Cover photo for Dana Thomas “Dan” Updyke's Obituary
Dana Thomas “Dan” Updyke Profile Photo

Dana Thomas “Dan” Updyke

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Dana Thomas Updyke, affectionately known as Dan, passed away on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at the age of 74. Dan was born in Cortland New York on October 1, 1948, the first child to Lewis Wesley Updyke and Phyllis Jane Barber. He grew up on a farm in McGraw, New York with three sisters: Deborah, Donna, and Deidra.

Dan graduated from McGraw High School, where he had been a member of the football team and put together a band with some friends, along with being an active member of the 4H club.

After graduation, Dan entered the Air Force Reserves in 1966, then continued his service in the Air Force. His first daughter, Melissa, was born at Griffiss Air Force Base in 1970, and shortly after, he was sent to serve in Thailand during the Vietnam War as a Crypto Comms Operator. He served seven months overseas, and after he returned was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. There he served first as an instructor with the Department of Cryptographic Training and second as an instructor at the USAF School of Applied Aerospace Sciences. While stationed at Lackland, his second daughter, Michelle, was born in 1972. Dan left the Air Force in 1973 to pursue a career in electronics and engineering.

In 1976, Dan, along with his family, moved to Springfield, Virginia, where he began his systems engineering career with Atlantic Research Corporation. In 1980, the family moved to Dale City, Virginia, and he remained a Prince William County resident for the remainder of his life.

Dan married Nancy Jo Mayol Ellington in June of 1984 and welcomed three more children of the heart into the family: Tracy, Jessica, and Jon. Shortly after, Dan and Nancy moved to Manassas with four teenagers and enjoyed many good memories and events in the home. Dan enjoyed restoring classic cars, tinkering in the garage, dogs of any kind and loved to tell a good story. And because he was an engineer, he could always be counted on to be able to calculate the static load of any deck you wanted to build.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Donna Hamilton, and daughter Jessica Carter. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Nancy, daughters Melissa Jo Harshman, Tracy Sortzi, and Michelle Ann Tilghman, son Jonathan Ellington, sisters Deidra Neely and Deborah Dickerson, and niece Ashley Casey. He is also survived by granddaughters Sara and Anna Sortzi, Mikayla Harshman, Avenelle Pullen, and Sephora Tilghman; grandsons Zachary Terczak, Devin Carter, and Jonathan Ellington.

A service celebrating Dan’s life will be held at 11AM, Monday, October 17, 2022 at Mountcastle Turch Life Celebration Home in Dale City, Virginia. A private interment will follow at Quantico National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations in Dan’s memory be made to the American Lung Association or Disabled American Veterans.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dana Thomas “Dan” Updyke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Monday, October 17, 2022

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Mountcastle Turch Life Celebration Home

4143 Dale Boulevard, Dale City, VA 22193

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