Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life Sketch of David Earl Stottlemyer


David Earl Stottlemyer
October 24, 1953 - May 28, 2013

      
       David Earl Stottlemyer was born on October 24, 1953 in Corona, CA in the old Corona Community Hospital.  He passed to his rest in his home near Kooskia, Idaho (Pronounced: Koos-kee) on  May 28, 2013.  He was 59 years, 7 months, 5 days old.
       He is survived by his wife, Cheryl and by their two daughters: Jolene and Kayla also of Kooskia, Idaho.
       David is also survived by his mother, Carol Jean Stottlemyer of Riverside, CA and by his brothers Chris and his wife Dorinda of Grand Terrace, CA, Craig and his wife Debbie Dee of Grand Terrace, CA and by his sister, Debi Sue Barnhart-Stottlemyer of Riverside, California.
       David is survived by 4 Nephews and 3 Nieces:  Michael, Nichole, Beth Ann, Thomas, Mathew, Meghan and Marshal, also a grand nephew Brayden and grand niece Brooklyn.
       He was preceded in death by; his father, Harvey Stottlemyer, by his brother-in-law, Wayne Barnhart and both Borg and Stottlemyer grandparents.
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       David Stottlemyer was born October 24, 1953 in Corona, California.   He was the first of four children born to his parents, Harvey and Carol Jean Stottlemyer.    His dad was in the military, serving in post Korean War, Okinawa, in an army hospital.  After David was born, His dad built the home David would grow up in on the corner of Norwood and College Avenues in La Sierra (Arlington).  When David was two years old the family moved in, and it is still the home of David's mother and sister 57 years later.
       In 1957 David was joined by his twin brothers Chris and Craig.  And Debi Sue joined the family a few years later, in 1962.
       David went to school at La Sierra Demonstration School, which became La Sierra Elementary.  He continued on the same campus and was a 12-year student there, graduating in 1972 from La Sierra Academy. As a graduation gift, the whole family took a vacation to the Civil War Battlefields. At least the ones not under water from Hurricane Agnes.
       During David's childhood and youth, his parents were the directors of the Pathfinder club.  This ministry involved the whole family in Pathfinder activities on Tuesday nights and weekend campouts, conference camporees, bike-a-thons and fairs.  A beloved annual club trip was taken to either Lawler Lodge or Lawler Alpine area, where there was always an amazing and intense Sunday morning game of capture the flag, which David would organize and passionately participate in.
       David went on to college at the newly named Loma Linda University - La Sierra Campus.  He ultimately earned a Bachelors Degree in Intensive Food Production, a mixture of the Biology and Agriculture disciplines, graduating in 1977 from the La Sierra Campus.
       As a child, David used to mow lawns in the neighborhood.  Later, while in college, he worked for the La Sierra College Farm.  He could often be seen hoisting a large aluminum pipe to his shoulder and carrying it to a new section of the alfalfa pastures.  He did a bit of everything for them - plowing, planting, spraying, harvesting, pitching silage, etc.
       In 1975, God brought something wonderful to the direction of David's life.  He had never been a camper at summer camp.  In fact he was kind of prejudiced against the whole summer camp experience. Friends who were camp staff would come back from their summers singing these "insipid" songs, as David would call them.
       One day at a tire store, David was getting new tires for his van...and so was a man David recognized from Pathfinder functions.  David couldn't remember his name, but he snuck a peek at the paper work.  "Dan Savino."
       Then David introduced himself as if he remembered him.. "Elder Dan Savino.  Hello."  They got to talking and Elder Savino tried to get David to commit to being a youth pastor for the summer.  David didn't want to do that...he was interested in Agriculture. 
       David had prayed a prayer.  "God this is what I'm going to do...but I'm open to You opening and closing doors."  Well, God was opening a door for David.  When he finally got Elder Savino to give up on the youth pastor idea, he shifted tactics and suggested that David apply for summer camp.
       David filled out an application, knowing that since he didn't play a band instrument there was no way he'd be accepted for a staff position.  He didn't know that Dan was the director of the camp.  At the interview, David said the last question was "Do you play a band instrument?"  David said "No."...but was hired anyway...and worked there the summer of 1975.
       David said working at camp was one of the best things God ever brought into his life, and those of us who know of his service there would have to agree!  David exemplified the ideals of camp:  A committed Christian role model that showed people that following Jesus was the best thing you could ever do.
       In that first summer, David tells a story about "cutting the mustard" with Joe Savino.  It was their term for sneaking away to the Hopi cabin to visit and eat Macadamia nuts.  If something was really cool or good...they'd say "This really cuts the mustard."
       Once when they were thus occupied, they heard the jeep buggy usually driven by Dan Savino coming up the road.  They feared they would be busted.  There they were...windows propped wide open, goofing off.  And Joe had to appear as the model staff member for his older brother, the camp director.
