- 80 years old
- Date of birth: Apr 1, 1936
- Place of birth:
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
- Date of passing: Apr 23, 2016
- Place of passing:
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
|If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!|
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, David DeVos, 80, who was born on April 1, 1936 and passed away on April 23, 2016. We will remember him forever.
"Dave’s Eulogy by Melanie
It's impossible to encapsulate a life so varied and vibrant as my Dad's in a few words, but two words that describe him and stand out to me are "choice" and "tradition."
He chose FAITH, FAMILY and FUN and then made it his tradition to live those choices -- it was the song of his life.
My Dad chose FAITH. Once he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he never looked back. He made it his personal tradition to serve with full heart and commitment in the way he:
- loved the Lord
- sought Heaven's inspiration daily
- served others quietly and always
- studied the scriptures
- earnestly prayed
- loved the temple
- taught gospel principles and looked for gospel applications
- fulfilled his church callings with diligence
One of our family Christmas traditions is to write down one gift we will give Christ in the coming year. His most recent one was "I will do whatever He asks of me."
He chose FAMILY. From the selfless care of my Grandparents and tender, loving way he treated my Mom, to the way he mentored, encouraged and challenged my sister, Anna, and I to all the times he was there to celebrate my kids and their activities and accomplishments.
Dad's tradition was honoring his Priesthood, sharing insights he'd gained, fostering creativity, solving problems, providing perspective and spreading joy.
He was always there -- a pillar, a pesterer to excel and one who chose goodness and integrity.
He chose FUN. His traditions of thinking positively, loving to laugh and making others smile were just a few of his amazing qualities.
Dad was bright and positive and let the light of the Christ's gospel shine through him in his affable demeanor and perspective on life.
One such example I remember was when I was headed to college. "Sophisticated" ;) and ready to be so grown up, I was dismayed when I opened a college gift he gave me.
As I unwrapped the package, there sat a most perplexing item -- a set of Kermit the Frog bed sheets. "Dad," I protested. "What on earth? I can't put these on my bed -- I'm in college now! How embarrassing!"
He smiled knowingly and replied "I want you to wake up each day with a smile and a chuckle, and then you can help others smile, too!" How wise. I used those sheets all through college and they still smile at me from my linen closet today.
Dad continued to send us all Emails of thought-provoking articles or funny stories and quotes. He was also in for whatever crazy games, activities or field trip ideas we had. He was ever up for fun and finding the joy in life.
This humble yet amazing man is the most wonderful Father imaginable. He brought such love, happiness, support, enrichment, oportunities and blessings to my life.
Thank you, Dad, for your love for me, for encouraging me and showing the way in so many of life's paths. For choosing, then living, the traditions of faith, family and fun and emulating the Savior so beautifully in so many ways.
You've given us all much to live up to.
Recently, as we gazed together at a temple chandelier, my Dad shared another lesson with me.
"Look at the way the light radiates through those crystals, dispersing color and light. That's like Christ's offering of light to us and how it touches and enlightens everything.
"Also notice though, that if you move yourself away, even a little, from where His light sparkles most, that color and light diminishes.
"That's like our earthly life," he taught. "If Christ's light fades for us, it is because we have moved. His light shines the same, we just have to move back into His path to see it. Don't ever move, Mel. He is always there. Stay in His light."
I will, Dad. You helped teach me that and so much more. I am ever grateful to Heavenly Father for you and I thank you for all you have done and are -- a beacon and a blessing of example, faith, family and fun.
I love you forever, Dad. And as you always said "I'll see you when I see you!" Meantime, I'll carry you in the song of my heart and life.
God be with you till we meet again."
"By Tyler Molinaro as delivered at Dave's memorial service on May 13, 2016.Grandpa Dave by Tyler
I was up in Crossville after returning home from my mission. While
there, I had the chance to go to the dry cleaners, the store, the
office, and around town with my grandfather. We talked about his life,
his perspectives, and the life advice he had for me as I started a new
chapter in my life. I'd like to share those conversations as I
remember them, episodes that encapsulate a lifetime of wisdom.
He handed me a carved wooden trinket. "Teach," it said.
"Thanks grandpa, you know I love to teach."
"Yeah but you missed the more important part." He flipped the trinket
over. "Learn," it now read. "You have to learn before you can teach,
and there's a moment for each of those things."
I always keep that little wooden trinket with me as a reminder of what
is expected of me.
