May 24, 1942 - September 29. 2021
Dave finally lost his battle and passed from complications of the ALS he was diagnosed with a couple of years ago. His wife, Yoshie, was by his side and sent us the following:
Thank you for sending the beautiful flowers to us. David's daughter, Kathy, and I were so happy.
I went to see David one more time yesterday before his cremation. He was dressed with his fish cleaning apron, his signature mug in his left hand and his specific "Flying Tiger" hat on his head, he looked so happy. My heart was lightened and I was able to say good-bye to him for good without any regret.
Thank you to all the Flying Tiger members who said good-bye to him through FaceTime just in time.
Thank you very much for all of your support and arrangement of the reunion over the years. He was always looking forward to seeing the Tigers.
Yoshie (and David)
Dave was an avid Alaskan fisherman on the Kenai. The pictures below were sent to us by Yoshie, the bottom a shot showing Dave with the last fish that he ever caught in his life.
From John Dickson (fellow crewmember)
Dave meant the world to me. He got me on as a young pilot at Tigers and became my mentor. We all have that ONE person who was responsible for our career path, who we wouldn't know where we would be without, and who we will forever be grateful for knowing. Dave was my guy. Rest In Peace my friend.
From Corky Dever (fellow crewmember)
David and I spent a lot of time together in our careers at Tigers. We started out as check second officers. Latter Dave led the team that introduced the B727 and the re-engined 8 into service and he asked me to work for him. I jumped at the chance. He was my boss when he ran the training department and there couldn’t of been a better person to work for.
To say Dave was a great pilot wouldn’t do him justice but he was even a better person.
Not only was he my friend at work, he was my friend in life. Our trips in the High Sierras fishing for “golden trout” with friends and family are memories I will always cherish. One of the high lights of my life was to be able to call Dave friend.
David I miss you and love you.
From Larry Tobin (fellow crewmember)
Dear Dave and Yoshie,
I imagine you are getting a lot more contact from family and friends these days. Like everyone, I'm sorry to hear about the challenges you face, and you may be getting tired of hearing that. I have been thinking about how our paths crossed, and where they've led. Thanks to Jim Handsaker, I started bugging you in 1978 for a job at Flying Tigers. Lucky for me, I did get hired to an airline that was perfect for me with the common domicile, just the right amount of employees, and a broad variety of flying. The ground school was a good indicator of how fulfilling and fun it would be. You certainly had an interesting cross section of talent in your department, both for ground and flight. Years later, when I was just moving into my Las Vegas condo, you called and asked me to fly to PIT to briefly cover initial training for two new hires. It turned out I had two pilots in the sim as well as I started my time as an instructor. That was a hectic time for you as you hustled to cover all the training necessary during that period of growth.
In your office, there was that picture of you in one of your glory moments on the track. I forget if it was at Pasadena City College or at USC, but you'll be amazed to hear that you buy a copy on eBay. The look on your face as you raced was intense. You said you forgot who that guy was, but people remember, particularly since you are in the PCC Hall of Fame and as the fastest living runner of the 100 yard dash at USC. Converting your time for a 100 meter dash, you would have finished 0.59 seconds behind the current world champion, Usain Bolt. PFF .... pretty _ fast!!!
One time in Narita, you and I were walking back from town to the hotel. We followed the highway instead of going the back way. There were picture tiles with Japanese text that were newly set in the sidewalk, and you explained that you were learning how to read Japanese because of a woman with whom you were involved. You proceeded to show off your skills by translating the tiles as we passed them. Of course, you could have told me anything. I was impressed Yoshie meant so much to you. There are probably many such stories that are coming your way as people remember their experiences with you. They are missing our youth so are happy to dust them off to recapture the good and bad times we shared. I hope it brings you pleasure to know how many Flying Tigers were so influenced by you. I guess the last time I saw you and Yoshie was at the New Orleans reunion. We had dinner with the Handsakers and Lanes. In many ways, it was like a layover only with more crews than usual and spouses too. FedEx will never have the same esprit de corps due their size, culture, and scheduling.
Between flights, ground school, and long layovers, Tiger pilots got to become friends as well as colleagues. You might be surprised to know I officiated at Marissa Lane's wedding two years ago. Wayne and Karen are shortly going to become grandparents. Their other daughter, Marianne, eloped. Due to covid, she decided it was easier. This has been my favorite job since retirement. I've performed six marriages so far with one on the back burner. It's great to be part of such joyous occasions. Remember, just like flying the line, it might be a long while between meetings but when they happen, our many shared experiences are the glue that bind us together.
