardens website.

Another great story I’d like to share was one of Dan’s favorites for many years. I think it took place around the mid 1990’s. They met Dan’s cousin Kinsey and his wife Lilica for a driving tour around southwestern France. Michelin Guides in hand (both red and green) they visited many historic places, cities, and gardens. They frequently stayed at two-star country hotels, and dined on amazing food. One night they stopped at a famous spa resort high in the mountains. After enjoying the mineral baths and a walk around the grounds, they arrived for dinner to be presented with very restricted menus. Upon ordering, they were shocked to be served extremely small portions that would have put Nouvelle Cuisine to shame. Having exhausted all the options on the menu, and still being hungry, the group retreated to the car for a tailgate dinner of “left-overs” from their accumulated picnic lunch supplies – local wine, cured meats and sausages, cheese, bread, fruit, and of course cookies. Having eaten their fill they returned from the parking lot, and learned that evening that they were at a weight loss spa.

I’m so grateful to have traveled the world with my folks — so many wonderful memories! Besides his amazing legacy, I am honored to carry on the stewarding a truly wonderful house, and an incredibly special garden. Growing up, there was no pressure to follow in either of my folks professional footsteps, and I’m happy because those were both huge shoes to fill. Rather they encouraged me into what they believed was my dream — computer science. They never said a negative word when I dropped out of the computer field not long after entering. As luck would have it, I eventually was able to integrate my continued love of technology and computers into my new found path – managing Streissguth Gardens. In the interim, my folks encouraged me to build my own garden path which first led me to open a small gardening business, eventually returned me to community college where I studied horticulture, and finally led me to the UW where I studied landscape architecture in Gould Hall. As many of you know, my dad was one of the principle designers of Gould Hall, and taught there for many years. After graduating, I was then able to have a few wonderful years gardening in Streissguth Gardens alongside my folks. Not only do I now feel I’m honoring and following in their footsteps, I’m able to fulfill their dreams by carrying on the gardens we all love so much. It’s truly an honor to expand, continue, and plan for these gardens to continue past our lifetimes – something I know my dad dreamed of doing, but never fully realized.

Dad, every time I see your house, and the gardens we created I think of you! Thank you for all your inspiration, guiding, loving, and mentoring. Also, thank you for having an amazing group of multi-generational friends that I’ve been so lucky to be included in. We all love you, and will miss you incredibly every day.

Next we’ll hear from four of the people gathered with us today. I’m going to let them introduce themselves.

For Daniel

by Gunnel Tanimoto

I first met Daniel in 1970 -- a half century ago — when I moved to Broadway East. He became family to me, my husband and daughters and was very supportive of me at a difficult time in my life. Daniel was a wonderful person with a deep interest in people and their lives. He inspired so many of us in how he was able to do so many things. He was an accomplished architect, a professor a master gardener and designer, a great and loving father to Ben, a supportive husband to Ann and a devoted ice cream maker. I can just picture him on the 4th of July cranking the ice cream machine. He was also an avid traveler and we loved sharing stories of our mutual travels and Daniel's insights and questions were always interesting and thoughtful. Actually I think it was Daniel who inspired me to travel on the Transsiberian railroad in 1978 after we both had read "The Great Railroad Bazaar". Daniel loved train travel and he himself took the train across the US several times. Both he and Ann were the most intrepid travelers of any folks I know and Daniel loved reminiscing about all the places they had visited. Their drive through Turkey to Syria and Iran in a VW bus comes to mind in particular. What a cool thing to do! My family and I will always remember with fondness and happiness all the wonderful holidays and celebrations we shared with the Streissguths. With Daniel our lives felt richer and fuller. He will leave a big void. We will truly miss him.

A Strong Gravitational Force

by Steve Tanimoto

I know that were we not living under a pandemic, more of us would be participating here. Daniel and his family introduced us to so many nice people ...

I'm thinking about Jenny McFarland, Michael Graves, and their daughter Morgane.

Ellen Ashe, whose former husband Don studied under Daniel. Ellen was the maid of honor at my wedding with Gunnel.

And Jack and Danielle Carr, and other folks from that ukelele group the Mother Pluckers.

and the Caseys, and then Brenda Townsend and her husband Peter, with whom Daniel and Ann happily spent time relatively recently in Liverpool, England.

And the architects and their spouses ... Arne and Val Bystrom, Gene and Janet Zema, Dale Benedict, Rick Moler. Emily. Trina Deines and Galen Minah.

And Phil and Cynthia Scott from across the street, with the Easter Egg Hunt crowd... and downstairs neighbor Jennifer Ogden.

And music making and Peter, Ellen, and Molly Seibert.

Ben's best friend Gordon, and his parents Al and Sonya.

Then there is that family from France, the Dehaenes, for whom Dan and Ann have been a second set of parents. Stan and Ghislaine are now world-known psychologists like Ann.


Over the years, Dan and the rest of the Streissguths helped introduce us to Paris and to Rome, and showed us how to enjoy Hawaii. Especially the malasada pastry on the big island!

Dan, you will be so missed!