"Grandpa, what are you proudest of in your life?" I asked him as we
drove to the dry cleaner's. He paused for a moment and looked deep in
thought. "Well, there are just about three things. If you want to know
my worldly or career one, it would have to be integrating a college in
the 60's. I was always really proud that I did that. The really
important thing I'm proudest of would have to be finding the church
and being a member of God's true church here on the earth, of holding
the priesthood and staying active and useful to God. Beyond that, what
I'm truly proudest of is somehow convincing your angel grandmother to
marry me and being sealed to her in the temple, and also of being a
part of raising your mother and Anna. There's no greater blessing in
all the world than being sealed to those you love, and I have some
very special women in my life."
"Opportunity is nowhere." He showed me this sign, hanging behind his
desk at work. I looked at it, puzzled. "Look at it again," he said.
"It's all in how you look at life." I tried again and eventually
understood: "Opportunity is now here." That's the way he saw the
Grandpa is a singular man. He has more life experience than anyone
could reasonably expect to, a quick wit, and a sharp mind. I often
told people he was the wisest man I ever met. He was also the most
humble. I'll always remember his glowing perspective on life and the
zeal he had for the gospel-- the absolute knowledge and conviction of
a man alive with the Spirit of Christ. I recall in the last testimony
I heard him give that he said, "we all get so stressed about the
problems we have in the world, the things we see going wrong. But the
secret is this: we are going to win. We are going to win and we are
winning already. God will win and we will win with Him." And Grandpa
won with Him. He lived his mortal life in such a way that there could
be no doubt that he believed and that he knew. He is a servant of
Christ in every way, a man of great faith and great wisdom.
I say that he is a servant of Christ because he remains so even today.
His mortal ministry is over but his eternal ministry is just
beginning-- the sting of death is swallowed up in the hope of the
resurrection, in the certainty of victory, and in the atonement of
Jesus Christ. Death is conquered, man is free, Christ has won the
victory. And though we weep and we mourn, bereft of the man we all
know and love, he laughs and winks at us, waving a hand and taking his own well-worn advice: "if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours."
Let's all take a smile from Grandpa Dave. I'm sure he's smiling down
on all of us, victorious and jubilant with that same peace like a
river that filled his heart and sounded in our ears when he sang. And
let's take his life as a call to action, an example to follow, an
invitation to follow the Savior and to be unendingly kind.
We love you, grandpa. As you sang at my homecoming, now I say at
yours-- we'll be homeward bound in time."
"From Ashley Molinaro Bernal, As delivered at Dave's memorial service on May 13, 2016.
When I think of my G'pa, a lot of things and feelings rush to my mind. I think about the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled, the way his really strong belly laugh sounded. I think about his fun sense of humor and his silly jokes. I think about his big bear hugs, the way he said my name with his slight mid-western accent, him always calling things “dynamite.” I think about countless memories of lake wading, quiet afternoons of fishing and pontoon boat floating. I think of blackberry picking, extra big ice cream scoops at the Bean Pot and good shows at the playhouse. I think about Christmas mornings, tropical sunsets and travel adventures. I think about being loved and supported unconditionally. I think about his smiling face at my sports games, performances, graduations or other events.
More recently, I think about him soulfully singing his sweet great-grandchildren to sleep. I think about the way he looked in wonder at his new great-grand daughter for the first time. I think of his strong patriarchal role in our family but of his tender and caring heart.
But most of all, I think about his unwavering love for his family, his rock solid testimony and his deep love of the Savior and the gospel.
I have always looked up to you, G'pa, and really, I always will. Thank you for being such a wonderful example of love, service and enduring to the end. Thank you for leaving such a faithful lasting legacy for us to follow. I will always miss you and I can't wait to see you again."
"From Annalissa DeVos, as delivered at Dave's Memorial Service on May 13, 2016
Those of you who know me well know my dad is a huge part of my heart. Those of you who know my dad know why. He is a silly, loving, remarkably intelligent man... my favourite person on earth.
He was a man who led by example. He taught me who I wanted to be and gave me the best parts of who I am.
His was a man never shy with his advice. As children do, I would roll my eyes never truly understanding the relevance his lecture in the moment. It was like he was describing a complicated foreign land I never intended to travel. Only as I’ve found myself in these places, these circumstances do his words return, holding the wisdom and direction I needed so much further down the road.
From him I learned….
To always hold my head high as I walked, making eye contact with everyone I passed. A stroll is not a solitary journey but a silent conversation with everyone you encounter.
Observe people and events quietly from the side lines. Volumes of information are there to be seen, you only need look.
Never under any circumstance treat anyone unkindly. You may find your perceived enemy to be your closest ally years later.
Never lose your curiosity. Read, learn, travel, and embrace the infinite potential I have in my mind. There is no goal that cannot be accomplished with the belief that it is possible and perseverance.
My daddy taught me to sing loudly, love the person I am, hug big like a bear, laugh hard enough your eyes twinkle with tears, to be o.k. being silly, to love completely and fiercely and forever.
