Association Remembers Barbara McDaniel.
Long time National Training and Simulation Association employee Barbara Louise "Babs" McDaniel--who coordinated NTSA's annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) since 1993 and helped make it the largest event of its kind in the world--passed away Feb. 1. McDaniel was 69.
McDaniel had been ill with cancer for several years and she passed surrounded by her loving family.
McDaniel was known for her warm nature and strong work ethic, as well as her love of family. High school sweethearts, McDaniel married her husband Michael Sept. 13, 1969, and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last fall. She encouraged her children to explore the world but always to live close to an airport for visits. She was the family's Rummikub game champ and a devoted Washington Nationals fan and attended the team's World Series run.
McDaniel was born Barbara Stuckey on Aug. 9, 1950, in Pittsburg, Kansas, to John and Betty Stuckey. She grew up there and eventually graduated from Pittsburg State University. She began her career as an educator and taught students in Kansas and Iowa until the McDaniels moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 1992.
It was there that McDaniel began a second career with NTSA--now an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association--as head staff member of its annual I/ITSEC conference. McDaniel elevated the conference's profile among active duty military and established relationships with each service. The services now rotate being featured at the yearly event in Orlando, Florida. The four-day conference is now the largest of its kind in the world. It boasts a yearly attendance of more than 17,000 participants and an exhibit floor featuring more than 500 vendors in the training-and-simulation field.
"I/ITSEC would not be what it is today without Barbara," said retired Rear Adm. James Robb, NTSA president. "Her legacy will live on in the very successful event that she managed and in the friends and associates she made during her nearly 25 years with NTSA."
McDaniel retired from NTSA in 2017, leaving with a newly established Lifetime Achievement Award dedicated in her honor for her tireless devotion to the association and its community. In 2019, NTSA founded the Barbara McDaniel Undergraduate Scholarship program, which bestows $10,000 upon selected college students studying in the training-and-simulation fields.
Along with her husband, McDaniel is survived by her son Tim McDaniel and daughter-in-law Wendy Bolt of Huntington Beach, California; daughter Sarah Vanover and son-in-law John Casey of Marina del Rey, California; and brother- and sister-in law Phil and Stephanie Stuckey of Crum, Texas. Preceding her in death were her parents, and her brother John Stuckey.
A celebration of McDaniel's life was held in March in Alexandria, Virginia. Internment will take place at Crocker Cemetery, Pittsburg, Kansas, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in McDaniel's memory may be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.