All my best wishes, Larry
From Van Nguyen (Training Scheduler)
Hi Yoshie! I hope this finds you in good health & in good spirits. You’ve been in my thoughts
Dave was a remarkable gentleman that I believe no other person in this world would be able to compete with him. Here are a few of my time working with him.
One of my daughters was in grade school, one of the events at school was a picnic or something where parents were invited to join their children. It was a short event, I was lazy and besides, I already attended her older sister’s event which was the same and didn’t think it was important for me to be there. I already told everyone in the office ahead of time so they’re aware of my being gone for a while. The time came & I was still working away … Dave came over to my desk asking me why I was still working. I told him I may not go because I’m lazy & that I didn’t think it was that important. He sternly scolded me saying he had missed all his children’s events in school when he was flying all over the world. He strongly recommended I should be leaving and didn’t have to worry about coming back to work afterwards. I realized as I was driving to the school that day that I was only thinking of myself & not my daughter’s feeling. When I arrived at her classroom, she was happy to see me. I had never missed any event whether it was her soccer game or what and I simply could not understand why I was thinking the way I did on that day! If it hadn’t been for Dave to scold me, I would have been a “bad” mom.
The other event came on a weekend when an FT plane crashed with the whole crew killed. I heard the news and called Dave at home telling him I would go into the office to get the crew’s training records knowing the FAA would no doubt ask for them. The reason I said that was because I only lived 5-10 minutes away from the office while he lived in Carlsbad which was at least 1.5 hour away. He said:
“No, Van, you stay home with your family, it’s not your job to worry about the FAA. I will be in to get the records ready for them as long as you have all their records in order which I know you do. My job is the Training Mgr to answer any questions the FAA needs. Are the keys in the same place?”
He knows my work ethic and totally trust in my maintaining the training records. As much as I tried to convince him that he would have to make such a long drive to just hand the records to the FAA, he would not take my words for it. What a guy!!!
Yoshie, this was in the 80s, we were young women working full time with young kids. Dave always told us that they respected and appreciated the fact that we were mothers, wives while working full-time to make the living. They always supported us when the kids were sick so we had to stay home taking care of them.
Dave has been an angel to all of us who worked for & with him. I haven’t seen him raising his voice with anybody. When the boys were mad at someone in training, they would be behind closed doors or better yet, took themselves away from the office to have a talk with each other.
You’re welcomed to use any of these memories if you’d like and please feel free to edit them to fit the schedule. Privately, I will treasure all my time working with Dave until we meet again somewhere sometime in the next world.
I don’t want to promise but because I have no idea when, where & how the arrangements are made, I would love to be at the service but if it’s private, I definitely understand. Please let me know if you need anything, Yoshie.
With lots of love,
From Oscar Szigeti (fellow crewmember)
I saw the news on the Tiger website that you’ve been having a rough go of it lately. I’m glad Barney was able to get up and have a visit with you because if anybody can make you feel better it would be spending some time with him.
On behalf of my brothers Jon and Dave and the long long line of Tiger pilots, I know there is a collective sadness on hearing where you are at this point. For many of us that went to work for tigers back in the day you were the chief second officer who set the tone for a fabulous training department and great first experience working for the airlines. And what an experience it was with John Adcock and Jerry Petros along with some great check seconds like Corky Dever, Angie Regina and others who like you were always trying to figure out how to get us through. We love you for it Dave. And you were the one that kept that operation running like a lake. Nice and steady always there for anybody that needed help and a great smile as you helped guide us as we started out in our wonderful career with Tigers. I’m sure the guys of that time couldn’t thank you enough for all you did for us and we all appreciate it.
As I went through my career and eventually a check second and check captain on the DC-8 and then different union positions, I would always use you as the benchmark when I decided how to handle things. I would always say to myself how would Dave handle this situation. How can I make it like a lake and lower the anxiety of the poor bastards having to struggle through training or got in trouble and needed some union assistance.
You’re one of the rare people throughout my career whenever we were in the crew room, coffee shop, hotel and of course the bar etc. whenever your name was brought up it was always a happy time. There were always great Dave stories that everybody enjoyed. If you would’ve been there you would have been laughing with the rest of us having a great time. So like many others, thanks for all the memories we’ve had over the years and continue to enjoy at reunions where you are always an integral part.
So I know you may have some stormy skies ahead and may even ( going back to DC -8 days) require ignition override, boost pumps on, cross feeds open. That long long line will be right there with you with our thoughts and prayers.
All the best,
Anyone else wishing to contribute to this page with archived pictures or testimonials about Dave is encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org