Class of 1956
The passion of my life since childhood has been to help in the conquest of disease. I also have a creative bent. I followed my creative ventures until I came to a crossroads years later.
After graduation, I worked over the summer as a factory dress designer’s model downtown for a major label.
First year in Liberal Arts at Washington University. Over the summer heading into my second year, I entered national dress design competition. Came in the top twenty-five of 3,000-4,000 competitors which got me into the art school without portfolio. Worked in between classes designing and making decorative handbags for BEBE Originals. Ran out of money for school after the first semester at art school, so went to work fulltime for the handbag company. Some of my designs ended up on the front page of “Women’s Wear Daily;” the industry’s newspaper bible.
At age 21, met and married Robert Leber, a business transplant to St. Louis from New York. I became a stay-at-home mom taking care of my husband and growing family, which I loved doing. Also allowed me time to enjoy my creative endeavors.
Periodically freelanced for national magazines and newspapers under my married name (A.F. Leber) before I changed it to Eroca Daniel. And introduced dress vinyl fabric to the shoe industry via Columbia Coated Fabrics Company. Prior to that, only work boots were made in vinyl. Also designed women’s shoes and would sell my designs while my kids were napping, and a babysitter was with them. When they were in nursery school or kindergarten, I volunteered for the Head Start Program in Olivette, MO, a few days a week.
Had the opportunity to travel with Bob to England, France, Switzerland, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and a number of U.S. states. Two wonderful sons from that marriage. While up with the first son’s 2:00 a.m. feeding, I would design decorative women’s shoes. They were displayed and sold at Famous-Barr stores in the early sixties from $75 - $250 a pair, depending on the shoe choice and design.
Good thing I knew how to make them instead of buying them (smiles).
Was invited on the “Tonight Show” as being one of only 6 people in the world creating unique hand designs on shoes; three of which families had worked for European royalty for generations, one U.S. company doing rhinestones on dress shoes, one I can’t remember, and me. Went with Bob to NY. The show ran long and I got bumped! Actually made a positive course correction in my life.
Arranged for private international negotiations for medical research prior to founding my 501(C)(3) CHAI Foundation for Medical Research & Life Extension, Inc. (CHAI Foundation) on the tip of a shoelace! (www.chaifoundation.org) Then volunteered my services to doctors in cancer research for two decades.
Twenty years later, our very small, all-volunteer company has identified a major treatment breakthrough that shows a 60%-85% effect on a number of malignant lesions without toxicity. I am looking for a collaborative organization to make new serum to compare to earlier studies on 35 clinical patients done outside the U.S. by our world-class research director, who has been lost to us due to an unfortunate accident.
Coined the phrase, “silent majority,” made famous through its use by President Richard M. Nixon during his first public TV address to the nation. Received his acknowledging letter.
My older son, an attorney, is also creative, and exploring the entertainment sector having written a half-hour humorous legal TV show for which he is seeking production. My younger son, also creative, founded The Child Safety Network. CSN is America's leader in providing free resources to raise, safer, healthier children since 1989. He has developed a wide variety of programs and services for charitable purposes, many of which have been recognized and recorded in the Library of Congress. And has been given special congressional recognition on 6 separate occasions for his innovation and expertise on pediatric injury prevention and child advocacy work.
Bob died in 1987, and I have not remarried. After he died, I closed up my home office and went to work for a company that handled reruns for TV, coordinating ideas for product tie-ins. Feeling better after a year, I left there and on my own, interfaced with national and international individuals and companies, political figures, celebrity entertainers, and government agencies.
I conducted a press conference at the request of actor Steve McQueen through his doctors, in regard to McQueen’s belief in the right of patients to choose alternative cancer therapies. Discussed this first with his long-time representatives, who gave me the go-ahead.
Simultaneously to other endeavors, donate my help since its inception to CSN as their Special Projects Coordinator in Marketing & PR. (www.csn.org) Secured some 200 celebrity signatures on collector cars for Child Safety Network that went up for auction to help underwrite the charity’s free programs.
As a civilian volunteer in California vetted through FBI checks, was one of four coordinators helping assist law enforcement in their Intelligence Unit by taking over duties that would allow more uniformed officers on the street.
Became a member of the California D.A.R.T. team (Disaster Assistance Response Team) before my move to AZ.
Completed several books: three for children and two for adults for which I am seeking new representation. A third property - a medical expose with movie potential - is in the works.
Awards and Recognition:
• Honored as “Woman of Achievement” by St. Louis University on their televised Creative Women’s Series, 1974
• Interviewed on Charlotte Peters TV show
• “Lady of Achievement Award” by the JSN Society of St. Louis, Missouri
• Recognized by the state of Missouri for article on mental health
• Recognized by President Bill Clinton on my nomination for the 1999 J.C. Penny Golden Rule Award
• Letter to three U.S. ambassadors in Europe from then U.S. California Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr. to receive me when visiting their countries for discussion on medical research.
• Received letters of appreciation from Jane Pauley, former president Richard M. Nixon, Hubert H. Humphrey, Lady Bird Johnson, Lynda Bird Johnson, Stewart Alsop, J. Edgar Hoover, Gloria Swanson, Vikki Carr, Cesar Romero, Ivan Naranjo, and others.
Eroca (Arlene) Franklin Daniel