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Breaux Bridge - A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 12:30 pm on Saturday, January 28, 2023 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge for Daniel James Rees, 30, who passed away on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 in Lafayette.
A visitation took place at St. Bernard Catholic Church on Saturday, January 28, 2023 from 11:30 am until the time of Mass.
Father Garrett McIntyre officiated at the funeral mass, assisted by Father Michael Richard. Inurnment will follow at a later date.
Daniel James Rees was born in Jefferson, Louisiana on May 8, 1992 to Daniel A Rees and Kay Sibille Rees. He moved to Breaux Bridge from New Orleans when he was six years old. He attended St. Bernard Elementary School and Teurlings Catholic High School. At St. Bernard, he received numerous academic and character awards, culminating in the Rene Calais Award at graduation. Similarly, throughout high school, Daniel continued to receive many character, talent and academic awards, ultimately receiving the Monsignor Teurlings award, the highest the school gives, recognizing not only scholarly performance but the recipient's embodiment of the school's values.
From an early age Daniel proved to be a Renaissance Man, excelling in science, math, music and writing, and at 17 attended the University of Florida pre-collegiate science program. Daniel proceeded to Louisiana State University from which he received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering, receiving several scholarships and awards along the way. He was named a fellow at Tulane University in its BioInnovation Engineering Program, receiving a Master of Science.
Daniel's love of science steered him to tutoring students and teaching physics, chemistry, and math at several private high schools in New Orleans and Washington D.C.
Always motivated to be an independent learner, along the way he taught himself computer engineering and was then awarded internships in industry sponsored data engineering and cyber security programs. He was excited to be appointed a year ago to his dream job as a security engineer in the crypto-currency industry.
Throughout his life, Daniel yearned for adventure and ended up traveling the world. Days after graduating college he set off on a two-month cross country trip, posting a humorous travel blog as he went. (He deleted the blog long ago, probably not wanting the musings of his 22 year old self, however insightful, available to the world wide web.) Daniel drove from Louisiana to California to Canada where he experienced his first nude beach. The Prius was quite lived-in that summer.
College allowed his first visit to Europe, where he returned a few years later for a lengthy stay with Tom and Dane. For most of 2022, his remote work allowed him to live in Argentina, Amsterdam, Berlin, Poland, and Madrid. He said that his time in Amsterdam was the best time of his life - at a conference where he finally got to meet his work colleagues in person.
So many people have enjoyed Daniel's musical talent, singing and playing musical instruments: piano, guitar, ukelele, spoons, among others. Consistent with his aptitude in math, Daniel relished applying musical theory. His expertise was all self-taught, after just a few years of piano lessons as a child. His performance lives on through his many fun internet performances - the "Corona Carols" - during the pandemic.
Since Daniel did nothing halfway, his passions throughout the past decade are too lengthy to describe in detail --cooking, hiking and climbing, biking, yoga, open mic and jam sessions, and Latin dance (especially Tango - which drew him to Buenos Aires). For each of these interests he became part of a community of friends, which meant the world to him.
For thirty years, Bonnie, Nick, Ashley, Andrew, Kay and Dan, his grandparents, many cousins, aunts and uncles --- and all of those so many friends he made --- enjoyed Daniel's kind heart and fun nature - a joy to have experienced and which will be so greatly missed.
Just over four months ago, Daniel began to experience the onset of a mental illness which quickly began to invade his loving, trusting and fun heart. He returned home to battle feelings that he knew in his heart to be untrue and that were inconsistent with all facts he knew. He was treated in Lafayette and New Orleans, and each day resolved to courageously fight his nightmare.
This month, a major depressive episode caused the initial diagnosis of delusional disorder to be escalated to schizoaffective disorder, another rare diagnosis - of unknown cause and attributable to nothing Daniel did or did not do. On January 25, 2023, Daniel's nightmare ended.
He is survived by his parents; brother, Nick Rees (Ashley); sister, Bonnie Rees; nephew, Andrew Rees; maternal grandmother, Jeannine Sibille; uncles, Joseph Rees (Lan Dai), Robbie Rees (Sally), John Rees (Linda), Stephen Rees, Charlie Rees, Tom Rees (Dane) and Jim Rees (Jeannine); aunts, Kathy Shires (Ed), Peggy Crain (David), Mary Rees, Judy Snow (Bill) and Brenda Piccione (Kirk); and a host of cousins.
He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Grover Rees, Jr. and Patricia Rees; maternal grandfather, James Sibille; and uncle, Ricky Rees.
For most of the past four months, Daniel was at home with his family - all loving and caring for each other every day. He had the chance to bond with his nephew Andrew; the energy of the three-year-old added strength and smiles to Daniel. He let his grandmother cut off lots of his hair, which brought a smile to her. Throughout this time, as he fought, Daniel's loving and kind essence was able to shine. Music, walks, hiking, camping, kayaking, lots of hugs, lots of talks. They will forever be cherished.
As loved ones of someone who suddenly began experiencing a severe mental illness, we were lost -- on a hectic search to find help and answers. We finally came upon Clear Answers to Louisiana Mental Health (CALM), a program through a small Tulane psychiatric clinic. Their mission is clearly stated in this must-read message from the founder: http://calmnola.org/about/
Donations to CALM in memory of Daniel can be made through Tulane's online donation link below, which is already set to go to this program. You need to select the drop down for "My Gift is a Tribute", the select "In Memory Of", and add the name Daniel James Rees
You can also honor Daniel by taking a dance lesson or singing a song out loud to somebody - no matter how silly you feel.
Pellerin Funeral Home (337-332-2111) is in charge of arrangements.
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