Daniel Gould built boats. He built telescopes and bicycles. He carved signs and bird decoys. And he crafted musical instruments of all kinds. But mostly he built boats in Arey's Pond boat yard near Pleasant Bay in Orleans.
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"I always could count on him, and he was right by my side as if he was as much the owner of the boat yard as I was."
That's Tony Davis, the owner of Arey's Pond boat yard, where Gould was head boat builder for more than 20 years.
"Danny never put himself in front of anything," Davis said. "Whether it was family or work or having a good time. He was always making sure everyone else was onboard. And that's just the way he approached life and his daily tasks. He never wanted to be a standout. He would quietly make decisions and give people pointers on how things would be done."
Davis says he considers Gould a brother. Together they built an estimated 280 boats, beginning in the early 1990s. Davis says his Arey's Pond Boat Ride might not have lasted very long, if not for Gould.
About five years into the business, Gould got a call from the Disney company in Japan. They were looking to construct a Nantucket scene at their Tokyo theme park, and they wanted some traditional style boats. Gould and two of his friends had built a Friendship sloop, which they planned to use to fulfill Gould's dream of owning a boat charter business on Cape Cod.
"And I said, 'Danny, what do you think about shipping the friendship sloop to Tokyo?,' thinking he'd say, 'No, no.' But he said, 'Well, maybe.'"
Ultimately, Gould decided to sell the sloop to Disney-- a move that may have saved the Arey's Pond boat yard.
"(Disney) bought the Friendship sloop," Davis said. "They spent a lot of money having us customize, and then they ordered 5 more wooden boats that Danny and I built. And his willingness and decision to go with that idea really jump started this business and allowed us some cash to grow."
The call of the sea was ancestral for Daniel Gould. On Cape Cod, the historic Gould family name boasts sea captains, fishermen and rum runners.
Gould grew up in Orleans, and he graduated from Nauset High School in 1971. As a young man, he worked as a mechanic in his dad's garage. He went on to study boat building, and he eventually worked as a shipwright on the USS Constitution in Boston. In 1983 he helped build the SSS Spirit of Massachusetts -- a tall ship that cruised the world representing the Commonwealth. While working on that project at the Old Boston Navy Yard, Daniel met his future wife Marie.
"I used to try and hook him up with my best friend," she said. "And then one day I said you're crazy not to go out with this guy. Ha Ha. He was just always so quiet. He had so many things going on. I just found him fascinating."
The couple eventually moved to Cape Cod, and the home they made together in Brewster always was filled with music, colorful art and the smell of saw dust. On the kitchen wall is the painting his daughter made for his 59th birthday. The musical instruments he crafted are in the living room.
Linda Cullum grew up with Gould. And once, many years ago, he tried to give her this mountain dulcimer he made.
"He was so giving that, the day Ford became president in 1974," she said. "I got a job at Killington Mountain, and I had to start the next Monday. Anyway, Danny, I had no car, $50 to my name, and no place to live. And I asked him, can you drive me up to Killington, Vermont, so I can start this job? And he said, 'Sure!' So up we went, and we had a great time and I found a place to live and start my job. But he always said yes."
Marie Gould says that saying yes and helping others, was the way Gould wanted to live his life.
"He never could figure out a business because he would always be helping people. It's hard to turn it into a business when you're always helping people."
Gould was born on March 1, 1953, and he passed away unexpectedly just a few weeks ago, on July 10. He was 59.
The night before his heart gave out, Gould looked at the choices of instruments on his living room wall and he chose a small, concert-size ukulele. He bought it on his honeymoon in Hawaii, more than 20 years ago. Gould took it down from its place next to the guitar he made, and with his 9-year-old daughter Stephanie, he sang the century-old folk song, "Freight Train."