Wyatt Young (Mack) McDaniel, III, age 77, of Spartanburg, SC passed away on May 4, 2023, following an automobile accident.
Born on June 30,1945 in Greenville, SC, he was the elder son of
Alucia Crowell McDaniel and Wyatt Y. McDaniel, Jr., both deceased. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Sandra Marie McDaniel (nee Koedyker), his son Gardner Patrick (Maria) and grandson Avery, his son Gavin Young (Laura) and grandchildren Nathan, Kaitlin and Luke, his brother Wayne Crowell McDaniel, niece Rachel and Nephew Josh.
Beginning life and childhood in the former office of Dr. Wyatt Y. McDaniel, Sr., grandson Wyatt Young, III, along with his parents and brother Wayne, occupied the “Little Red Brick House” on the hill in Taylors, SC, next to the McDaniel Homeplace. Wyatt (Mack} attended Taylors Elementary and High School through the 9th grade. However, when the new Wade Hampton HS opened in Greenville, Wyatt became a member of its first 10th grade class.
As a Senior at WHHS, Wyatt credited many of his excellent teachers, but he most credited his Psychology teacher and Counselor, Clelia Hendrix, with saving his life and setting him on his life’s Path. He was so grateful to her that Gardner has the same name as her husband. Wyatt and Clelia, his mentor, were friends until her death just a few short years ago.
He was a graduate of Wade Hampton High School, (1963), Erskine College (BA 1967) and Converse College (Master of Arts in Teaching) followed by many varied postgraduate courses.
He joined the Air Force during the Vietnam War and taught the ASN navigation computer to servicemen at Keesler AFB. His AF Flight aided in the rescue and recovery operations in New Orleans after category 5 Hurricane Camille in 1969.
His teaching career spanned nearly 30 years and included varied classes from chemistry and mathematics to directing the school chorus and being Junior Class sponsor (!) at Sacred Heart Catholic School (Biloxi, MS); Earth Science teacher at League Middle School (Greenville SC) (1967-1977); Chemistry/Physics at Westside High School (Anderson SC:1977-78); Household, Honors and Odyssey Chemistry as well as the Summer Science Research Program (1978-1996) at Spartanburg (SC) High School.
He was very proud of receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (1 per state each year) from President Reagan (1988). As one of the Founding Fathers and the originator of the name of the SC Science Council (SC2) in 1973, he served as newsletter editor for over 15 years and succeeded through its offices until assuming the Presidency in 1988. As such, he organized the first, and very successful, National Science Teachers Association Regional Convention to ever be held in Charleston, SC.
During his Erskine College days he was a Choraleers’ baritone and member of the Euphemian Literary Society for which he served as secretary. His 120-wpm typing speed (self-taught) earned him the nickname “IBM” for typing uncountable Classmates’ term papers! He was quite the grammarian as well, which served him (and his classmates!) excellently over those years!
After his teaching career, he transitioned to IT programming in the 4D language for Cryovac (1996-2001), then Graphic Designer for Spartanburg Herald Journal, and finally Computer database programmer and the database maintenance for Canal Insurance Company until his retirement.
Throughout his long and varied career, Wyatt (affectionately known as “Mack”) had many loves, including rewiring and electrically upgrading three houses and aiding friends in anything needed electrically. He loved passing that expertise on to his family and friends. He enjoyed using PhotoShop to design a special birthday e-card for a friend and making sure it arrived on the exact date! Mack was ready to help any friend in need, never expecting or wanting any compensation other than completion of a job well done and satisfaction all around. He was tireless in its accomplishment and very proud of the outcome!
A pianist with a natural gift and a reach of an octave and a fifth, he loved playing! As a teen he accompanied the church choir on both piano and organ. When he received Sandra’s birthday gift of a piano and “fake books” with only the melody line and guitar chords, it required Mack to interpret them for the piano! He spent many, many happy hours flipping through the hundreds of songs and playing for Sandra. From hymns to Broadway show tunes or songs from the early 20th century, she whistled the melodies, most of which she knew, or sang the along!
Wyatt was a great storyteller! He is most remembered by many of his students and fellow teachers for his yearly rendition of the “Warm Fuzzy Tale!” It became so popular that teachers sent their classes to his classroom each hour to hear it on “Warm Fuzzy Day” and the local bookstore could not keep copies on the shelf! Now two generations have passed on his legacy of “Warm Fuzzies” to their children and grandchildren, and it is believed that, with Mack’s help,“Tim and Maggie” have spread Warm Fuzzies Far and Wide!
A Consummate teacher, he made anything he taught Fun but especially Chemistry and Physics. One of his favorite demonstrations was blowing up soap bubbles filled with HYDROGEN! He gave Life to any subject he taught and inspired many to pursue a scientific career! Many exceeded what they thought was their own potential knowing that he cared so much for their success. He went the extra mile gently guiding and advising any student that asked for special help.
He will be forever missed by his loving wife of 42 years, Sandra, his family, his countless friends and former students, fellow teachers, and his “Y” buddies!
He was an earnest Patriot and was appreciated for displaying American flags on the neighborhood telephone poles on Federal Holidays, especially Veterans Day, Memorial Day and July 4th.
In Lieu of flowers, please contribute to the charity of your choice in Wyatt’s remembrance. Wounded Warriors, Folds of Honor and Tunnel to Towers (T2T.org) were 3 of his favorites.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel (2075 E. Main St., 29307) on June 24, 2023, including Visitation with the family at 11:30am, a Celebration of Life memorial service at 1:00pm and followed by a time to view his life and enjoy fellowship with each other while reflecting and remembering Mack.