BISBEE — A longtime Bisbee resident was found dead outside his house on Sunday, the apparent victim of a bee attack, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said.
Dan Oldfield, 73, was discovered hunched over a bench inside a shed at his property on North Lead Street, just off Highway 80, Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas said Monday. Oldfield was found by one of his employees at 10:45 a.m.
“Deputies found several bees under his shirt,” Capas said. “There were stingers all over his body.”
Capas said Oldfield’s body was taken to Tucson to the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.
A veteran contractor who ran Mile High Enterprises in Lowell, Oldfield’s death hit his friends hard on Monday.
News of Oldfield’s death saddened Reed Booth, owner of Killer Bee Wild Desert Honey. Booth, who does beehive removals all over the state, said he and Oldfield had known each other for at least 30 years.
“I’m totally shocked and saddened by his death, which was totally unnecessary,” Booth said. “Dan was definitely one of the characters (in town.)”
Booth said he was told that Oldfield was at his property on North Lead Street just outside Bisbee on Sunday and was operating a backhoe when he was attacked by Africanized bees.
“He ran into a shed,” Booth said. “His son said there were thousands of bees on the floor.”
Bisbee mayoral candidate Ken Budge was on Oldfield’s property just moments before Oldfield was found by one of his workers.
“I went there at 10:15,” Budge said. “I talked to one of his workers and they said he was around somewhere.”
Budge said he walked around the property and another Oldfield employee told him Oldfield was working with the backhoe.
“I just gave up looking for him and left,” Budge said. “I guess after I left the workers began looking for him and that’s when they found him in the paint shed. It’s a tragedy.”
Oldfield’s son Luke Oldfield, who worked with his father at Mile High Enterprises, declined comment Monday.
Bisbee Vogue Inc. President Cynthia Conroy, another longtime Bisbee resident and founder of the Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb event, called Oldfield’s passing a “real loss.”
“Dan Oldfield was a Bisbee modern-day pioneer leading the way with roofing, tree trimming and environmental, novel ideas,” Conroy said in a text message. “A real loss.”
Former Bisbee mayor Tom Wheeler agreed.
“He was a hard worker, I’m still in shock about it,” Wheeler said. “He sure will be missed in this community.”
Booth said he would be heading to Oldfield’s property Tuesday morning to search for the beehive.
“My advice is, if you know you have a hive on your property, get it removed,” Booth said. “Don’t try to do it yourself. You keep an eye out for snakes (in this area), also keep an eye out for bees.”