December 13, 1969 ~ June 27, 2020

Born in: Asheville, NC
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Daniel Summerlin, 50, left this world unexpectedly on June 27th. He will be remembered for his unwavering loyalty, his kind and gentle heart, and his irreverent sense of humor.

Daniel lived life to its fullest. His true sanctuary was the outdoors surrounding his hometown of Asheville and he thrived on the trails, rivers and peaks of the Western NC region. He was a die-hard Tar Heel, despite their being a recent source of disappointment to him. He loved his animals and they adored him. On any given night, there would be four people and four animals in the bed, snuggled together.

He graduated from Asheville High School in 1988. After setting earth shattering numbers on college entrance exams he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He spent his career pursuing success in the field of commercial real estate and recently started his own company, The Summerlin Property Group. His passion for community was evident in his involvement on the board of PivotPoint WNC, which provides safe, supportive, and empowering mindfulness-centered therapeutic wilderness experiences. He also maintained membership for many years in the Brigade of Guards, ultimately serving as Chief-of-Staff.

His greatest passion, though, was his family. Some people only have one great love in their lives. Daniel was fortunate to have had three. His wife, Lizzy, of 17 years, and his two girls Abby and Davies, affectionately referred to as “Abbamuffin” and “D-Dog.” Although Daniel was a humble man, he would proudly boast about his daughters’ warm hearts, adventurous spirits and sweet natures. Clearly the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Daniel was an accomplished athlete, competing in countless trail races including conquering the Shut-In Ridge Race ten times, the Squamish 50 in Canada, and the local Hellbender 100. What makes his athletic achievements even more amazing was his remarkable diet which included Sour Patch Kids, Tachos from the Universal Joint, and anything “new and improved.” Before attending any function with Lizzy, he needed to find out exactly what food would be served so he could eat prior to going if need be. He was a true connoisseur of gastronomical delights.

Daniel was an avid skier for his entire life and shared this love by teaching his girls how to be accomplished skiers as well. He loved going on trips with his friends and family and once succeeded in filming himself skiing for a solid 3 minutes, all the while thinking he was videoing his girls.

Lizzy and Daniel shared a weird fascination with the weather and enjoyed discussing the radar together and what the forecast might hold. They would call each other multiple times per day, sometimes multiple times per hour, for any or no reason. At the end of every phone call, no matter how brief, they would say, “I love you.”

Daniel spent every day dedicated to all of his girls. He is the father we all would want to have or hope to be. He got to spend his last week at the beach surrounded by people who loved him while surfing, paddle boarding, eating lasagna and hugging his family. He has touched the lives of countless people and his memory will be cherished by everyone who had the good fortune to have had Daniel in their lives.

In addition to his wife and daughters, Abby (15) and Davies (13), he is survived by his mother and father, Dr. Harry and Joyce Summerlin, his sister and brother-in-law, Dr. Doug and Rebecca Huntley, father and mother-in-law, Dr. Cecil and Susan Durham, brother and sister-in-law Drs. Will Durham and Anna Bartow and his nieces and nephews (Anna, Katie, and Ben Huntley, Eloise and Sam Durham) who will forever be blessed by their interactions with “Uncle D”. He is also survived by innumerous friends and extended family.

A service will be held at 10:30 am Friday morning, July 3 at Claxton Farm in Weaverville, NC. Please bring a mask and a camp chair if you want. Please dress comfortably. Daniel was not a huge fan of formality and stuffiness and would be upset if you felt you must wear a suit. A private interment will be held at a later date at Riverside Cemetery. The Summerlin girls have created a long list of their dad’s favorite places and are looking forward to many more adventures to spread his spirit into the world.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made in honor of Daniel Davies Summerlin, to PIVOTPoint WNC to the attention of Matt Nannis, 17 North Pershing Road, Asheville, NC. 28805, or donate at

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family.


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


Celebration of Life: July 3, 2020 10:30 am

Claxton Farm
288 Upper Flat Creek Road
Weaverville, NC 28787


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  1. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Daniel. My heart and prayers go out to both families and all his friends. Lizzy, May god encircle you all with love, light, comfort, and peace.

  2. Lizzie- you and your daughters have been in my prayers for the last several days. I’ve thought of you so much! You have a wonderful support group to lean on while your mourn Daniel and they will hold you up!
    I haven’t seen Daniel in many years but I remember him for his sense of humor and kindness…. and visits to Chapel Hill when he lived with Eric.
    He will be deeply missed by many!
    May all the happy memories comfort you during this sorrowful time.
    Kristen (Johnson) Newbern

  3. After going to high school and living with Daniel in college, I got to know him pretty well so I can’t believe I’m signing his funeral Guestbook. We all loved him so much. It will go down as one of my biggest regrets that I took our friendship for granted and did not see him much lately. One always assumes there will be a tomorrow. He was an incredible friend and confidante and even though our get-togethers were rare, we always picked up right where we left off. We never missed a beat. I miss him terribly already. The world has a little less light since he passed. Dear Summerlins, I am at your disposal for anything you need. Lizzy has my digits.

