In memoriam Daniel Barclay
March 18, 1985 - April 19, 2007
|Text and videos of the gathering in celebration of Daniel's life (memorial service)||Photos and writings||Donate to memorial fund|
|Order DVDs and CD of video of memorial services and website files||Newspaper stories||Read and post memories of Dan|
In the spring of 2007, Dan had received his bachelor's
degree in economics and had just accepted a
job with a large Boston financial advising firm. He was only days away
from completing his master's thesis in political science, and was looking
forward to competing in the National APDA debate tournament that coming
weekend. He told a friend that he planned an
"adventure" and bought an inflatable boat at Walmart. Daniel
was last heard from Sunday night April 8, 2007, when he chatted with his grandma on
the phone, telling her about the presentation he was going to make the following
night in his Toy Design class. She said he sounded happy and upbeat, and
said he would see her at graduation in a few weeks. He chatted on AIM with
friends, his father and his sister, sent and received a few emails, read some
political blogs, visited a few debate websites, and then
stopped using his computer
just before midnight, so it entered hibernation.
Monday night he didn't show up in his toy class and did not respond to emails or AIM. His friends assumed he was holed up in a library someplace working hard on his thesis, so they didn't worry too much. However, by Thursday night when he still hadn't communicated with anyone, his friends reported him missing to MIT Police and to his parents. The police started an investigation and his mother flew from their home in the San Francisco area to Boston to help with the search. After 11 days, his body was found in the surf off a Cape Cod beach, along with a battered piece of his boat and a bailing bucket. The medical examiner reported that he drowned.
At summer Boy Scout camps, Dan learned to handle small boats on a small, placid lake, but he had no experience of the power of a large river, the tides, or the North Atlantic. Daniel was re-enacting the opening scene of his novel, in which his intrepid American Revolutionary War-era hero takes his one-man boat into Boston's protected Inner Harbor and single-handedly attacks and sinks a British warship. He was going to hang a "fake bomb" sign on the USS Constitution, a Revolutionary War-era warship, moored in Boston's Inner Harbor, to publicize his novel, but his boat got caught by the wind and current and he was swept out to sea. The little boat couldn't handle the waves and swells of the open ocean, and it capsized.
Dan's thesis for his masters degree was a mathematical model for predicting the outcomes of US elections. The model predicted a Democratic Party victory in the 2008 presidential election. He used this model to place on-line bets on elections. He made thousands betting on the 2004 presidential election, some of which he used in 2006 to purchase futures in Hillary Clinton for President. Those futures quadrupled by the time of Dan's death. Dan's family has since sold those futures to pay for grief counseling for Dan's friends.
We have set up a memorial endowment for the MIT debate team, and have installed a memorial bench at Menlo-Atherton High School, where he and his friends used to stand at lunch every day. Dan is survived by his parents, Sue Kayton and Michael Barclay, his sister Rachel Barclay, and three grandparents - Paula Kayton, Myron Kayton, and Eleanor Barclay.
A gathering in celebration of Dan's life was held at Menlo-Atherton High School on Saturday June 2, 2007 in the San Francisco area, and a memorial service was held at MIT in April 2007. You can order DVDs with videos of both events, and a CD containing all the files on this website. The transcribed text, videos and photos from the June celebration are available online, and so are the streaming video of the 30-minute MIT memorial service. If you don't already have RealPlayer installed on your computer, you will need to install the latest version of RealPlayer to view the MIT streaming video.
It is a tradition in
our family for new babies to be named for the recently departed. In
November 2008, a newborn cousin was named Danielle in his memory.
You can read and share photos and memories of Dan by posting them here.
There were many sides to Dan - check out some of the links below
Videos, photos and text from memorial service on June 2, 2007
For those with access to Facebook, there is a group In Remembrance of Daniel Barclay.
Video of Dan's highlights on the TV show Quiz Kids. You will need the free software RealPlayer to see this 3-minute video. The show dedicated its 2007-8 season to Dan - see the dedication graphic.
Some of the debate cases he ran - some serious, some very off-the-wall
Video of a rap presented to the UBC debate team thanking them for a well-run tournament
Stata Center hack sign #1 (now part of the permanent collection of the MIT Museum)
Stata Center hack sign #2 (Posted after sign #1 was removed)
Stata Center hack sign #3 (as of April 18, 2007, this sign was still posted in the Stata Center)
His unpublished action novel Agent of Freedom in PDF format. Subject to copyright protection but may be read and enjoyed for personal, noncommercial use without restriction. Or download the Word version.
Kumquat: A Play in Five Acts. Unfinished parody of Shakespeare, co-written with his sister Rachel. Starring Mustachio, Imbroglio, Portfolio, Hernia, and the lovely Anemia.
Fractured Fairy Tale written at an unknown date, probably while in high school.
Email received May 2008 from researcher referencing the Field Act report
Diary of trip to Spain in 1999
The Taming of the Shoe - written in 1995, Daniel's first send-up on Shakespeare
The Brave Fish, one of Dan's first stories, written in third grade, for an assignment explaining why a constellation is named for a person or an animal.
My Struggle - college application essay
The Week from Hell, an essay by the father of one of Dan's friends about Dan's death
His almost-finished thesis, a math model for predicting the outcomes of US presidential elections. Chapter 2, Chapter 3 with references. He was working on the introduction and Chapter one when he died.
Tongue-in-cheek Powerpoint presentation given to his thesis design class explaining his proposed thesis topic.
Newspaper articles - some are more accurate than others, so take them all with the proverbial grain of salt.
San Francisco Chronicle April 24, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle "Quiz Whiz Leaves No Gap Unturned" archived story from March 13, 2003