Dan was born on July 8, 1956, in Oxnard, Calif., to Mitch (Mildred) and Bill Appenzeller. He married the love of his life, Crista Munro, on Oct. 5, 1996. One of his biggest joys in life was their son, Elias Appenzeller, 23, of Eugene, Ore.
Dan was the kind of person who could pick up any instrument and play it well, but his passion was the guitar. Not many people knew what a great musician and songwriter Dan was because he didn’t often play publicly. Those who were fortunate enough to hear him perform can attest to the depth of his hidden gift. He was an avid surfer during his time in California, then found a passion for fishing, snowboarding, hiking and camping after moving to Colorado in 1991. He also collected coins and was becoming quite an accomplished crossword puzzler. After moving to Eugene, Ore., in 2011 for health reasons, Dan became a die-hard Oregon Duck fan and loved to host football parties for his friends every Saturday during the season.
In 1996, Dan and Crista put on their first music event, the Four Corners Folk Festival, in Pagosa Springs, Colo. The festival became wildly successful largely due to Dan’s unique talent for discovering and presenting amazing young musicians, along with seasoned professional touring acts. By the time he retired in 2019, their nonprofit organization, FolkWest, was producing two annual festivals and two educational music camps a year.
Dan’s family really couldn’t comprehend just how much of a far-reaching impact he had on the world until after his passing, when a tidal wave of love and memories flooded their phones and social media feeds. Dan had a way of communicating with people that made them feel like they were the most important person in the world. He made it easy to get caught up in his passion for music and all the complexities of the performers on the festival stage when you saw him watching in the audience with his trademark dazzling smile lighting up his face.
Dan is survived by his wife, Crista; son Elias; siblings Rob Appenzeller, Tina McDonald, Katie Appenzeller, Victoria Appenzeller (Quincy), Shelley Appenzeller (Mike Chapman), John Appenzeller and Tom Appenzeller (Ana); and 15 nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family (and Dan) request that you exercise your right to vote in November, as if your life depends on it.
“You forged new relationships and bolstered old ones. We are a festival family, born from the music we listened to and the dirt we danced in. Your vision, creativity and dedication will not be forgotten. You made families. We love you and will miss you dearly.”
The family is planning a virtual memorial and celebration of life.