Most of all, my dad believed in me without waiver and through his belief, I learned to believe in myself.
I am infinitely grateful for my father and know I will never be without him. His voice, his wisdom, his love has always and will always be present in every day that is mine."
"From Chris Bernal as delivered at Dave's Memorial Service on May 13, 2016
When I think of Dave, I will always think of happiness, joy, and love. Dave loved everything and everyone and always went about his day with an infectious attitude that couldn't help but make the rest of us smile.
When I was dating Ashley and was first getting to know her family, it was so different getting to know a new family! I came from a different world in some aspects, but Dave was the perfect bridge. When I was worried about what to say or how to act out my part in Charades, his happy-go-lucky demeanor exuded welcome and calm.
I loved hearing Dave's about his perspective on everything from learning to the real estate market, even to the St. Louis Cardinals' World Series prospects. He had a lot to share but was so gentle and unassuming that sometimes you didn't even realize you were receiving a lesson on life.
But nothing compared to his love of his family. The way he loved and treated Sherron gave me a wonderful example, and I especially loved seeing how much he enjoyed being with his daughters. He was always up for any activity and any adventure, as long as it was with family.
His love of family was made manifest especially through his faithfulness in the Lord. I will always remember sitting together as a family before Tyler left on his mission. As we all shared our favorite scripture from the Book of Mormon. Dave said he couldn't just choose one, so he picked an entire chapter: Chapter 36, Alma's commandments to his son Helaman. After we received the sad news a few weeks ago, I spent time reading that chapter and could almost hear Dave in the words:
27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will stilldeliver me.
28 And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever,
What a wonderful blessing he was to me in my life. I have no doubt that there are countless souls on the other side of the veil who are celebrating Dave, his life, and all that he did for us and for them. I am grateful for Dave, for the atonement, for our Savior, and for the chance we have to be together again after this life. !Para siempre Dios este con vos!
"There are far too many memories that I have of my beloved grandfather to share them all here. Those who knew him will know like I do that he always seemed to be singing or humming or whistling a song. Songs from "Stay on the Sunny Side" to "Look to the Rainbow" to show songs like "Singing in the Rain" and more.
I had the opportunity to travel with my Grandfather and my brother Tyler to Depaw University several years ago. It was such a great experience to road trip with my grandpa and see the University that he attended as an Undergraduate. We saw his Frat House and the various buildings he remembered. It was a three day trip and we ate at Cracker Barrel six times. Each time he suggested that we eat there with no mention of the last visit. He loved that restaurant. He was perhaps the greatest example of righteousness and a Christlike example that I have ever known, and I am forever grateful for the lessons he taught me often times just by being in his presence.
I remember one time after my return from a high school lacrosse workout, he asked how my workout had been. I responded that it had gone well and he said "you know Just, the point of every workout is to exhaust. You shouldn't be able to lift your arms. If you don't exhaust, you're doing it wrong." I have reflected on that interaction we had many times now. It is such a profound lesson that can be applied to so much in life, and that is exactly the way that Grandpa Dave chose to live his life. He put his whole heart and soul into everything he did. He truly exhausted himself in the service of others, and especially my sweet grandmother Sherron.
Although he may no longer be here physically, I know that he is near. I have felt him close by and am so glad for the knowledge that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ affords me. I know I'll see him again and we will work side by side to exhaust ourselves in the eternal work of the Lord. It is my prayer as I am sure it is his that we stay on the sunny side of life and if for whatever reason we find ourselves on the other side, we learn to sing in the rain."
"I only had the opportunity to know Grandpa Dave for about 3 years, but I am so grateful for those years. I'm also grateful for the time I've had in Tennessee to help go through things at the house...old photos, letters, diplomas, yearbooks...it's been so fun to see more of what made Grandpa Dave who he was and to learn more about his life.
One of my favorite memories is also one of my first. Justin and I were just dating, and I was spending time visiting the family for the first time. Grandpa Dave and I almost ran into each other coming around a corner and I said sorry. He pulled me off to the side and privately and very sweetly told me he had heard me apologizing a lot that trip. He told me I didn't need to be sorry for just being--or for being me. That was something that has stuck with me, and something I saw Grandpa Dave set a great example of. He was always completely himself and was never sorry for it. That was something I loved about him.
I will be forever grateful for his example of love, laughter, and for his testimony and faith he always shared. I can't wait to see him again!"
"I fondly remember talking with Uncle Dave about my upcoming year in High School and how Olympus High School was planning on putting on the musical Les Miserables. As soon as Dave heard about this, he broke into song, singing "Bring Him Home" with his amazing singing voice! This really helped me to fall in love with that amazing musical. I know that the Lord called Dave home so that he could continue the work in heaven. I have always admired Dave for his example of service and happiness. I know that he is continuing to be an example of those things in heaven."