       "What shall we do?" Joe asked in a panic. David, always the quick thinker said that since they were already hiding on their knees on the floor that they close their eyes and start saying "Lord, be with Elder Savino as he leads this great camp...."  It termed out the driver was one of the camp maintenance staff, and they were not caught "cutting the mustard." after all.
       The next Spring, David prayed a new prayer of submission to God.  "I'll follow You, Lord." Very shortly he was walking through another open door: accepting a student mission assignment from March - December 1976 at the Adventist Seminary of West Africa in Nigeria.  He helped there on an emergency basis, serving as interim manager of the school farm.  He also taught some guitar lessons to some of the kids on campus. 
       He told a true story of the time an amazing natural event occurred: an army of ants invaded his mission residence...and confined their occupation to the kitchen and pantry.  They came in the evening and left in the morning, carrying nearly every cockroach out on their backs with their legs helplessly wiggling in the air.
       When David returned, he again worked at Pine Springs Ranch.  He ended up working there a total of 6 summers, between 1975-1981.  In his second summer there, he transitioned to being the Nature Assistant with Bob Cook, then Nature Director (leading trips to the beach and the desert) and finally 49er Director, a program of history which he designed and wrote about California's Gold Rush, where the children would learn how to operate a sluice and pan for gold.  There were many campers that caught gold fever from David and his crew.
       David and his friend Mick Macomber also were responsible for improving the ministry of the 49er Outpost facility and program at Pine Springs Ranch.  Mick had the vision for changing the program to a dramatic flow of connected songs, stories and skits that started from the moment the campers stepped foot in the outpost area.  Together, they also had the vision to turn a small hole in a granite knoll into a walk through mine experience.  A friend of the camp did the blasting and added tracks and mine cars.  Dave and Mick also built a store front set, installed camper seating and other additions that made the location look very much like an old mining town.  In time, through their consecrated efforts, that outpost program, performed 16 times each summer, went from being the place you wanted to avoid...to the place you wanted to be!
       David also brought great energy and enthusiasm to his work for the Ranch.  If he saw work, he did it.  If he could think of an improvement, he's suggest it and then volunteer to get it done.  His camp friends still remember his characterizations in Sunday night skits ("Heavy Dirt!"), Sabbath School programs (The Hermit and the King) and the Walk-through-the Bible skits. (Goliath and the Pharisee and the Publican).
       David set an example for many others to also work at camp.  His brother Chris joined the fun quite quickly, and then a few years later Debi joined also.  He also mentored many other young adults from the Corona Seventh-day Adventist church to spend their summers in this Christian service.
       During the school terms back home in Riverside, David earned a Masters of Science in Biology from Loma Linda University-Loma Linda Campus, while working at the college.  Some of the time he worked at the creamery and some of the time as a biology lab instructor.
       For many years, the Stottlemyer/Borg families would take an August vacation trip up to Southern Oregon.  Grandparents and Uncles would join the caravan, along with some close friends and they would end up at Greyback Camp Ground, where they would pick black-berries in the morning (in search of the Mother Berry), swim in the creek in the afternoons (later panning for gold), make a Dairy Queen run in the early evening and spend the dark hours playing "Russian Car" (You don't want to know the rules!) and/or singing around the camp fire.
       In September 1980... Cheryl Medlin was casually, kind-of, sort-of dating Chris Stottlemyer...She had heard about his older brother David and David had heard about Cheryl.  They didn't meet until one day when Cheryl went for a jog with her roommate and Chris...and they stopped by the Stottlemyer's house.  David just happened to be in town, as he was spending that year working in Maintenance at Pine Springs Ranch. Eventually and shortly thereafter, Chris became interested in Dorinda (whom he married) and David and Cheryl became very interested in each other. 
       A friendship deepened between David and Cheryl, but not without some bumps in the road.  In the summer of 1981, David and Cheryl broke up briefly for the admitted reason that they were not growing spiritually together.  Cheryl says that it was on the back porch of the old lodge at Pine Springs Ranch that David sat down and invited Cheryl to accept Jesus into her heart.  She went back to her lodge room and was thinking about what David has said.  That night, she accepted Jesus and came out beaming the next morning.  David was skeptical at first...but saw a change in Cheryl over the next few weeks.  So, even though Cheryl never worked at Pine Springs, it played a key role in being a place where God brought them together again.
       Cheryl was baptized June of 1982, and on March 19, 1983 David and Cheryl were married at the Corona Church.   2013 is their 30th anniversary year.
       Their first home together was a small, older home on Pierce Street, near the Collette Avenue intersection.  A little while later, David and Cheryl moved to the home they bought near Grand Terrace.
