John Traina

Since I always seem to share with you what goes on in my life, I am sharing with you now sad family news for us. My ex-husband, John Traina, father of eight of my nine children, passed away suddenly on February 1st, and it is a huge shock and grief to all of us, and most especially our children. We were married for 17 years, and have been separated and divorced for 16 years. But in spite of that, we remained good friends, and very close because of the children, and probably also just because we liked each other. He was a remarkably kind, patient, easy going man, had the perfect personality to be the father of so many children. He was totally unflappable, nothing ever bothered him, and I can hardly ever remember seeing him angry. We would leave for the weekends with 9 kids, a mountain of suitcases, three young women to help us, 8 dogs, a pet pig (who was supposed never to grow bigger than 30 pounds and weighed 200 and was a most uncharming pet named Coco!!!), musical instruments, the kids’ friends, a dozen backpacks full of homework, and John never batted an eye, or complained about the noise or chaos. He came up with a creation which was sheer genius and before its time of computers, video machines and modern viewing devices. He installed a TV in our van to watch video tapes, so the kids could watch a movie on the way to our house in Napa, which avoided the refrain of “Are we there yet?”. He was a truly lovely person, in many many ways. A handsome, elegant man, impeccably groomed, with a radiant smile. He was movie star handsome when I met him, and until his very last day. The world, and surely our world, will be a sadder place without him.

I met John at a “Gone with the Wind” costume party given by friends at their country home. He was married then, and his wife was wearing a beautiful gown which had actually been a costume worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara in the movie. John was wearing a Union Officer’s uniform and looked incredibly dashing. Late as usual, I ran across the lawn to the party, not looking where I was going, and crashed into the chest of a man in uniform. I looked up and there was John, dazzlingly handsome. I’m sure he never remembered me from that day, although I glimpsed him and his lovely wife at the party. And for a long time after, I wished I could meet a man ‘like him’. It never dawned on me that I would be lucky enough to be in his life one day. Eventually, he and his wife became my friends, and invited me to some dinner parties, with my assorted not very exciting boyfriends at the time. John and his wife looked like movie stars to me, and led a golden, elegant life. They seemed like role models of people who had it all, and I enjoyed their company a great deal. I always admired the fact too that John never flirted with me, nor showed any interest in me (not always the case with married men). John was Married, with a capital M, and seemed to be a great husband. A few years later, as I mushed along in my own life, he and his wife separated and divorced. And he called me and invited me out. She was marrying someone else, John was alone and I was amazed that he invited me out. He was nearly 20 years older than I, although he didn’t look it, and I thought he was much too glamorous for me—I had a kind of “Who? Me?” feeling about it—he was asking me out??? Me??? How could that be? I never felt so lucky in my life.

We fell in love with each other very quickly. Our first date was lunch on New Year’s Day. And it was a whirlwind romance. He proposed to me on Valentine’s Day (which was pretty funny, we both had other dates for that night, which we decided to honor, so as not to disappoint anyone, but we let our respective dates know that we had just gotten engaged). And we were married in June. John had two adorable very young sons, Trevor and Todd, who were friends of my daughter’s and I knew well. I had my daughter Beatrix, and my son Nick was a baby (whom John adopted once we were married). And everyone loved everyone. It was a love fest. And John was truly the handsomest man I have ever known, and was until the day he died, and a kind one. He made everyone feel special, and I felt like a fairy princess, Cinderella, when I was with him. One of the things I loved about him was that he wanted more children, and so did I. We had five more together, Samantha, Victoria, Vanessa, Maxx, and Zara. We filled our house with love and light, music and laughter, and a lot of kids!!! And we shared 17 wonderful years.

As happens sometimes in life, dreams fade, reality gets the best of us, things happen, people disappoint each other, or tragedies occur. My son Nick was desperately sick for our entire marriage, which was a challenge, my career was demanding, I’m more of a homebody, John loved going out and having a huge social life, which I didn’t always have the energy for with nine kids at home, one of them very ill, and constant deadlines. We were at different points in our lives, he in the final stretch, the fun part, he retired early and had more time to play than I did. And I tend to be a more serious person, and was happy at home with the kids, or working. And after 17 years, with great sadness, we parted ways, but we remained very close. Even after our divorce, my house was always open to him; we spent wonderful times together with the kids. He spent every holiday with us, came to dinner often, we took real pleasure in seeing each other, with and without the kids. And our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were legendary among people who knew us, because in an effort not to pull the kids in different directions, not only did John spend the holidays with us, but so did his first wife, her new husband before he died, and her mother, who is like a grandmother to my children, and a cherished member of our family, she is 93 now and going strong.

