She returned to where Bernie sat and waited with her. “Here I am, a random stranger, talking to her and holding her hand, as this terrible realization is setting in that her husband is probably lost,” Brandt said. A year later, she said she was still dealing with the psychological fallout of her role that day. After a short while, the police called in a search team. It took 90 minutes for one of the divers — a teenage boy — to find Dan’s body, one leg pinned under rocks, miraculously held there from going out to sea.
Dan Roundfield Rumors
About a month before their trip, Dan came home from work and told Bernie he had read something upsetting on the Internet. It was about a couple that had been vacationing in the Caribbean with two daughters. The wife had gotten into trouble in the water. The husband rushed in but could not save her. “I said, ‘How awful,’ never thinking for a minute that that could happen to us,” Bernie said.
Other than brief interviews she gave last summer, she had not shared the most haunting details of the death of her husband, who drowned at age 59 in Aruba last summer while attempting to save her from a similar fate. It had been all she could do to return the body home and to organize the funeral 10 days after his death so his family and friends could say their goodbyes. But she could not find the strength to read the cards and letters that poured into the family home. Nor could she reach out to express her gratitude, with one major exception. “I hadn’t talked about it because it was so hard,” she said. “But I had decided that I wanted — I needed to — find a way to say thank you.”
It’s important to note that this New York Times feature isn’t about famous people who died this year. It’s regular people, with photos and remembrances submitted by their friends and family. And there, barely noticeable between a “devoted wife and mother” and an Egyptian immigrant doctor, is Dan Roundfield, the former NBA player who drowned in August trying to rescue his wife from rough seas. The brief note accompanying the photo was written by Dominique Wilkins, who played with Roundfield on the Hawks for two seasons. This wasn’t commissioned by the Times—it was just Wilkins reaching out when he saw an opportunity to publicly honor his friend and teammate.
Michael Cunningham: Viewing for former #Hawks F Dan Roundfield Thurs. 6-9 pm at Hopewell Missionary in Norcross. Funeral Fri. 10 am at Hopewell.
Dan Roundfield, a three-time N.B.A. All-Star in the early 1980s, drowned off the southern tip of Aruba after he and his wife, Bernie, were caught in rough surf while swimming, the police and a family member said. Roundfield, 59, got his wife safely to some rocks, but he was swept away in the current, said John Larmonie, a police spokesman. Search teams found his body about 90 minutes later trapped by rocks underwater.
Roundfield was an established veteran when Dominique Wilkins, a likely Hall of Famer, entered the league in 1982. “Danny was the most honest and upfront person I knew and I’m very stunned at hearing the news of his death,” Wilkins said in a statement released by the organization. “Danny’s one of my closest friends and he was a tremendous influence on my NBA career, on and off the court. He taught me how to be a professional and took me under his wing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, I will truly miss him.”