Daniel Piña Masias
1928 - 2020
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April 1, 1928
May 8, 2020
On 8 May 2020, Daniel Piña Masias, passed away peacefully at Briarwood Nursing Home in Denver, Colorado. Daniel lived 92 glorious years of life.
Daniel was born in Rocky Ford, Colorado on 1 April 1928 to parents Gonzalo and Jacoba Masias who were from Aguascalientes, Mexico. Daniel is preceded in death by siblings: Eliseo, Barbara, George, Jesus, Raymond and Lydia. Daniel's living siblings are brothers: Arthur and David of Pueblo, Colorado.
Daniel spent over 65 years with his beloved wife, Helen Lujan, of Casper, Wyoming. Together, they proudly raised 11 children: Daniel Jr., Patricia, Donald, Glen, Timothy, Samuel, Deborah, Julie, and Brian.
Daniel was baptized at the Saint Peters Catholic Parish and attended the Rocky Ford Public School through the 5th grade. As a teenager, he was employed by the Rocky Ford Sugar Beet Company and worked as a farm laborer. In early adulthood, along with his elder brothers, Daniel co-managed several Arkansas Valley businesses including the Star Cafe, Pickwick Diner and the Airplane Inn. In 1948, Daniel and business partner, Claude Tyler, hosted Duke Ellington and Lena Horne at the Airplane Inn dance hall in La Junta, Colorado.
In 1955, Daniel and his growing family moved to Pueblo where he worked as a loading dock worker for the Walters Brewing Company, and later rose to become a union shop foreman. In 1967 with little more than hope and a prayer, Daniel relocated his family to Colorado Springs to purchase the Original Mission Bell Inn restaurant in Manitou Springs. It was this endeavor that Daniel and Helen, along with their children, were able to establish one of the most successful Mexican restaurants in the Pikes Peak region. As a highly respected local business owner, Daniel provided formative opportunities for the many local young men and women who worked at the Mission Bell Inn over a 40 year period.
Attesting to Daniel's business acumen were numerous newspaper articles that were published, including his purchase of the Original Mission Bell Inn featured in the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph in June 1968. "How To Keep Your Kids Busy", Rocky Mountain Empire Magazine, May 1970; "Manitou Business Is Family Partnership", Gazette Telegraph newspaper, September 1974; "Sons of Boss Tell Their Tale", Gazette Telegraph newspaper, July 1977; "Mission Bell's Word-Of-Mouth Cuisine Keeps Customers Coming Back" Gazette Telegraph, January 1981; "Dear Old Dads Shape Young Lives" Colorado Springs Sun, June 1985; and "Why Not Dress It Up A Little", Pikes Peak Journal, July 1987.
At the behest and nominations from Pikes Peak Region business leaders including Robert Norris (The Marlboro Man), in September 1975, Governor Richard Lamm bestowed upon Daniel and his family the title of "First Family Of The Colorado State Fair". In February 1979, Bank of Manitou President Kenneth E. Baird appointed Daniel as a member of the Manitou Springs Board of Directors. Daniel also served on the board of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce and Sertoma Club. In these governance positions, Daniel is remembered for his sound wisdom and ethical representation of his business community.
During Daniel's golden years, he drafted a manuscript entitled "Unmarked Graves" which framed the arduous migration of his parents from Aguascalientes, Mexico due to the Mexican Revolution of 1910. His manuscript is held in the Western History permanent collection at the Denver Public Library.
Daniel had a keen way of nurturing the potential in people and saw the world as unbounded potential. He was a self-educated man and had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. His favorite philosopher was Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Daniel was a larger than life loving father who sacrificed everything for his family and imparted on them his high moral values and strong work ethic. Daniel and his legacy now belong to the ages.
Daniel's family, along with the Shrine of Remembrance Funeral Home, will be hosting a graveside celebration of life at the Manitou Springs Crystal Valley Cemetery on 17 May 2020.

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Published in The Gazette from May 12 to May 13, 2020.
Graveside service
Manitou Springs Crystal Valley Cemetery
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6 entries
May 22, 2020
Macias family, I am so very sorry to hear of your fathers passing. He will be forever a legend in Manitou Springs. God bless and prayers.
Marlene Grover Smith Pawelek
May 17, 2020
R I P uncle....
Matt Masias
May 16, 2020
I worked at the Mission Bell Inn from 1988- 1991 in high school. My father, David Vaeth, taught some of the Masias children. One of my favorite restaurants growing up , my family went often. The food was amazing and I miss it so much! I was so happy I got to be apart of the Mission Bell family, so many great memories and was like home. Dan was always such a kind, warm, generous man. We would work side by side at the cash register when I first started, he would tell stories and he was so nice to me. Truly a wonderful man. I later went back and worked for Ben when he took over the restaurant, and would see Dan, share memories, just felt like I had never left. Rest peacefully Dan, your legend lives on. Victoria Vaeth
Victoria Vaeth
May 14, 2020
As one of the many Zimmermans, we spent many nights at the Mission Inn. Mr Masias always greeted us with a smile. He always had a special table set aside for our large family. He always came by the table to chat and made each of us feel special. May God bless you all during this time. Treasure his memory and know time will help you to know he's with the Lord now.
Jeanne Walz
May 13, 2020
Daniel was a phenomenal leader, father, and individual. He cared deeply for everyone he met and loved with his whole heart. His charisma and charm will be dearly missed.
May 12, 2020
Mr. Masias led a remarkable life. Born to hardworking immigrant parents that fought their way from Aguascalientes. He had a beautiful hardworking partner in Helen and some of the most intriguing and tenacious children Ive encountered. Ive been regaled with tales of the Airplane Inn, the Mission Bell Inn and the life of a Hispanic family growing up in Manitou Springs and all of the beauty and heartache that came along with that. I wish the Masias family peace and healing during this time of loss.
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