John was a man of a thousand interests, always fascinated by a variety of topics. He loved classic cars, beautiful antiques, had an incredible wardrobe and was the best dressed man I know. He was impeccable, perfect, beautiful, and he had a knack for spreading beauty around him. He thoroughly enjoyed his kids, his friends, his homes, his travels, new adventures, exotic places (where I would have been terrified to go). He loved his dogs. He was full of life and added excitement and glamour wherever he went. And he always looked 20 or 30 years younger than he was, time just didn’t touch him, somewhere on his travels, he must have found the fountain of youth!!!

He’d had some heart problems in recent years, but managed them responsibly, and continued living a great life. He was planning to have a minor procedure right before Thanksgiving, or right after, and in the blood work, they discovered something amiss, and ran some tests. The tests came back on December 15th, he had acute leukemia, but even then, he was cheerful and optimistic, which was so characteristic of him. And we know several people who have lived years with leukemia, and have done well. We shared Christmas with him, afterwards he went to Mexico with friends, and in mid January, he was to have chemo, to deal with the leukemia. And even then, he looked handsome and debonair and tolerated it well. And then suddenly, the house of cards came down, he had 3 rapid heart attacks toward the end of chemo, but even then he and we were convinced he’d be fine. He assured us he would be!! And we believed it too. Thinking he was alright, and he certainly looked it, and was very positive, I left on a trip, and we chatted twice on Skype, several times on the phone, and often on email. He sounded good. The first time we skyped he looked great, the second time less so. The morning that he died, he had breakfast with some of the children, and dressed carefully for a visit to the hospital to make sure that he was alright. He had moved back into my house during chemo, so he would be more comfortable and could be near to our children. And off he went to the hospital that morning, after breakfast, and they rushed him into surgery for his heart. Much to everyone’s horror, he didn’t survive the operation, and at 5 o’clock that afternoon, he died. All of our children were with him, and sadly I was in Paris, but spoke to him the night before, when he still assured me he was fine. John did everything decisively and quickly, just as he proposed to me 6 weeks after we started dating—-6 weeks after the diagnosis, he was gone. He left quickly and elegantly, leaving our entire family to mourn him, bereft to have lost such a lovely man. Everyone is shocked, and all of us are stunned and saddened, but I also realize that this is probably the way he would want to go, quickly, simply, still looking handsome and feeling well until almost the last minute. He would have hated to be diminished, old and sick. He was nearly 80, and looked barely sixty (I will enclose his obituary here, and the photo attached is not an old one, it is from only last year. What 78 year old man do you know who looks like that? And aside from the good looks, he exudes vitality and life). The greatest sadness, other than losing him, is that our children are still very young, in their early 20’s, much too young to lose a parent, and a man like John is a lot to lose, as a parent, loved one, or friend. His loss will be felt by all for a long, long time. And it says a lot about a man to be mourned by many children and two wives. We all loved him deeply.

John Traina wasn’t a sad person, he was a happy man. He led a good life. When he saw one of our daughters crying at the hospital recently, he allowed her 6 seconds to cry and then she had to stop. John was all about living life, without regrets, without tears, without fears. He lived it fully and he had fun, and everyone around him had fun too. He wouldn’t like to see us crying, or sad. We held a private funeral a week ago and a memorial the following week for his many friends. And then there was a big reception at my home, with music and laughter and people, which is exactly what John wanted. John was all about celebrating life. So we will have to go on, keep our chins up, remember him with loving smiles……and having had him in our lives, he blessed us all. His exit was as elegant as he was…..he danced on, leaving us with all the happy memories of the wonderful times we shared. What an extraordinary man he was, and how lucky we were to know and love him.


John A. Traina, Jr.
26 September 1931 – 1 February 2011

John A. Traina, Jr. (26 September 1931 – 1 February 2011) passed away last Tuesday in San Francisco. Beloved father and grandfather, notable society figure, entrepreneur, civic leader and San Francisco legend, John Traina attended Grant School, Lowell High School, graduated from Stanford University ’53, and served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific. He enjoyed a long and respected career in shipping (American President Lines, Grace Lines, Prudential Lines, Delta Lines) and was among the first to start cruises into China. Traina engaged in numerous pursuits, with vineyards in the Napa Valley, was the author of two books (“Extraordinary Jewels” and “The Fabergé Case”), was a world traveler and famous collector of important objects. He had the largest collection of Fabergé cigarette boxes exhibited in museums around the world. Interested in everything, engaged in many endeavors, beloved by all, Traina had a passion for exotic travel, lived in Washington, D.C. in the 1960’s, and loved his homes in San Francisco and the Napa Valley. He was extremely elegant, known for his impeccable style and limitless charm, he added glamour and sophistication to the San Francisco social scene for his entire life. He is survived by three sons, Trevor, Todd and Maxx, and four daughters, Samantha, Victoria, Vanessa, and Zara, and was the father of the late Nick Traina. He was the stepfather of Beatrix Lazard Seidenberg. And he was the grandfather of Johnny and Delphina Traina, Daisy Traina, and Sebastian and Isabel Seidenberg. He is also survived by two ex-wives Diane “Dede” Buchanan Wilsey, and Danielle Steel. He was married to each for 17 years. He is also survived by a sister, Marisa Traina Hahn, three nephews and a niece. Funeral services will be held privately. A memorial service will be held at The Maritime Museum, 900 Beach Street, San Francisco, 94109, on Friday, 11 February, at 2:00pm. The family requests that memorials be contributions to the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, 94105, or The Nick Traina Foundation, P.O. Box 470427, San Francisco, 94147.

