NDIA honors the memory of Barbara McDaniel, longtime NTSA and I/ITSEC leader
ARLINGTON, VA -- Barbara Louise “Babs” McDaniel, 69, who coordinated the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference since 1993 and helped make it the largest event of its kind in the world, passed away Feb. 1, the National Training and Simulation Association announces.
McDaniel had been ill with cancer for several years, her husband Michael McDaniel said, and she passed surrounded by her loving family. High school sweethearts, the McDaniels married Sept. 13, 1969, and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last fall. McDaniel was known for her warm nature and strong work ethic, as well as her love of family. 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, KS, to John and Betty Stuckey. She grew up in Pittsburg and eventually graduated from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She began her career as an educator and taught students in Kansas and Iowa until the McDaniels moved to the Washington, DC, area in 1992.
It was there that McDaniel began a second career with NTSA as head staff member of its annual I/ITSEC conference. McDaniel elevated the conference’s profile among active military and established relationships with each service, a different one of which hosts the yearly event in Orlando. The four-day event now is considered the largest of its kind in the world; it boasts yearly attendance of more than 17,000 people and an exhibit floor featuring more than 500 vendors in the training and simulation field.
McDaniel retired from NTSA in 2017, leaving with a newly established Lifetime Achievement Award dedicated to her in honor of 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 of training and simulation. “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.”
Along with her husband, McDaniel is survived by her son Tim McDaniel and daughter in law Wendy Bolt of Huntington Beach, CA; daughter Sarah Vanover and son in law John Casey of Marina del Rey, CA; and brother and sister in law Phil and Stephanie Stuckey of Crum, TX. Preceding her in death were her parents, and her brother John Stuckey. A celebration of McDaniel’s life will be held Sunday, March 8, at 4 p.m. at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Alexandria, VA. Internment will take place at Crocker Cemetery, Pittsburg, KS, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in McDaniel’s memory may be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.