Daniel “Big Dan” Edward Darnstaedt Sr. of Mooresville, N.C., and formerly of Westbrook, Conn., passed away unexpectedly at age 57, on December 20, 2023.

Big Dan was working as a foreman for James River Equipment in Charlotte, N.C., when he passed away. He loved his job and the work family he had acquired there over the last eight-plus years.

Prior to moving to North Carolina from Connecticut in 2015, Dan worked for Bell Power Systems. He enjoyed all of his John Deere education and felt he could never know enough about them.

Big Dan was always passionate about racing. He raced for many years at Waterford Speedbowl, where he and his team helped build a division and went on to win a multitude of races. His team motto of “get by with a little help from your friends” became a way of life. Big Dan was well respected by many fans, fellow racers and friends at the “Bowl.”

In 2005, Big Dan and his family joined Silver City Quarter Midget Club, where he loved nothing more than watching his kids, Dan Jr. and Raegan, as well as ALL of the other kids, on the track. It was never about the politics of racing or the competition; his focus was always about the kids making memories that would last forever. He worked on everyone’s car; he helped out anyone he could. Big Dan loved playing football in the infield after the races were over. He listened to stories the kids told and they listened to his stories about his racing. To know him was to love him, and to love him was to be loved by him.

Big Dan touched so many lives with his kindness, support and his “Big” heart. He had an infectious smile and laugh and was truly “One of the Good Guys.”

Big Dan was preceded in death by his parents, Judith Marion Carter (Parsons) and David Spencer Darnstaedt; and his nephew, William Miller.

Big Dan is survived by his wife, his soulmate, and best friend, Lori Darnstaedt (Miller); son, Daniel Darnstaedt II (Alexandria); granddaughters, Valerie and Terra Darnstaedt; daughter, Raegan Olmsted (Andrew Foreman); brother, William Darnstaedt (Tina); nieces, Rebecca Miller Duval (Andy); great nephew, AJ Duval; niece, Jessica Darnstaedt;  brother, Robert Carter (Mindy); nieces, Megan and Carry Carter; sister-in-law, Leanne Gnyp (Mark); nephews, Matthew Dahlmeyer and Frank Dahlmeyer (Valerie); great niece, Faye Dahlmeyer; great nephew, Miles Dahlmeyer); and many more loving family and friends who quickly became family.

Visitation will be held for friends and family on Thursday, December 28, at Cavin-Cook Funeral home in Mooresville from 5 to 7 p.m. The family will also be holding a celebration of life for friends and family in Connecticut at a later date with details to follow.

In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to a charity of your choice in honor of Big Dan.

Cavin-Cook Funeral Home & Crematory, Mooresville, is serving the Darnstaedt family. Condolences may be made to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.