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63 Comments so far
  1. Charlene Oakley February 22, 2011 8:56 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of yet another person that you loved Danielle. I know you will feel John’s loss for a long, long time.
    Charlene Oakley

  2. simone February 23, 2011 6:32 am

    I am totally shocked and saddened to hear the news of John’s passing. I really felt his spirit through the book you wrote about your son, and you looked so wonderful together in photos. I feel really devastated for you and your children and I hope you find the strength to make it through this very difficult time.

    My thoughts are with you and may his wonderful soul rest in peace til you see him again one day.

  3. P.J. February 23, 2011 4:19 pm

    You should get solace from the fact you always spoke so warmly about him in your blogs. One doesn’t hear that from ex-wives very often and it was touching to read. I’ve only known one other woman who still speaks lovingly about her ex-husband who died and it is so remarkable.
    I feel for your children, particularly the one who cried in the hospital. God bless all of you.

  4. Joann February 24, 2011 7:53 am

    To you and your family, my deepest sympathy and my thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.

  5. Lorraine February 24, 2011 5:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing all that. The pix you included of John is amazing. He looks so young.
    It sounds like he led a wonderfully fulfilling
    life and it is a testimony to you to have held him in such esteem after all these years. It honestly all sounds like something out of a book. That has got to be so hard for your children in their 20s to have lost such a special father. May he rest in peace.
    Love, Lorraine

  6. Susie February 24, 2011 6:33 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. John Traina sounded like an amazing person. You wrote about him so beautifully. I am so sorry for your loss.

  7. Michelle M. February 25, 2011 6:26 am

    Dear Danielle ~

    I am so sorry to hear of your ex-husband’s passing. Your blog was beautifully written and is a magnificent testimonial to the father of your children, and also to a man who was also your dear friend. Please accept my deepest sympathy. You and your family are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. (((((HUGS))))

  8. Rosa Rodriguez February 25, 2011 8:27 am

    I am sorry for the loss of a very special person in your life and children. My deepest sympathy to everyone.

    Rosa Rodriguez

  9. Joann February 25, 2011 3:37 pm

    My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your ex-husband and your children’s father. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  10. Kimberly February 25, 2011 8:01 pm

    That was very nice. John sounded as wonderful as the perfect men in some of your novels… It’s so nice that you were able to share a life and build a family with such an endearing man. Thank you for sharing so intimately with us. Wishing Peace for You and Your Family…

  11. Jathan Fink February 25, 2011 9:09 pm


    Over the years you have always demonstrated such grace when it comes to your family, and particularly when you spoke of John. Although you were no longer married, it is remarkable how you both remained close friends and beloved parents to all your children. You serve as an inspiration to everyone who knows you, and it grieves me that you have to endure yet another loss, one that has an impact not only on you, but upon your family as well. Just as when Nick died, you are all in my thoughts and I pray that you find comfort in all those special memories you have of your former husband, fellow parent and dear friend.

    Many years ago you quoted a passage from the Bible that has always resonated with me, that “God places the solitary in families.” Now, more than ever, I know that these words you penned at the beginning of “Family Album” are particularly appropriate, because it seems that your own family story started in many ways when John entered your life. I hope everyone in your family truly relies on one another now, freely sharing funny anecdotes and fond memories about this man you all adored. Keeping his memory alive will not only comfort you, but will keep him with you for many years to come.

    With love,
    Jathan Fink

  12. Adrian jo February 26, 2011 12:30 pm

    Dearest Danielle ,
    I am so sorry for your loss as well as the pain and sorrow the kids must feel. To lose a parent was the hardest thing I have ever had to endure. This year will mark the 25 anniversary oft mothers death. It’s amazing that all the years past and the pain is as real as it ever was…. Time gives us strength , courage, and the spirit/ soul a chance to accept and deal with the loss . But the pain is always a part of who we are to become…. I hope during this time the family has the strength and time needed together… For we all know how important support is….
    And for you Danielle may you feel comfort in the good times shared memories and all the treasures that are eternal…. R.I.P John Traina you will be missed by many

  13. Marty February 27, 2011 5:21 am


    What a beautiful love story that you have shared. I would love to see you write a story of the wonderful relationship and memories of John and your family.

