Her friends used to giggle at Tracey Mott in high school when she had to answer their simple question: Who is your best friend?

“They all laughed because I had to say it was my dad,” she said.

Jasper Daniels Jr. was the best kind of father. He spent quality time with his four children, singing and talking, watching sports and getting along.

“People said he was quiet, but he was so friendly,” his daughter said. “He would give you his last dollar.”

Mr. Daniels, 76, died on Friday, May 8, of the coronavirus at the Rosemont Care & Rehabilitation Center in Bryn Mawr. He had been living at the Bryn Mawr Extended Care Center when he fell ill, the family said.

Mr. Daniels played chess and was rarely without his books of crossword puzzles.
Courtesy of the Daniels family
Mr. Daniels played chess and was rarely without his books of crossword puzzles.

Born in Washington, Mr. Daniels and his family moved to Philadelphia when he was a toddler. He went to Overbrook High School and qualified for the Penn Relays in the sprints and hurdles. Years later, Mr. Daniels and Tracey bonded over 10 years of afternoons in Section J at Franklin Field as the relays unfolded below them.

“He took me every year,” she said. “He loved sports, and he loved track. I can still see him racing his grandson down the street.”

Mr. Daniels also enjoying swapping stories with son Daniel and belting out karaoke with son Byron. Anita Baker songs were a family favorite.

Mr. Daniels loved his grandchildren, (left to right) Quelory, Jr., Imari, Shelby, and Steven Jr.
Courtesy of the Daniels family
Mr. Daniels loved his grandchildren, (left to right) Quelory, Jr., Imari, Shelby, and Steven Jr.

He enlisted in the Army in 1964 and fought in Vietnam. He worked for the Franklin Mint for two years after his discharge, then spent the next 30 years at Baldt Anchor & Chain in Chester as a machine operator making chains for ships.

Mr. Daniels played chess and was rarely without his books of crossword puzzles at home. He had lots of friends, and his daughter thought he spoke German (he didn’t) because he liked to say “danke” and “bitte” instead of “thank you” and “you’re welcome.”

Mr. Daniels (right), with his brother Leonard "Boone" Daniels.
Courtesy of the Daniels family
Mr. Daniels (right), with his brother Leonard "Boone" Daniels.

He loved to watch sports of all sorts on TV. “Even golf,” his daughter said. His nickname was “Jack," (as in Jack Daniels) the same as his father.

In addition to his daughter and sons, Mr. Daniels is survived by wife Dorothy, a brother, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and many other relatives. He was predeceased by son Steven.

Services are to be later.

— Gary Miles, gmiles@inquirer.com