John A. Daniels
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Daniels was a son of Arthur and Marie Daniels. He lived as a child in Los Angeles, California. At the age of sixteen, he moved to San Antonio in 1940 to live with a sister in a boarding house, since the location of the downtown Hotel Havana. He graduated in 1942 from Jefferson High School in San Antonio and attended officer candidate school in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II. He attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio and later enrolled in the St. Mary's Law School. In 1947, he married the former Eileen McGee, and the couple had four children. In 1950, he was licensed to practice law. He was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 1955 as a member of the newly formed Good Government League. He was reelected to a second two-year term on the council in 1957 but resigned the next year to concentrate on his legal practice.
In 1962, 1964, and 1966, he was elected chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party. His youngest son, Tom Daniels, noted that his father never lost an election in his five times on the ballot. As county Democrat chairman, he became friends with the major political powers in the state, including U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor John Connally, and United States Senator Ralph William Yarborough, the long-time leader of Texas Democrat liberals. He helped to arrange President John F. Kennedy's last speech on November 22, 1963, delivered at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. Daniels' former city council colleague, Henry B. Gonzalez, was later a pioneer Hispanic state senator and then a long-term member of the United States House of Representatives for whom the San Antonio Civic Center is named. Daniels was general counsel and vice president for HemisFair '68, the San Antonio World's Fair, a project for which Gonzalez helped to secure federal funding. The HemisFair tower still looms over the downtown. He often attended bill signings with Gonzalez at the White House or the LBJ Ranch in Gillespie County.
Daniels routinely worked on Saturdays as if it were a weekday. He died at the age of ninety-two from injuries sustained in a fall on November 21, 2015. Henry Gonzalez's son, former U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez, another Texas Hispanic Democrat, said that Daniels will be best remember for having "made political careers possible for others."
- John A. "Jack" Daniels. legacy.com. Retrieved on December 30, 2015.
- David Hendricks, "John A. Daniels: Lawyer became political leader in '50s, '60s". San Antonio Express-News, November 29, 2015, pp. 5, 9