    My prayers are with you all,

  14. Gabriela March 1, 2011 6:52 pm

    I am so sorry.

  15. cathi March 2, 2011 5:31 pm

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Danielle. What a beautiful tribute to a lovely man adored by all! Much love to you and your family. xxoo

  16. jose ropero March 4, 2011 8:14 am

    Lo siento señora Steel, admiraba en lo poco que había leído sobre el en su libro sobre Nick, su paciencia su cooperación con usted, el amor hace que todas las cosas sean posibles. Sé que usted tiene fuerza para sobrellevar todo, pero quisiera compartir con usted la lectura del folleto “CUANDO MUERE UN SER QUERIDO” de los Testigos de Jehová.
    Recuerde que Dios es un dios de vivos y no de muertos porque para el todos viven en su memoria hasta el día de la resurrección. (Juan 5:28,29)
    Un abrazo afectuoso con toda castidad.
    José Ropero

  17. jose ropero March 4, 2011 8:18 am

    Ms Steel sent a comment in Spanish on the death of John but I see quee google translated something wrong my comment, because I do not know English, but if something is not understood or grounds for confusion, sorry, just wanted to give my condolences and say that John was very good father and husband for their qualities.
    A cordial and affectionate greeting

  18. jose ropero March 4, 2011 8:20 am

    Sorry Mrs. Steel, admired the little I had read about in his book on Nick, his patience cooperation with you, love makes all things possible. I know you have strength to bear everything, but would like to share with you read the booklet “WHEN A LOVED ONE DIES” Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    Remember that God is a living god and not for the dead because they all live in his memory until the day of resurrection. (John 5:28,29)
    A big hug with all chastity
    José Ropero

  19. Sylvia March 4, 2011 4:15 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. John Traina leaves a huge void in all your lives. But I do believe that you are very fortunate to have had this time with this obviously wonderful man. Much strength to you and your children in this sad time.
    Love, Sylvia

  20. Mary March 5, 2011 8:33 am

    After reading the book about your son And so many other of your books I feel like I am a friend of yours. I am so very sorry to hear the death of John I know it will be a loss fir u and your. Children he was a good man and father
    thank you for sharing the newspaper cliping with me and all ur readers
    God bless all of you

  21. nathie March 7, 2011 8:01 am

    Juz found out about ds website n been reading abt u wen I suddenly came across dis sad news.I’m so spring for ur loss.I loved ol d dedications u wrot abt him I’m ur books..I’m sori abt nick too.

  22. Mary Keay March 8, 2011 10:14 am

    Dear Danielle

    I am sorry for your loss With heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
    Our deepest sympathies during your time of loss”
    Peace, prayers and blessings.
    Mary & Family:)

  23. Jan Fisher March 15, 2011 8:05 pm

    In 1953, I was waiting for the Sacramento Street bus on the corner of Sacramento and Buchanan. I was 23, fresh out of college in Washington State, and working for American President Lines. Standing on that same corner was a young man, incredibly handsome, with a great smile. He immediately struck up a conversation and we quickly discovered we shared a lot of interests including a love of the shipping industry. We became good friends. We rode the bus together every day for a year. We had drinks together a time or two…but always just as good friends. I became engaged during that time and John was at our wedding. His present to us was a lovely crystal bowl which I have always treasured. My husband and I moved to southern California and I never saw John again. One doesn’t forget a good friend though. Ever! I am so sorry for his family…what a terrible loss. But, what a life he lived!

  24. Anadil Khan March 16, 2011 11:15 pm

    Dear Danielle,

    Thanks for sharing all this. Really and truly touched by your amazing story, its like a fairytale story itself . I am a very very big fan of your’s and have been reading and collecting each book when it comes out.
    May God give you and your children the courage and you always remember John in the same happy way and cherish the happy moments you all spent together.

    Love u
    Karachi, Pakistan

  25. Rick Bradley March 21, 2011 12:11 pm

    I am a 78 year old friend of John Traina, who has known him since I was born in 1932 at the Presido Wall at 3449 Pacific Ave. between Laurel and Locust, San Francisco. My parents and his parents were friends and they would invite the Trainas to our summer home at Clear Lake. There are many black and white photos of John, his sister Marissa, who I understand just suffered a severe stroke, and his parents at Clear Lake as early as 1934 with John, Marissa and I at ages 2, 3 and 1, respectively in a big water tub on the lawn overlooking the Lake. Another shows John, then “Jackie” on the porch in 1938. The photo shows my middle brother Clay at age 2 sitting on our Collie dog Queenie, Jackie petting Quenie and Ricky (me) looking at the camera.

    John and I went to Lowell Hight School together.

    Over the years I saw John when he was a purser on the American President Line U.S.S. Hoover in port at Yokohama, when I was stationed at a Naval Air Facility in Oppama, Japan during Korean Service in 1954-1955.

