Daniel R. Estes, 72, of Valparaiso, passed away on Monday, January 8, 2024. He was born on September 2, 1951, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He graduated from duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky, Central Bible College, and AG Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. Growing up in the West End of Louisville, he was a fixture at the Portland Boys Club, later called the Boys and Girls Club, winning Boy of the Year in 1966. As an adult, he was inducted into the Boys and Girls Club Alumni Hall of Fame alongside former Green Bay Packers legend Paul Hornung. Dan remained a Green Bay Packers fan throughout his life, making this accomplishment even more special. He had a heart for people, serving as pastor to many congregations for over 40 years. He and his wife Sharon, who were married for over 51 years, pastored several churches in Kentucky and Indiana, including 4 church plants. The longest tenure was at Living Hope Church in Merrillville, Indiana, where they pastored for over 17 years. Throughout his service, he was committed to international missions, organizing many trips and campaigns to support missionaries in their fields. His love of travel extended beyond missions to his quest with Sharon to visit every state in the US as well as other countries. He used his love of architecture to design many homes and churches. A member of his high school marching band and symphony orchestra, he was a lifelong musician, a self-taught guitarist who often used his talents in ministry and for his own enjoyment. In addition to his guitar collection, he also acquired more vehicles than his family can recall throughout his lifetime. An avid sports fan, he was always up for a round of golf, especially with his son. Above all of his accomplishments, the time spent with his grandchildren was precious. Papa’s guacamole was famous, requested at birthday parties each year. Dan loved life, and he loved people. He made others believe that anything was possible, and then helped them accomplish it. His motto was, “Everyone matters…everyone.”
Dan was preceded in death by his mother and father, Beatrice (née Grace) Estes and Rueben Eddie Estes, and his sister, Patricia (Joseph “Jerry”) Walters. Dan is survived by his wife, Sharon (née Roark), their children, Ashley (Sean) Monroe and Daniel Estes, grandchildren, Aidan and Rory Monroe, and brother, Paul (Cora) Estes.
A time of visitation will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Valley Baptist Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. The service will immediately follow at 12:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shepherd’s Hill Academy in Martin, Georgia.


Dear Sharon and family, Pat and I send our sincere condolences to you and your family at the passing of Dan. I have known Dan since CBC. Our paths crossed when he was pastoring the Merrilville church and we were there on two occasions to raise support and funds for Lesotho. We visited the church in December 1996 and again in July 2003. We could see how much he loved being a pastor and how much he loved missionaries and how much he loved life. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to spend more time with Dan. Our prayers are with you and your family. Pat and I are retired from missions and living in Blue Springs, MO. -Alan Pettenger 

Sharon, my prayers go out for you and your family. Danny was a special person that I will always cherish with my memories of Manual. I am so glad we had an opportunity to talk at our reunion. I will cherish the memories. -Judy Cox Johnston, Class of 69 

Our family started attending Living Hope Church in December of 1991. Pastor Dan was so welcoming to us. I went on 4 mission trips with him that literally changed my life. I remember planning a trip to China and I told him I overheard my son praying one night that God would make a way for him to go also. I told Dan and he said he has to go then. We didn't have the money and Dan wrote a letter to send to family and friends and not only did all the expenses come in but additional money for us on the trip. I always appreciated his love for missions. He hired me to work at the Church and I have been there as Facility director for 32 yrs now. Pastor Dan will be missed but we rejoice knowing he is with his Lord and savior. Heaven gained a good man. Our prayers are with Sharon, Ashley, Daniel and the grandkids. -Russ & Cheryl Sims 

I am so sorry to hear of Dan's passing! Dan was such an amazing friend with such a beautiful smile and a kind heart! He will be missed! Please know that I am thinking of Sharon and family and praying for their strength. Your friend, -Nancy Meurer Roberts

Pastor Estes and Sharon made us feel at home at LHC in Merrillville. We moved to Crown Point and knew no one. He welcomed us in with open arms. He will be greatly missed but he touched so many lives through his ministry. Prayers for Sharon and the whole family. We love you & you are in our thoughts. We will see you Pastor one glorious day! -Edward & Darrelyn Dyer 

Terell and I and our girls were so saddened to hear this. We have all shared memories today of our time at Living Hope under your pastorate. They are fond ones. Our hearts go out to Sharon, Ashely and Daniel as well as those special grandchildren. -Donna Howell 

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. -Jim and Debbie Lucas 

I don’t have enough space to explain what a powerful impact Dan and Sharon have made on my family. Dan was the main reason that David and I found a deeper more intimate relationship with the Lord as he mentored us and encouraged us to step out and start pastoring while David worked on getting ordained. Dan was always so friendly and his smile would light up the church. I never saw him discouraged. He got me involved in so many ways and the thing that stands out with Dan is how he visited our house several times. Something no pastor does anymore. There will never be another pastor as kind and as personally involved in my life as Dan. Sharon is the absolute perfect co pastor with Dan and she exemplifies Proverbs 31. She is also a reason for Dan’s success. I feel such an enormous loss but knowing we will all be together again in heaven takes the sting of death away. I hope Dan is waiting on me when I cross the other side with that big smile on his face. Blessings to Sharon as she has to face life without the man that she so graciously adored and supported . I know you will be strong as you always have been and God will now really become your husband. You’re never alone. Joy comes in time. I know firsthand. -Cheryl Van Winkle 

Sharon, Bill and I are so sorry to hear of Brother Dan passing. Brother Dan was our first Pastor during 1977 when it was very hard for an interracial couple to find a church. You both welcomed us with open arms. We will be forever grateful. Brother Dan has gone to the place he preached and taught about so many years. Love and prayers. -Bill and Glenna Segar

Dear Sharon and Family, The world lost a beautiful person. Kiwanis lost a committed member and servant leader. Our Kiwanis family will forever remember Dan as someone you wanted to get to know and emulate. Our sympathies, our prayers, and our daily thoughts are with all of you in the days, weeks, and months ahead to help remind you that Dan is where we all hope to be one day, in the loving arms of our creator. We are filled with sadness at the loss of someone so special so soon. -Joann Tomasic, Kiwanis Club of Valparaiso

Pastor Estes was a great influence in my life at Living Hope Church. My Prayers and thoughts are with Sharon and the family. I will always think of him and his ministry when I listen to his CD “Dan Estes For The Kid”! Love and Prayers, -Janet Bachinski 

Praying for you all during this time. As a missionary, I have always appreciated Pastor Estes' kind spirit. It was great to get to know him both through Living Hope in Merrillville and his church plant in Indianapolis. What a great life he lived. Praying for those closest to him as you say goodbye. -Lisa Russi 

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