       Following his Master's program, David started teaching at the LLU - La Sierra campus. His classes were:  Country Living, Vegetable Gardening, Greenhouse Culture and Organic Gardening among others.  After 7 years of work, in 1988, the Agriculture Department was closed and David was left looking for work.  Years later; the dairy was closed, the cows were sold and all the farmland was developed into the houses, businesses and new university entrance seen in La Sierra today.
       David continued his career with a position at UCR (University of California; Riverside) in October of 1988.  David's first work was for Jewel Meyer of Cooperative Extension doing irrigation research on Avocados. Later David worked for Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia and transitioned to the Avocado breeding program.  So if you enjoy creamy California Avocados; in some ways, you have David to thank.  He was at UCR for a total of 17 years, retiring in 2006.
       During the job change, David and Cheryl were expecting their first child, Jolene. A couple years later, God blessed them with a second daughter: Kayla.  Their family was then complete, and they moved forward together in love for each other.
       Among David's many talents, he was a guitarist and songwriter.  In college, he sang in the group called Daybreak, composed of himself and Mick Macomber on guitar and Harry Hartman on bass.  All three of them would blend their voices in vocal harmonies.  Occasionally Nila Grubbs (now Salisbury) would play the flute with the group.  They did concerts and special music performances all over the Inland Empire area.
       When he wasn't performing, he was leading song services at Sabbath School, Pathfinders or PSR with a large group of friends and their guitars, mandolins, banjos, basses, and even a tipple.  Later, David wrote several songs (more secular songs than religious ones) and shared them with his friend Joe Savino, who recorded two of them on his first album:  "My Jesus Can" and "Take Me Home."
       David always had a wonderful sense of humor.  He and friend Bob Cook founded a fictitious radio station and programming of  "KBAD".  The programs were made up of “local” talent (mostly co-workers from summer camp) interspersed with “fake” commercials and even news reports where their motto was “we bring you the news BEFORE it happens.”  They distributed tapes and CD's of their comedic work to their family and friends for several years. 
       In December 2004, during the world news reports about the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, ...David and Cheryl were moving to Idaho.  2005 was a year of transition and separation for the family.  Cheryl was in Idaho, with the girls, looking for a house to buy and home schooling the girls, while David was in Southern California training his replacement.  He made many trips up and down between the two locations tending to the details of relocation.  The four of them view their move to the country in Idaho as one of the best things they ever did together. 
       For the past decade in Idaho, David and Cheryl and the girls have enjoyed life together.  David, putting his agriculture knowledge to fantastic use, turned their side yard into a mammoth garden, with fruit trees, berry vines and vegetable beds.    All of that land was tilled by hand, with David double digging the planting beds.  They were founding partners in a summer farmers market.  Local people said that their booth was very attractive; with banners, fresh produce and mini-concerts of music by David (playing guitar), Jolene (on harp) and Kayla (playing violin).  He amazed his friends at the market with what he could grow in the Idaho climate, including locally grown artichokes.
       In recent years, David also authored a series of lectures on gardening - and has presented these seminars in many churches and community centers in Southern California, Washington, Oklahoma, Missouri and Idaho.   He received many callbacks to repeat the seminar in the same location.  David's enthusiastic personality and good humor came through in these teaching moments, making them memorable events for all in attendance.
       In the Spring of 2008, David and family returned from a mission trip to Bolivia; the only mission trip they have participated together as a family.  At that time, David noticed a small swelling on the side of his neck.  It wasn't painful.  Antibiotics didn't take care of it.  They watched it for a few months, and then sought medical help.  A biopsy didn't show anything.  After 3 months of tests without a diagnosis, a doctor said "I'm cutting you open to find out what this is.   I can't wait any longer."   It ended up being a spontaneous eruption of a rare Thyroid cancer.  David had endured two major surgeries - one on his neck and a couple of years later one that removed most (two-thirds) of his right lung.  David and Cheryl sought the best medical care for him, and Cheryl also provided amazing medical and nutritional support at home.  Jolene and Kayla have been amazing daughters supporting their dad and mom through every twist and turn during these years of David's infirmity.
      
       God, by His sovereign grace, has laid David to rest - no more pain and no more struggle. He has entered the temporary sleep of death.  Soon, Jesus will come and call him forth to everlasting life in heaven and on the earth made new.  It is the reality of the truth of the resurrection of the dead that gives hope and comfort to us today.  Our heart tells us it will be "soon", but our mind reminds us it won't be soon enough.
       Our lives have been enriched because we loved and were loved by David Stottlemyer.  He has been a Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Nephew, Uncle and Friend!   And add to that...he was Ranger Dave!  He enriched the lives of so many people and he will be truly missed.  We place our hope in the resurrection and the reunion that awaits us all in heaven.  May God bless us with His comfort and His peace this hour...and always.

- Prepared by David, Cheryl, Jolene and Kayla Stottlemyer along with the rest of the family; with Elder O. Kris Widmer
Begun:  March 7, 2013,    Finished June 3, 2013