    I visited his office at 650 California St. S.F.,when his had a beautiful walnut paneled office with American President Lines. Ironically, my first law firm, Low, Ball and Lynch moved there from the Alcoa Bldg. after I left in 1969.

    As the years went on I visited his first home with Danelle Steel on Jackson St. to give then a framed enlargement of the 1934 photo in the tub at Clear Lake. Danelle, who would write all night and take her time getting ready the next day called down from up stairs at 10am that she was not dressd and the John would love the picture and would be home later. The photo was left with the maid. I learnedlater the children all wanted the photo in their rooms.

    As the years went on I used old photos of the Traina family from Dad’s albums, enlarged and framed, as an excuse to visit John. On one occasion my ex-sister in law, a well known watercolor artist in Belvedere, Diana Bradley, had used John’s Victorian home on Californa St. and Franklin for one of her “famous” annual calendars, where each month you would get another beautiful painting along with the dates of the month. I obtained the original copy sans calendar, had it framed and dropped in to visit John with another “gift”.

    When John moved to the 3022 Washington St. Firehouse, I visited him again with photos.
    And I took a photo of John in front of the home/firehouse next to his antique fire engine.

    Later I visited his beautiful vineyard/ranch home in the Napa Valley at Oakville with more photos and was fortunate enough to be there at the same time as his two sons from the marriage to Dede Wilsey, Trevor and Todd Traina. I took a photo of John with his two sons before we went to lunch in Yountville.

    Shortly thereafter I took my nearly 100 year old Mother, Helen, for a visit in the Napa Valley. John was most gracious and showed her around the property before sitting on his porch looking down the valley through his vineyards, sipping a glass of his Traina Cabernet.

    Still later my love of my life, Judy O’Connor and I were invited to his Fourth of July picnic
    extravaganzas at the Oakville home, which he gave every two years for a few years. I took many photos, all of which are in my photo albums just like Dad.

    I was planning to visit him with Judy again, when I read the shoking news by way of a one day
    article in the “In Memory” Column of the S.F. Chronicle, Sunday February 6 just 5 days before his “Celebration of Life” at the S.F. Maritime Museun, Friday February 11. We were not invited to the “big reception” at the Danelle Steel home that was once Adolph and Alma Sprekels
    Mansion on Washing St.,which you can see in the Frank Sinatra movie,”Pal Joey” 1957 (DVD 2005). the inside shots are from elsewhere.

    While I thought John Traina would live forever,
    he will live forever in my fond memories of him.

    God Bless Dede, Danelle and all his children.

    Frederick (Rick) W. Bradley, lifetime friend.

  26. Liann Beck March 22, 2011 12:37 pm

    I just came across this blog of yours and it touched my heart. I am so sorry for the loss of a very handsome man. I myself just lost my 30 yr old son to brain cancer, but I have his little boy Ian who is 5 who is a miniature of my son. It’s so hard to lose a child, I know what you went through losing your son. Danielle, I love you and all your books. I have been reading them since I was a teenager and I am now 52. You are so beautiful and have a wonderful life, children etc. I was born in San Francisco and now live in Florida. Can’t wait for your book to come out April 5th, I’ve asked my other son to buy it for my birthday. Love always

  27. Linda Mosby March 23, 2011 3:41 pm

    I am so sorry to read about your loss. I do pray that God will continue to keep you all in his care during this time. I just love the story of his life and the life he shared with DS and his entire family. Continue to trust in the Lord, and he will be with you every step of the way until you meet your beloved family member again. RIP Mr. John Traina.

    Linda Mosby

  28. nicki mccombie March 23, 2011 4:34 pm

    sorry to here of your ex-husbands passing i have just read your book about nick touch my heart and soul brought the book thinking it was one of your romances been signed off from work depresion didnt think i could read the book the pain you have been through broke my heart looked at the photos in the book before i readed it my thought was did he died on my birthday which is 9/20 you dont say the date but i have since found out was the 9/20/1997 i feel a real conection to the story you told please reply nicki

  29. KLAUS R. HILBERT VON HAGEN March 26, 2011 6:34 am

    What a wonderful story or warmth, love, without animosity due to a divorce. Remaining friends after so many years. Wonderful. I did not know Mr. Traina personally but knew of him as being one of the last Men of Elegance, a reminder of times long gone. I have one of his books, as a memento of a wonderful and surely not to be forgotten human being.
    Thank you for writing such a wonderful story.
    My deepest sympathies to the entire family,
    Klaus R.Hilbert von Hagen, Morgan Hill, California.

  30. Judith A. Seifried March 30, 2011 4:06 am

    Dear Ms. Steel,

    Please accept my sympathy for your loss. John must have been a remarkable person and his passing leaves a large emptiness in the world.

