Secret Service agent known as family man
Jogging with the vice president of the United States was just part of the job for Dan Mayer.
As a Secret Service agent, he had the responsibility during the Reagan administration of protecting Vice President George Bush.
‘My father really liked Mr. Bush and Mr. Bush liked my dad,’ said Michael Mayer. ‘Dad would often go jogging with Mr. Bush. Dad was pleased that his son, George W., won the (2000 presidential) election. Dad highly regarded the Bush family and thought that George W. Bush was the right man.’
Daniel E. Mayer, a resident of McCandless and director of corporate security for USX, died from heart-related problems on Jan. 1, 2001, in Allegheny General Hospital, North Side. He was 58.
Michael Mayer said his father was an ethical man who had high morals and was dedicated to preserving law and order and protecting those who governed the country.
Daniel Mayer was with the Secret Service for 26 years, including 12 as director of the Pittsburgh field office. In 1996, he joined USX and headed corporate security for its facilities, as well as those of Marathon Oil.
Dan Sandman, general counsel for USX, praised Mr. Mayer’s professional expertise and the easy way he conducted his duties.
‘Dan was a man on the go. He traveled to USX and Marathon facilities throughout the world. Dan also had a fine relationship with the men and women in the field offices. He considered himself an in-house resource, a man who not only understood the physical security required, but could investigate fraud. Dan worked closely with the corporation’s audit division.
‘We also knew Dan as a terrific family man. He loved talking about his wife and children, and although we hadn’t met them, we all felt we knew them from his conversations.’
Born and raised in Albany, N.Y., Dan Mayer was one of four children in the family of Paul J. and Catherine Hickey Mayer. His father was a respected minor league baseball player and an employee of General Electric. Paul J. Mayer died in 1983.
An accomplished athlete, Dan Mayer played varsity football for Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School in Albany. During his high school years, he held a number of odd jobs that included working in a pharmacy and delivering flowers.
‘My brother lifted weights and was an excellent swimmer,’ recalled Jack Mayer. ‘He was a lifeguard at the YMCA camp and at Little’s Lake around Albany. He was also a counselor at Camp Tekawitha during the summer.’
In 1960, following graduation from high school, Dan Mayer entered the seminary and planned to become a diocesan priest. He spent the first two years at Mater Christi Seminary in Albany and the next two at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.
When Mr. Mayer decided not to enter the priesthood, he returned to Albany, where he attended Siena College in nearby Loudanville and in 1965 received a degree in social science.
After college, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to Japan as a member of the Intelligence Corps. His brother, Tom, recalled that while stationed in Japan, Dan Mayer earned a black belt in karate, and while playing golf he shot a hole in one. ‘That was his first and last hole in one,’ Tom Mayer said.
Following his discharge from the Army, Dan Mayer joined the Secret Service. In 1972, while assigned to protect Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota as he was running for president on the Democratic ticket, he met Beth Atkinson, a young United Airline stewardess from Cleveland.
‘Mom and Dad were on the same plane at the time,’ Michael Mayer said. ‘Dad found out that Mom was also stationed in Washington, D.C. They began to date and were married in 1975.’
Mr. Mayer is survived by his wife, Beth Atkinson Mayer; son Michael C. Mayer of Erie, and daughters Katie, Emily and Molly Mayer, all of McCandless.
He is also survived by his mother, Catherine Hickey Mayer of Albany, N.Y., a sister, Sister Paula Mayer of Holbrook, Mass., and brothers Jack Mayer of Albany and Tom Mayer of Schenectady, N.Y.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. today at St. Alexis Church, Wexford. Interment will follow in North Side Catholic Cemetery, Ross Township. Arrangements are by the Simons Funeral Home, 7720 Perry Highway, Ross Township.