  4. Lizzy, Bill & I are so sorry for your and the girls’ loss. There can be no more difficult time than the sudden loss of a loving husband and father. Please know you and the girls and both Summerlin and Durham families are in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. Lizzy, Bob and I have been thinking and praying for Daniel along with you, your girls and your family this past week. Bob said he had talked with Daniel several weeks ago and knew he was excited to go to the beach and be with his family and friends. What a blessing for you all to have this wonderful time to spend together. Bob told me he and Daniel also had numerous conversations about running ,as they had that in common, and shared some good stories.
    Daniel was so approachable with such a gentle demeanor and warm smile that shined through his eyes! Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you and your family as you go through the grieving process.
    Bob and Carol Roberts

  6. Dear Lizzy, I am so sorry for your incredible loss. My prayers go up for you and your daughters and your extended families. Please know that you all are in my thoughts daily.
    Jeremiah 29:11

  7. I knew Daniel through real estate. He was always so kind, personable and respectful to me and my clients and that always meant a lot to me. I will miss our conversations and miss seeing him around.

  8. Lizzy and family,
    My heart goes out to you my childhood friend, this loss is incomprehensible. You will be held close in the hearts of your community in Asheville and the world over.

  9. Dearest Lizzie,
    Our heart goes out to you and the girls. I loved your beautiful words you wrote about Daniel. I ran into Daniel one evening on the mountain (while he was on a run) right after a mail truck ran off into a ditch. He stayed until a random man in a pickup truck hauled it out. I always enjoyed Daniel’s humor and warmth. Sending you a big embrace and praying for your strength and courage. OX Honor & John

  10. Was so saddened by this news. Two vivid characteristics I have of Daniel from growing up–he was always willing to be by your side and a great sense of humor. Adventurous and fun, just a great guy to be around. I had fallen out of touch with Daniel in recent years, but it sounds like from the posted comments that he maintained these same great characteristics and many others also related strongly to them. I am thankful for the great, strong memories I have of Daniel. He touched so may people positively.

  11. Daniel was a good friend. This is a simple statement but encompasses a universe of feeling. I feel stunned, writing these few words, but I want his family to know how much he positively impacted those he met. A genuinely good man, I can make no sense of this. I love you, Daniel. I’m so sorry.

  12. Dear Lizzy,

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. I am so sorry to hear this and I have nothing but the best memories of Daniel.


    Ted Sweeney

  13. The first time i met Daniel was the summer between our fifth and sixth grade years. Our parents took us to Sliding Rock and B.A. to make the transition to SG/GH easier, by knowing another face. Even then, while it could have been incredibly awkward (because I was), I remember thinking this is a nice guy. I felt that way all the way through AHS and UNC, when we would bump into each other on occasion. I love that Daniel pursued his outdoorsy passions, and evidently passed those along to his beautiful girls. My prayers are with your family.

  14. Dearest Lizzie,
    I am so sorry for your loss of a great father, husband and friend. I met Daniel through Lee in high school and remember his kind words and great smile.
    Sending hugs and prayers during this difficult time.


  15. Lizzy ~ I am so deeply saddened by Daniel’s passing. While he and I intersected in the world of business, I considered him a dear friend and counted on his wisdom, generosity and solid advice so often. We were just texting about business a couple of weeks ago. What I remember most — besides lots of good and patient advice — is his deep and abiding love of you and the girls. Often, we scheduled site tours or meetings so that we could get our kids to school or pick them up for this or that and squeeze the business in where it fit around family. I know how deeply he loved and found joy in his life with each of you — and it made him all the more admirable and better as a friend and colleague. Much and peace and love to you and Abby and Davies. When things settle, we’ll be here for you if there is anything we can do to lift you up. ~ Elizabeth

  16. Running a 100 mile race like Hellbender is just like life. There’s a start and a finish line. What we do in between the two leaves us with impactful and meaningful memories. Thank you Daniel for some wonderful memories! I’ll see you some day at the finish line. This time, you hand me the buckle and embrace me!

  17. Very sad to hear of Daniels passing. He was a dear friend of mine growing up. Living two houses away I can remember the countless times of playing in the yard together. He was a class act, and someone I looked up to a lot. I will miss you friend, and I never forget your kind spirit. My deepest condolences to your family.

  18. We all grew up with Daniel… so many fond memories. School, Skiing, hanging out, for me- always being near Daniel in alphabetical order of last names, we always sat close or were in the same group:) ..I am so sad for this loss and your family Lizzy.. my heart goes out to you all.

  19. Daniel was such a good person and a gentle soul. Lizzy… my heart goes out to you and your girls. Sending you all huge hugs and a lot of love.