    I just completed reading “His Bright Light” about your son Nicky. It was the most moving and touching book I’ve ever read. My heart goes out to you for the endless effort you put forth on his behalf. He was truly blessed to have you as his mother.

    I believe Dr. Seifried, who was a major part of his story, is my cousin Stanley from Orville, Ohio.

    Our family suffered a devastating loss when my neice took her life at 34. We didn’t have any clue that she was suffering so badly. She covered it well and it was only after her death that it became apparent that she was bipolar. We didn’t have a chance to get her the help she needed and a beautiful life was wasted.

    Thank you for writing Nicky’s story, as it may help another family understand what to look for early in a child’s life, and perhaps be able to get help sooner and save a life.

    God Bless you and keep you in his loving arms.

    Judith Seifried

  31. carol kramer March 30, 2011 5:37 am

    Dear Danielle I am 49 years old and have rean all of your books starting when I was a young teen.
    I very much related to your book about your son Nick.
    I too had a daughter,Danielle whom I named after my favorite author!
    She was Bipolar Manic Depressed Like your son,I did everything I could to help her doctors,medicines putting her in rehab in hospitals and anything I could.Saddly on May 5 2010 I lost my baby she was only 18 years old to an accidental overdose.Now I am trying to go on without her it is not easy. I was hoping to hear from you to see if you could email me and let me know how do I survive this.
    Sincerely,Carol kramer

  32. Kim April 7, 2011 6:09 am

    Dear Danielle and Family,

    My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your children. It is never easy to lose a parent whether you are in your 20’s or 50’s. I am in my mid-40’s and lost my mother 10 years ago. Still to this day something will happen that I want to share and I will think “I’ll call Mom”. Or I want advice and will attempt the same thing. The other significant person who helped raise me was my mother’s mother. I was only 22 when she passed. But to me it was like losing a parent because we lived with her. Though it feels like a part of you is missing and like there is a hole in your heart now, time does heal. The pain never truly goes away, but the ability to remember all of those wonderful things about your childhood will eventually make you smile and laugh instead of cry. Your children are very blessed to have you and each other that they can lean on during this time. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your children during this difficult time.



  33. Tara Evans April 11, 2011 11:00 am

    I just read about this. I worked in Mr. Traina’s house for a short time. He was such a fun man and always, always, put his children first. He was so amazed by them and excited to watch their pursuits in life. He was interested in conversations about new things and really seemed to enjoy the variety of life. We lost the head of our family last year. It’s amazing how often I think of him. Much of who I am revolves around his views of life and obligation to community. I am sure your family will find Mr. Traina’s mark in many things they do. His ways will live on through them.

  34. Sue April 11, 2011 6:05 pm

    John sounded like a wonderful person. I am so glad you got to experience a great love in your life. I am so sorry to hear you lost him.

    Did you ever write a book about your lives together in Napa?? I would love to read that one??

  35. Ashley April 12, 2011 7:21 pm

    I am sorry for your loss of a loved one.

  36. Yoko Yanari May 19, 2011 6:10 pm

    Please accept my deepest sympathy at your loss. Having only recently been informed of John Traina’s passing – via a chance reading of Stanford Magazine that published alumni news – I must say I was quite shocked. I can only imagine what a depth-charge this is to your family and children. My heart goes out to you and yours.
    With love,

  37. Mike Reid August 14, 2012 4:08 pm

    Hi Danielle – this is quite a story – I was curious & thought I’d take a look at your different stories – actually I was checking to see if you wrote a new story. Sounds like he was a great husband & father to all. Godbless


  38. Joan Bell Dakin September 6, 2012 12:56 pm

    I just found out about John Traina’s passing, living in Arizona now. I worked for John in the late 70’s at Prudential-Grace and Delta Steamship Lines. Looking back at those times, I now realize that the fun we had there, the marvelous parties the company gave for their employees, the opportunites to grow and advance had a lot to do with “Mr. Traina” as a boss. I made life-long friends there, and my first husband, Capt. Don Cowan, thoroughly enjoyed the times he traveled with John, or ran into him and Danielle on Union Street where we lived. John is missed, all my prayers and thoughts for his family.

  39. afaf sherbiny February 1, 2013 7:10 am

    What a wonderful person you danielle few people are so grateful these days no you are so creative having such a husband beside you.

  40. afaf sherbiny February 1, 2013 1:40 pm

    What a wonderful person you are danielle . I can imagine the big loss because i lost a dear husband too .but such gratitude is rarely seen nowadays specially after a divorce and continuing to be friends ..both of you are great people. You still have beautiful memories to live with after a life with john.

  41. Victor Gentile April 4, 2013 6:42 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your former husband, but more importantly, a beautiful tribute to a fine human being. What a joy for me to read that there are still people like you who are so evolved who can express these wonderful thoughts. Thank you for sharing both your sadness and joy.

