About Robert Daniel
Robert Williams Daniel, Jr. (March 17, 1936 – February 4, 2012) was a Virginia farmer, businessman, teacher, and politician who served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. He was first elected in 1972 and served until 1983.
Daniel was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was the son of Robert Williams Daniel, a bank executive who survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, and later served in the Senate of Virginia and his third wife Charlotte Randolph Christian (née Bemiss).
He was a descendant of Peter V. Daniel, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and, Edmund Randolph, who was the seventh Governor of Virginia, the first Attorney General of the United States and Secretary of State.
He graduated from the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts and Woodberry Forest School, in Woodberry Forest, Virginia. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi. He then received a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University.
Daniel worked for a time as a financial analyst, later teaching Economics at the University of Richmond. He served in the United States Army and Central Intelligence Agency from 1964 to 1968 when he returned home to take over the management of Brandon Plantation after the death of his mother.
Daniel had grown up as a Conservative Democrat like his father, but became a Republican sometime in the 1960s when many Southern Democrats left the Democratic Party. In 1972, Daniel who was then serving on the Prince George County Planning Commission ran for the open seat in Virginia's 4th congressional district after a redistricting controversy and the retirement of longtime incumbent Watkins Abbitt. He won in the 5-candidate general election, becoming the first Republican to represent this district since the end of the Reconstruction Era.
While in Congress, Daniel was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and various subcommittees. He was defeated in his bid for a sixth term by Norman Sisisky in 1982. He served as deputy assistant to Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, from 1984 to 1986; and director of intelligence for the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993. He was a recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.
He was the owner and operator of Brandon Plantation, in Prince George, Virginia, a U.S. National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest continuous agricultural operations in the United States.
Daniel was married twice. He had three children with his first wife, Sally (born Sally Lewis Chase).
Daniel died of a heart attack at his Jupiter Island, Florida vacation home on February 4, 2012 and was buried with military honors at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. He was survived by his second wife, Linda, and his two daughters.