Dan Imel turned his love of travel into a second career.
By Michelle E. Shaw
From a job in radio when he was a teen, to one as a news broadcaster in his 20s, then a travel agent in his 30s, Dan Imel lived his dreams.
A move to the Atlanta area in the ’90s was intended to extend his career in the travel business. But instead, he found happiness in retirement.
“He still found ways to keep busy,” said Cindy Cobbs Imel, his wife of 21 years. “And we still traveled, which is something we always had in common.”
Dannison Lee Imel, known by all as Dan, died from complications of pancreatic cancer Sept. 29 at his home in Johns Creek. He was 69. His body was cremated by the Cremation Society of Georgia, and no service is planned.
One of the first things people noticed about Mr. Imel was his distinctive voice, even as a young man, said Bob Lakey, a childhood friend from Indiana.
“As compared to the other teenagers’ voices, his had a unique personality,” Mr. Lakey said. “And so did he.”
Mr. Imel’s voice and personality landed him a job at a local radio station before he was 16, his friend said. He worked in radio through high school and through his first couple of years of college at Ball State University. He left college and joined the Army. While stationed in Germany, he was a disc jockey for the Armed Forces Network, his wife said.
“He even did it for about a year after he came back from the Army, before he went into TV,” Mrs. Imel said.
Mr. Imel’s television career began and ended in Ohio at WBNS-TV. During the ’60s and ’70s, he had a number of roles at the station, but the one that won him two Emmy awards was as host of High Road to Adventure. The show promoted travel in and around the state, said friend and former producer John Mullin.
“Dan could go to a place where he’d never been, where he knew no one, and within an hour or so, Dan became a part of that location,” Mr. Mullin said.
Mr. Imel decided to use his love of travel to fuel the next leg of his career, as the owner of a travel agency. For almost 20 years, Mr. Imel traveled the world and helped others do the same.
“Travel was central to his core,” Mr. Mullin said. “It was a lifelong commitment to seeing new things and going new places and finding new stories.”
When the Imels moved to Georgia, Mr. Imel’s intent was to buy another travel business. But he never found the right fit, his wife said. That was just as well — it gave them more time to travel together, she said.
“When you think about it, not many of us get to do what we want to do all of our lives,” Mr. Mullin said of his friend. “But he did.”
In addition to his wife, Mr. Imel is survived by his mother, Margaret Imel of Anderson, Ind.; and brother, Bill of Bloomfield, Ind.
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