Danny Wayne “Dan” Maestri

Danny Wayne “Dan” Maestri, 74, of Fayetteville, died Sunday, January 6, 2019.  He was born May 2, 1944 in Greenwood, Arkansas, to the late Allen and Ruth Lewis Maestri.

Dan was a teacher, inventor, pilot, entrepreneur, and baker. A graduate of Greenwood High and the University of Arkansas, his love of teaching led him to Springdale where he taught high school chemistry.  His love of science led him to Ralston Purina as a diagnostic laboratory manager developing vaccines and mechanisms for the safe handling and consumption of poultry. His clever inventions promoted him to regional quality assurance director and a subsequent risk management position at Hudson Foods, where he created a self-funded health insurance plan for their employees. This was so successful he began creating plans for other companies until venturing out on his own to start Risk Management Counsel in Bentonville. There, he persuaded Sam Walton to self-fund Wal-Mart’s health insurance while his company managed their claims. Risk Management would eventually administer programs for 450,000 participants nationwide. It was during this time he developed a passion for flying and obtained his helicopter license.  Always turning a passion into a business, he started a helicopter company to escort businessmen to regional destinations. His clients included Bill Clinton and former Razorback coach, Lou Holtz.

Risk management led him to Kentucky, but it was there he fell in love again with teaching. He became the science department head at Christian Academy of Louisville, teaching physics, chemistry, biology, and anatomy. There, he stumbled upon a bread recipe and an old yeast starter he inherited from a friend. This began a lifelong passion for bread making. After a brief stint in North Carolina, he returned to Northwest Arkansas spending his final years teaching and selling his bread at farmer’s markets and local restaurants. His last venture with POP’s (PzeroP) Southern Sourdough Bread was a labor of love sealing his legacy as a baker. His best returns came when giving away bread to friends, family, and strangers.  His final days were spent reminiscing with his children as his body failed to keep up with his brilliant mind.

He is survived by five children, Dana Renfrow and husband Todd of Bentonville, Dustin Maestri and wife Jamie of Springdale, Devon Maestri and wife Courtney of Columbus, Ohio, Dani Madison and husband Dierek of Gravette, Shalane Adkinson and husband Travis of Louisville, Kentucky; and 22 grandchildren, Hayden, Hayley (Danny), Reagan, Ryan, Elli, Emma, Katelyn (Dillon), Madelyn, Grant, Garrett, Will, Miller, Mallory, Laurel, Drew, Drake, Darbi, Jordan, Harlin, Judah, Shiloh and Micah.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Allen, in infancy, and Mike Maestri.

A memorial service is being planned for later in the summer.

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SimoneSamantha MosherHeather DoyalJennifer DrakeJerry Goolsby Recent guestbook authors
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Dale and Gail Tucker
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Dale and Gail Tucker

We remember Dan very well and received several loaves of his fine bread. Our very best wishes to all his family. Such a bright and caring fellow.

Pam Owen
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Pam Owen

I met Dan several years ago while teaching at Springdale High School. I taught students with learning disabilities and requested him many times to substitute in my absence. With Dan, I knew my kids would learn and be well taken care of in my absence. If he was substituting in C- wing or near by, Dan would eat lunch with a group of us and share his delicious bread. He even shared some starter with those of us who wanted to make our own. Dan was a very kind man and well liked among his peers. He will be missed.… Read more »

Margi Tucker
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Margi Tucker

I met Dan in high school. He was my chemistry teacher and went on to marry a close friend. He was always especially kind and funny. In later years I ran into Dan again in his making bread days and we reconnected. He was so proud of all of his children. We were not sure in the chain of things where we were related but were always glad we might be. Rest In Peace dear one. Margi Maestri Tucker

Mary jane
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Mary jane

I worked for Dan at Hudson Foods and followed him to Risk Management in the Massy hotel in Bentonville. He was a smart, unique person with character and integrity. May you Rest In Peace 🙏

Shuster Family
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Shuster Family

Dan was a very good man. He was eager to help young minds learn. He will be missed .

Arianda Hernandez
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Arianda Hernandez

I feel sad to know he’s gone, but happy knowing he’s in such a glorious wonderful place now. He was the best substitute teacher I ever had through my high school years at Springdale High. His life advices were great too!! If it wasn’t for him I would’ve given up, thank God and Him I didn’t. I was able to graduate and now I continue to try even harder during college trying to finish out strong and become someone successful in life, like he always told me I would be. “Always take chances, don’t regret not trying, you and only… Read more »

Jerry Goolsby
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Jerry Goolsby

To the Maestri family,

Our prayers are with you as you mourn the passing of your Father and Grandfather. Danny was loved and appreciated by many and will be missed by our community.

Praying for God’s peace and comfort…

Jerry Goolsby, Fayettteville

Jennifer Drake
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Jennifer Drake

He was a great substitute teacher and a great tutoring teacher! He was the best! He won’t be forgotten

Heather Doyal
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Heather Doyal

I remember his kindness and generosity with his wonderful bread. I feel saddened by his loss. Love and sympathy to his family.

Samantha Mosher
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Samantha Mosher

Dan will be very missed at the Bella Vista Farmers Market this coming season! He always had a story and words of wisdom to pass on!

Simone
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Simone

To the Maestri family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.
I hope you may find some solace in knowing how much of a difference Dan made with his students and with anyone who crossed his path. I was lucky enough to have met him through his teachings and I can wholeheartedly say that he changed my life.
My condolences and best wishes to his family.