My Memories of Daniel Streissguth

by Linda Streissguth

It seems like yesterday when I first met Dan and Ann; it was when Kent and I were dating over 30 years ago. We were headed to the Olympic Peninsula, and as we sat in the Seattle ferry line, Kent looked in the rear view mirror and said “I think my cousins are in the line up behind us.” With some prodding and his insistence, we walked back to a VW convertible – with two smiling people hailing us with excited hellos. They were headed to the Olympics for a day hike and picnic, and I was immediately drawn to their exuberance and energy. Those first impressions grew into a deep admiration and affection over the years.

Shortly after we married, Dan and Ann, began hosting the treasured Streissguth Christmas Eve celebration — a long standing tradition carried forward from Aunt Lucile. The celebration usually began with Kay, Doug and I (and sometimes Kent if he wasn’t working) arriving early to set up tables, iron linens and peel potatoes. Dan could usually be found sneaking a rosette or two – the making of which was a family tradition of mine. He would always proclaim that they were “the best ones ever” and I looked forward to his delight each year.

The extended family would arrive late afternoon in time for feasting, followed by the neighborhood walk and caroling. We always knew Santa had arrived when the porch light was on and it was time to return to open presents. This was followed by more caroling with Ann on the piano – including our version of “Ah, Ah, Ah der Winter, der ist da”. I remember at one of our last family holidays looking over to see Dan, flanked by Karl (my father-in-law) and Dick (Dan’s brother) singing Silent Night in their rich lovely voices. It is a snapshot in my mind that I will always cherish.

Kent and I were fortunate to travel a few times with Dan and Ann, and our travel together provides special memories. Our first trip to Chicago provided a travel orientation for future trips and let us know that each day would usually begin with a lecture. I’m not sure who enjoyed this more — Dan — for the opportunity to share his vast knowledge of art and architecture, or Kent and I, Kay and Doug, the fortunate students. We loved learning about “the First Great American City,” as Professor Streissguth called it — with it’s “front lawn” extending to the lake, and we learned about Chicago windows. Our lectures involved walking tours that discussed prominent buildings and innovative building design. It was a busy 4 days and we returned home in love with Chicago and even more in love with Dan and Ann.

Over the years we had heard stories of Dan’s time teaching in Rome, regular visits to Casa Cuseni, and their friendship with Daphne Phelps. We were fortunate to visit Sicily and Casa Cuseni with Dan and Ann and to visit this place that was an important part of their history.

Morning lectures occurred at breakfast, teaching us about Casa Cuseni, Taormina and it’s ancient history. We had walking tours of the Greek amphitheater and old city; and we were assigned adventures which took us to the Valley of Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, and Caltagirone for pottery shopping. Most memorable to me were the afternoons spent with Dan on the terraces of Casa Cuseni having my first watercolor lessons. Still the patient professor, the afternoon hours included art instruction with the added bonus of wonderful discussions about travel, gardening, family, and life.

Throughout the years, much of our time together centered around meals — whether it was brunch, lunch or dinner. At Dan and Ann’s, each meal was accompanied by a tour of the garden to see what was new or in bloom, and we always returned to our home with treasures to propagate in our own garden. If we were hosting, I would usually catch Dan — shortly after arrival, looking around the kitchen to see what was for dessert. He had quite a sweet tooth, and he liked to plan ahead for what he considered the best part of the meal. Dinner and dessert always preceded our nights at the Opera and often included bubbly at intermission while Kent and Dan critiqued the current night’s entertainment.

Of all the time and adventure we shared, what I will miss most are the wonderful conversations we had over the years. Family stories about growing up in Monroe with Kent’s dad Karl and Karl’s brother Bud; working at the Streissguth mercantile; family stories about the aunts, uncles and cousins. We would discuss current events, our careers, civic and social issues, gardening, and so much more.

Dan’s love of the arts, travel and culture inspired us and helped us to dream bigger dreams and for that we are so very grateful. He leaves us with precious memories and a legacy that we will always cherish.

Like a father

by Jennifer Ogden

I am really honored to have been asked to speak at the service today, for Dan. Dan is truly one of the most wonderful people I have ever had the good fortune to have known. I loved him and considered him to be a second father to me.

I met Dan in October of 1994 when I was looking for an apartment in this new city of Seattle for me. I read the description of this amazing place in the Seattle Weekly and came to see it. My mouth was agape at how beautifully designed this apartment was. It was simply the coolest place I could ever have imagined. It had beautifully high ceilings with long dark timbers that ran through it. It had gorgeous brass hardware throughout and lovely wooden Port Orford Ceder blinds that I still care for tenderly to this day. It was like nothing else I had ever seen. I would later learn that Dan had designed and built this home in 1961. It was and is still, regarded as a real jaw-dropper by guests that come to visit. I haven’t left after 26 years.