  20. Lizzy,
    Tim and I are deeply saddened by the loss you and your girls have encountered. May the love and support of family and friends help get you through the days ahead. May you and your girls also be comforted by all of the many wonderful memories you have of Daniel.
    Sending lots of love and continued prayers of strength, comfort, and peace. 💕

  21. I am so saddened to hear about Daniel. I met Daniel through the golf shop at BFCC. He did not come there often but the times he did I really liked him. He was so kind and nice and made you feel good to be around him. I have known Lizzy and Will and Spooky and Sue forever. A wonderful family. My deepest sympathy to all the familys. God has embraced Daniel with open arms. My prayers are with all of you.

  22. Lizzy- I attended school with Daniel at SGGH and we became closer friends in high school. I wanted to express how very sorry I am for your loss. My mother passed in a similar fashion when I was 15yrs old and Daniel was always so kind and supportive.
    Prayers for comfort and peace for you and your girls during this difficult time. ❤️

  23. Dear Lizzy and family,
    Please accept my deepest condolences at this most sad time..
    What a tragic loss for all of you. The world will be a sadder place without this wonderful father, husband and human being.
    This tribute here expressed such an amazing person.
    Debra Simons (McGhee)

  24. Lizzie and Family,
    We are so saddened by your heartbreaking loss. The world was a better place because of Daniel. May God hold you and your family in his loving hands and guide you through your grief.

  25. I did not know Daniel for a long period of time but enjoyed the brief time that I knew him. I am especially grateful for the support that he provided Matt as Matt launched PIVOTPoint and will be eternally thankful to him and you his extended family. My heart breaks for you all; however, knowing that he was a friend of Matt’s makes me smile.

  26. I met Daniel when I was around 12 years old, through my best friend Tripp. The three of us spent a lot of time together backpacking with Boy Scout Troop 8, and we all went to Europe on a school trip when we were 13. Daniel was a wonderful friend and growing-up companion. His sharp intelligence and witty, infectious humor brought a lot of happiness to life. I lost touch with him as we both drifted out into the world, but I was happy to discover that, many years later, he and his family had moved into my neighborhood. I used to bump into him at random and we would talk surfing and mountain biking. He never lost his sense of wonder and engagement with life, and every minute spent hanging out with him was refreshing. We lost him way too soon, but the effect he had on my life and the lives of others cannot be overstated. I will, along with so many others, miss him keenly, but I like to think that all of us are carrying a little bit of Daniel around with us wherever we go. Love to his parents and sister, his wife and kids, and everyone who was lucky enough to spend time with him.

  27. Dear Lizzy. What a wonderful life’s partner Daniel must have been during your precious time together. We cannot comprehend your unimaginable loss but we hold you and your family in our thoughts.

  28. My condolences to the Summerlin family. I was so saddened to hear of Daniel’s untimely passing. He was a good man and I will miss him around the rooms and just knowing he was there. Take gentle care of yourselves and each other.

  29. Lizzy,
    My heart hurts for you and your precious girls. Lifting you up in prayer for strength and healing.

  30. Daniel was a great guy. Thoughtful, intelligent, sincere, funny and accomplished. Been humming that song – the one Daniel joked Elton John wrote for him – over the past day or so, because our Daniel’s now another star, in the face of the sky.

  31. Our sincere condolences for the Summerlin and Durham families, Lizzy and the girls. I babysat Daniel and Rebecca when they were little – Daniel was a feisty little fellow. We are so sorry for your loss. May you all find peace.
    Betty, Perri, Molly, and Jeff Morrison

  32. We are saddened to learn about the tragic loss of a member of our running community and a long-time Shut-In Ridge Trail Run supporter and finisher (x10). Jus’ Running sends our most sincere condolences.

  33. Having gone to school together from 6th grade through college, I have countless wonderful memories of Daniel and our friendship. I am fortunate to have known his kindness, humor, and authenticity. I am so saddened for your loss, Lizzy and family. I pray that God will continue to hold you in His love and peace during this season of unimaginable grief.

  34. So sorry to hear of Daniel’s passing. Though I did not know him personally, he led an impressive life with many accomplishments; and I’m sure he was a role model for many. To Doc, Joyce, and the family, I extend my sincere condolences during this most difficult time.

  35. Lizzie, I’m so very sorry for your loss and pray for you and the girls to find peace in this very difficult time.
    Jennifer Witt

  36. Lizzy, there are no words to express my profound sadness for you and the girls. My heart is broken for you. May time bring you peace and may memories bring you comfort. Sending many hugs…

    Tara Off

  37. Lizzie,
    I have been thinking of you and your girls for the past few days. I am so sorry for your loss. I know Daniel was a wonderful husband and father, and I know you will miss him.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  38. Daniel and I shared a log cabin with Carl and my 2 dogs after I finished undergrad. So many dogs. So many fun memories staying up late watching the Olympics. Our friendship was platonic, but I knew he would make an amazing husband and father to some truly lucky people.

  39. So sorry to hear about Daniel. Dawn and I send our love and prayers to Lizzy and all of the family.

  40. Dr. and Mrs. Summerlin, Thank you for raising and giving the world such a wonderful human being. He was a dear friend lost much too soon. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.


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