Charlie with Rocky Bleir's hardware.
Mike Merriweather, Charlie, and Rocky Bleir
La Familia lost a dear member with the recent passing of Charlie Daniels. For those SCM members who did not get the pleasure of meeting Charlie, sadly you were missing out on meeting a true Steeler die-hard.
Born in Amend, Pennsylvania in 1928, the Black and Gold was already in his blood. He joined the Air Force, and proudly served our country for the next 20 years. During his military tenure, he was fortunate enough to receive a duty station in Pittsburgh. It was then that he was able to get Steeler season tickets, and in a perfect sense of timing was there for the real “Birth of Steeler football.” Sitting in the stands during a cold playoff game against the hated Raiders, when Franco Harris came “riding in on his white horse,” saving the Steelers with his Immaculate Reception. That game set the team on its path to greatness, and only solidified Charlie’s passion. Although he truly loved his hometown Pirates and Penguins as well, it was the Steelers that held a special place in his heart.
After retiring from the Air Force, Charlie set up his home in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and of course brought his love for the Steelers with him. Talk with him and you would find out that he lived a full, and rewarding life. Retiring not only from the Air Force, but also from the Berkeley County School Board and Martinsburg Police Department. He might also tell you that he was a proud member of the Martinsburg Elks, Masonic Order No. 889, and the American Legion 202, but he would definitely get a special gleam in his eye when he also mentioned that he was a proud member of the Steel City Mafia. When Boss Scotty Brown started up the West Virginia Steel City Mafia, Charlie was one of the first to sign up. You could see him just about every Sunday with the Mafia rooting on the Steelers, or at one of the many Mafia functions throughout the years that he attended. He was a crowd favorite and seemed to have his own group of paparazzi following him around at the Annual Family Sit Down dinner last year. From the smile on his face you could tell he was loving it, and from the smile on the faces of anybody that talked with him you could see the joy he brought to others.
It wasn’t just his 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren that called him “Dad” or “Pap,” it was most of his Mafia Family as well. With his welcoming demeanor and love for the Family, he easily became the ‘Pap’ not only for the West Virginia Mafia Family, but for any other SCMer that he connected with.
Sundays won’t be the same this season without ‘Pap’ sitting with the rest of the SCM Family cheering on his Steelers. But you can be sure that he’ll be watching from above, proudly wearing his SCM shirt and waving his Terrible Towel.
When the Steelers open the season against the Ravens, the Mafia will be gathering at Family Hangouts throughout the country. They’ll be ready to watch the Steelers begin their quest for Lombardi #7.
But before the teams take the field, before the opening kickoff, before the first hit of the season, I have a feeling the Family will stand up, raise a toast and wave their Terrible Towels in honor of a true Steeler die-hard and loyal Mafia member.
Charlie “Pap” Daniels, you might be gone, but will never be forgotten by your Mafia Family.