Funeral services for Dan Soyka, a Dunedin man who received an outpouring of community support during his two-year battle with a debilitating and incurable degenerative disease, are set for Monday.
Soyka, who not so long ago was the wise-cracking life of the party in his tight-knit group of friends, passed away peacefully in his sleep Wednesday, his friends announced on Valentine's Day.
He was 35.
Friends and family members who mobilized to help when he was diagnosed with ALS have kept people informed through their ALS awareness group "Our Friend Dan" Facebook page.
Our Friend Dan announced funeral arrangements Friday afternoon.
Arrangements are as follows:
- Visitation: Sunday, Feb. 17, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Curlew Hills Funeral Home, 1750 Curlew Road in Palm Harbor.
- Funeral Service: Monday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m., at Church of the Ascension, 701 Orange Ave in Clearwater. Burial follows at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens.
- Celebration of Life potluck gathering: Monday, Feb. 18, around 6 p.m. at Dunedin House of Beer.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in support of friend Steve Dezember II, who is also diagnosed with ALS.
To donate, visit HopeForSteve.com.
Since Dan Soyka's ALS diagnosis more than two years ago, his care had become more involved and costly, his wife Lisa Soyka explained in December.
Our Friend Dan organized two annual fundraisers at the Dunedin House of Beer, the most recent one held Jan. 19.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, degenerates nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing a person to lose voluntary muscle movement.
Dan's ailment is the second recent tragedy for the Soyka family.
Several months after Dan was diagnosed, in October 2011, his younger sister Autumn, to whom he was very close, was killed after being struck by a drunk driver in Charlotte, NC.
She was 31.