  42. Janet Wade May 8, 2013 7:42 am

    I found this quite by accident as I was looking for a place to comment on your book about your son,Nick, who so loved John Traina. I recently read your book and today I was looking for a way to comment on it. I can’t tell you how much I lvoed the book and then I pulled up this link. I didn’t know that John had died, I am so sorry for your loss, How lucky you all were to have had such a wonderful time together. There is always enough love to go around, but it is rare to find a family who embraces that love with the ex’es etc. Thank you for all your sharing with us, your readers. Janet

  43. Reshma Kelly May 27, 2013 9:03 am

    I was looking for a list of your books so that I can purchase to read. I came upon this link by accident about your husband, John Traina. I read it through and found this to be truly a love story. I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s passing away, who was such a wonderful and delightful human being to you and your children. Please accept my sympathies and I know that you and your family still miss him so much! May he rest in peace…
    P.S. Your novels are the BEST!! Love you DS.

    Best Regards
    Reshma Kelly

  44. Suzie Orrill July 9, 2013 7:43 pm

    I had no idea John had passed away. I was looking for when Danielles next book would be available (I have them all except for the poem one) and I ran across this article. I am sorry for Danielle and her children. I always enjoyed her dedications to him in her books, and the obvious love they shared. My heart breaks for them, even 2+ years later. Suzie Orrill

  45. John Traina August 2, 2013 2:29 pm

    Dear Danielle, I just came across this sad announcement and although I never met John, I could not help myself from sending you and your family my deepest sympathy. From what you shared, it sounds like John was one hell of a good man; may his soul R.I.P.


    John Traina

  46. Jennifer Nixon August 29, 2013 7:00 pm

    Danielle I’m sorry you have lost the shine in your sun! Wow sounded
    Ike a great marriage, what a family, I hope you find happy ness you deserve it!

  47. Carrie (Rosenfeld) van de Ven January 1, 2014 1:00 am

    Dear Danielle,

    I had the pleasure of working with John when I lived in Vancouver as his agent for both the Delta Steamship and Pearl Cruises lines. You and I were expecting a baby in 1983 and we spoke once as you were looking fir a Nanny. Anyway, I was in San Francisco in Oct. 2013 on business and decided to look him up . I was so saddened by the news of his passing. John always seemed larger than life to me and was a boss who gave me much good business advice that has stood me well throughout the years. I learned alot from him. Please accept my heartfelt though late condolences

  48. D'sali October 5, 2014 1:00 am

    my wife came back,..before then I didn’t know where to turn. My wife of 16 years wanted to leave me. I contacted prophet mica i saw reviews about online and from a friend, we worked together for a couple days and the last day she came home after work with a bottle of wine and said she wanted to talk. She said what a mistake she made and we have never looked back. Thanks for all your help prophet mica, you really gave me my life back with my wife.. prophet’s website; I’m glad sincere persons like this still exist.

  49. Samantha Clarke April 28, 2015 6:07 am

    Hello Ms. Danielle Steel
    First i would like to convey my condolences to you and the family if I have learned anything from this is that things happen for a reason and there is no running away from it whether its good or bad what it is you’ve always inspired me to be myself and do what is right from all the books that i have read of yours but the most moving book of them all is about your son Nick and the life which he had with you and your husband if there is anything i would want to be in life it would have to be a life of writing and what my inner thought bring and make them come to life…..
    If there is anything that i believe in that would be someone above who watches all of us and will be watching over your son and your husband
    I would love to meet you one day and that would be a dream come true for me
    Samantha Clarke

  50. Rick Bradley April 29, 2015 1:53 pm

    I knew John Traina since age 2, Grant Grammar School, Lowell High School and thereafter through the years. He was a really nice guy, who will be missed by so many.

  51. diana podowski June 9, 2015 8:51 am

    So very sorry for your loss n the loss of your son threw all the tradegy u experience u still continue to write the best book which I enjoy so very much sending u much love n prayers

  52. Debbie Banahan March 22, 2017 8:54 am

    I loved what you, Danielle Steel, my favorite novelist wrote about your former spouse, John Traina. You certainly have a way with words and you described him with such detail. What impressed me was the fact that he continued to share holidays with his children in spite of being divorced. That was admirable! I appreciated his positive spirit just

    like my Dads. Let him rest in peace ….
    With Sympathy and Admiration for your Writings!
    Debbie Banahan
    PS I just read The Award and cried my eyes out! Gaelle was sooo real!