I got to become close friends with Ann, Dan and Ben over the 26 years I have lived here. And then I got to know their friends and extended family and was invited to be part of many of their family celebrations and holidays. I learned from Dan’s many storytelling sessions of his life. I learned of the grocery store his parents kept and his work there as a young man, and of the solemn service he performed in World War II accompanying the dead soldiers back to the homes of their parents. I learned that Dan had initially wanted to go into Medicine but changed to Architecture on a whim. Dan loved to tell stories and I believed was at his happiest around the dinner table regaling old times to those who were gathered to hear him.

I was invited many, many times to the Christmas tree decorating party where split pea soup, a salad and crusty bread was on the menu each year and we got to learn the stories of where each ornament was procured on any one of Ann and Dan’s many trips abroad. To say that they were well traveled is the understatement of the year. They had so many stamps in their passports and so many interesting pieces of art and stories to accompany those stories, that there was never a lack for something new and interesting to learn. We often got a slideshow to watch and I got to travel to far off places vicariously through them. I can also tell you that I have probably strung a few hundred miles of popcorn and cranberries for the benefit of their trees over the years.

Dan used to host a 4th of July party on his upper garden for friends, and while I would not attend this party as I had a west facing deck and was keen to have my own get together for such a well-positioned view of the fireworks, I would always make sure I got a taste of Dan’s incredible hand churned strawberry ice cream which he made with fresh berries from his garden and in an old wooden churn using salt and a bit of elbow grease to make the freshest, most creamy, wonderful ice cream I have ever tasted. I will truly never forget his ice cream as long as I live. It was THAT good.

Another wonderful memory that Dan made was the Easter celebration. It goes without mentioning that Dan, Ann and Ben have an absolutely spectacular garden. No one that is attending this event doesn’t already know about their gardening prowess. I think we made at least 20 of these Easter parties, but it could have been more. Our dear neighbor, Cynthia Scott, put on the greatest party ever. She would do a large feast and furthermore, would make up well over 500 plastic eggs with candies inside of some, but gift notes inside of others that when eggs were tabulated and collected at the end, would be rewarded with some of the coolest gifts ever for the young people. However, it was Dan who emceed the event. He was really in his element here — starting off the festivities with rules around the big egg hunt and the timing and of course he and Ben would have already hidden the 500+ the eggs in their vast garden beforehand! Dan always wore a lovely suit, sometimes with a light blue or pink bowtie, with a lovely linen beige coat and maybe even a hat with a grosgrain ribbon. He was a dandy. He always had well procured clothing, beautifully tailored, of course. He looked very polished, always.

I got to learn of the many plants native to the Pacific Northwest and those beyond, as one of Dan’s favorite past times was to give Garden tours. I was the beneficiary of many a zucchini and basil clipping, and Stupice tomato that Ann and Dan could not handle due to their huge bounty. I treasured the summer time to see their incredible garden come to fruition.

I was to care for Ann and Dan’s home and their many indoor and outdoor plants, their fish and sometimes their dog whilst they took trips to Europe, South America, Africa and beyond — for 25 years. Dan always was so generous with his pay to me, so much so that I thought it rather embarrassing. But he said, I could never ask you to work for me without paying you such. He was way more than fair all of his life.

As Ann and Dan got older, Dan asked me to care for them in more personal tasks. I was happy to help. Dan and Ann wanted nothing more than to be in their home as they got more feeble as life unfortunately becomes. I was able to help them as much as possible before I had to leave to attend to my own parent’s needs. I got to know Dan even more. He shared his stories with an urgency and fervor and I would sit and listen to them all.

Dan was a quality man. He has been a kind, consistent, philanthropic, gentle, caring and giving individual. I, of course, feel sadness over his passing, but in the grand scheme of things, we cannot be sad about a wonderful man, having lived an incredible life, with a fine son, a loving wife, with a fantastic career, well regarded and well respected, in a beautiful home, and having traveled the world and the being the emcee of many a great party.

Dan had a good life and deserved every second he got of it. I still learn from him and I think he would like that.

Thank you.

[Finally I opened the mic up for any of the remaining 7 people to say a few words.]

[Our weekday daytime caregiver, Almaz Yassin summed up the past year and half she was been with us, and how Dan has touched her life.]

We then returned Dan to the earth, and each threw a single white rose in. Immediate family going last — first Ann, and then Jade. I then added 3 blue irises — Dan’s favorite flower — one for each if his direct family who proceeded him, Edmund, Lucile, and his brother Richard. I went last.

In closing, I’d like to share this quote I heard recently:

Death is not the final word – love is the final word.

Dad, we all love you! See you in the garden!


Click on any image to enlarge and open slide show

UW Professor Daniel Streissguth, c. 1967

Dan and Ben building the Woodland Path in Streissguth Gardens, c. 1974

Family fun with playing with thier new puppy Tiger, 1998

Ben, Ann, and Dan at Streissguth Gardens 20th Anniversary Party, 2016

Daniel on camel trek in Southern Algeria, c. 1990

Ann and Daniel at Dancing Til Dusk, © Constance Brinkly 2015

Ann and Daniel out on the town

The wedding of Ann and Daniel, December 20th, 1968, c. 1948

Early drawing of Streissguth House, by Dan, c. 1960

Daniel, c. 1948