  53. Michele Ricard April 23, 2017 6:37 am

    Chère Danielle,je me sens si proche de vous et je partage votre peine d’avoir perdu John que vous aimez tant,ayant moi aussi perdu mes deux époux,le premier,bi-polaire,s’est suicidé.Mais je voudrais vous parler de Nick…Sa photo sur le livre m’a causé un grand choc,il en émanait douceur ,force et fragilité,j’ai tout lu en une nuit,il m’a fait rire,trembler,pleurer et depuis Nicky est dans mon coeur pour toujours.j’ai près de soixante-dix et je mène moi aussi un terrible combat contre cette implacable maladie qui a saccagé ma vie,ma propre bi-polarité,je le mène seule,hélas!Je vous admire pour cet immense amour que vous lui avez donné,et l’amour est plus fort que la mort,un jour nous les retrouverons et nous serons tous ensemble dans la paix.Je prie pour lui et pour vous.Affectueusement,Michèle.

  54. Shawn DeCoste August 6, 2017 12:24 am

    God Bless all of you. I will say many prayers for you. If it’s too trivial I apologize but I read a few of the comments here and they left images of John that I really found interesting. There was a fire house, and a crystal bowl, and precious antiques, and John served as someone called a purser, and there was a painting of the month calendar club, and there were weddings, and admirers, and people from school, and some elder people who must have lived to be very wize, and book dedications, and high aspirations for the kids and family. It’s powerfully rich and precious like the pictures on the back of my mom’s books and her dresses.

    God Bless YOU!

  55. Angela Angus January 5, 2018 11:51 am

    Dear Mrs. Steel I just read your kind and heartwarming life of your late husband
    Mr. Traina. He must have been an extra ordinary man and the way you described him
    makes me feel that I know him too.

    Thank you for sharing your life with him to your readers.

    I also want to thank you for years of enjoyment while reading your books. I find
    it impossible to put one of your books down for too long without taking a little
    time out to read more as the day goes on. You are truly amazing and so talented.

    I wish I could meet you some day because you have so much warmth and all I can
    say is that the people who know you and are part of your life are very very
    fortunate. Thank you again for all the happiness you have brought to us.

    Angela Angus, Toronto, Ontario Canada

    born in Vienna Austria a city that I truly love.

  56. Kathy Gordon November 19, 2018 4:11 pm

    Dear Danielle, I worked for the Trains for 13 months when Trevor and Todd were 2 and 3 years old. I met up with Todd in Hollywood after he was grown, and we went shopping and had a hilarious time together. I have always thought of Todd and Trevor as “my boys”. It broke my heart to leave them, but I had to move on. I am glad I was able to reunite with Todd if only for a couple of hours. He reassured me that he loved you and was happy in your home. He had only praise for you and John as parents, and I was very glad to hear it. I was shocked to hear of John’s death, and thank you for writing this eloquent memoir. It brought back some fond memories of the days I spent in San Francisco and Napa. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    I don’t read or respond to emails much anymore because my computer went belly up, but I hope you will extend my best wishes to all.
    Holidays bring up a lot of memories. My sympathies are with you and your family. Be well. May God bless you and yours.
    Although it was about 45 years ago that I was a nanny, I don’t think a day has gone by that I didn’t think of the boys or pray for their well being. I am very proud to find that they will be entering the diplomatic corps. I’m sure they will charm the socks off the Austrians in true Traina style.
    Much love,
    Kathy Hunt Gordon

  57. Judith Bertinato November 1, 2019 6:07 pm

    Dear Danielle
    I have always been a fan of your novels and contacting someone of your renown is something I have never done before. My friend Connie Herbert is also a great fan of yours and when we were talking the other day about one of your books we realised that we didn’t know very much about you even though Connie especially has read so many of your books so I thought that I would Google you . We both think that your professional life is astounding and your private life is to be admired. We both feel for your loss as we have both lost sons. Mine in an accident and Connie’s to cancer.

    Kind Regards Judy

  58. […] de Steele. Después de su separación, se conocieron y se enamoraron rápidamente, ya que ella se contó a sí mismaComen en Año Nuevo de 1981, él la presentó el Día de San Valentín y se casaron en junio. Traina […]

  59. […] buenos amigos de Steele. Tras su separación, quedaron y se enamoraron rápidamente, como ella misma ha contado: almorzaron en Año Nuevo de 1981, él le propuso matrimonio en San Valentín y se casaron en […]

  60. […] friends with Steele. After their separation, they hung out and fell in love quickly, just like her herself has countedThey had lunch on New Years 1981, he proposed to her on Valentine’s Day, and they were married […]

  61. […] buenos amigos de Steele. Tras su separación, quedaron y se enamoraron rápidamente, como ella misma ha contado: almorzaron en Año Nuevo de 1981, él le propuso matrimonio en San Valentín y se casaron en […]

  62. Elena Caputo October 23, 2021 9:55 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a man who added a lot to life. He sounds so exciting, every day was a new adventure to him. You are so lucky to have been a big part of his life. God Bless, he will always be here with you and your family, because he was such a big part of it. Love to all .

  63. Cristiana Cruz January 21, 2022 10:58 pm

    I have always enjoyed Danielle Steel books ,but after reading this article.I respect and admire her!