"I loved how Dave and Sherry always called and sang Happy Birthday to me. They didn't miss a single birthday and always made me feel extra loved and special. <3"
"I was honored to have the opportunity to act as a Pallbearer for my Uncle Dave's grave side service on Friday, April 29th in Salt Lake City, Utah. I also had the great privilege of sharing some of mine and my families memories of our Uncle Dave.
My wife Prisca will forever remember the twinkle in his eye and his amazing singing voice! He also sang Happy Birthday (along with Sherry) for her on every birthday since we've been married and shared his talent with her many other times.
When I think of my Uncle Dave, I don't really remember the singing as much, although I do fondly remember singing Christmas carols around the piano at Grandma and Grandpa Watson's house and I too have always loved my birthday serenades...but when I think of my uncle Dave, I think of a sports fan! Although a fan of the wrong College team (BYU and Tennessee), Uncle Dave would always engage me in sports discussions, whether he was asking me how I thought my Utah Utes would do this year, sharing his thoughts on the upcoming BYU football season or talking Utah Jazz, we always had an enjoyable time talking sports! I will always remember seeing Dave and Sherry jumping up and down going crazy after Danny Ainge drive the length of the court to help BYU beat Notre Dame in the NCAA basketball tournament many years ago.
My Uncle Dave taught me to ski at Park City Ski resort in Salt Lake City.
My Uncle Dave LOVED Chocolate chip ice cream!
My affinity for Cheese Fondue came from the many Christmas Eve's spent at Grandma and Grandpa Watson's house enjoying his home made Cheese Fondue and of course, the famous DeVos cookies!
But most importantly, I remember a kind, caring, great man who loved me and my entire family. We love you Uncle Dave!"
"I was asked to share a few of Dave's favorite verses from the Book of Mormon. These were in reminiscent of his conversion to the gospel.
As an adult, Dave joined the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After years of living in the "world" and then finding true happiness through the knowledge of the gospel, the verses in Alma 36 become a comforting reminder to him of his conversion.
His favorite verses read:
12 But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.
13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death
26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.
27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.
28 And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever, . . .
I continue to admire Dave for his strength, his faith, his love for the restored gospel. Dave had a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Dave had a testimony of the importance of the sealing powers of the temple. Dave had a testimony of eternal families and our Savior's love for each of us. May his body now rest for a time, and his spirit rejoice! I love you. You will be missed."
"The news of Dave's passing is still hard to fathom. He was such a dear man, witty and kind and fun-loving, a true gentleman. We will miss his smile and his gentle presence. And, unfortunately, we will miss the service in Crossville as we will be out of town attending our daughter's graduation from med school. But our hearts will be with you. We thank God for his life and its impact on us."
"In a beautiful card that captured exactly how she felt, his sweetheart and wife, Sherron, shared this message with Dave on his birthday this year . . .
"Entwined . . . my heart and yours,
intricately and beautifully
as true soul mates and partners,
stronger because we're together.
"Encircled . . . our home and our family,
by grace and love
that grows with us
as we share life's journey.
"Enriched . . .
our life together,
through giving and understanding,
support and encouragement
friendship and laughter.
"I feel so blessed to celebrate you
on your birthday
and to share the unfolding
of each new chapter
of the sweet love story
written just for us.""
"April 24, 2016. Eastertide.
Dear Friends, and members of Dave’s immediate and extended Family:
Dave was among the Playhouse’s most important and enduring supporters and volunteers. As senior Board Member in recent years, he helped with many an organizational challenge, as an active presence and participant in the life and governance of the organization.
When Annie and I rejoined the Playhouse in 1976 after school and work in the Northeast, Dave was among the Board leaders who Mary Crabtree looked to for leadership, and for performing talent. In her eighties, her regard for him was signaled by her designation of Dave , along with Elizabeth Evans Halverstadt, to help begin MARY CRABTREE REMEMBERS, and to join her on the stage to represent the community and the Board.
During my tenure with Mary, Dave was Board chair, and secured the Playhouse’s first major project sponsorship, a $25,000 gift from Fairfield Communities, to produce a new musical (COWBOYS!). A talented singer and performer, he appeared in a number of productions, none more successful than I DO, I DO, the Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt musical in which he played opposite my sister Abigail Crabtree (Woods), in the two-person musical chronicle of a happy marriage. When I succeeded Mary, and then when she passed on, Dave’s presence has been for me a bulwark of strength and continuity, of past growing into future, and protecting our values and traditions as we reach for tomorrow.
Dave’s can-do attitude and positive presence has helped the organization, Mary and me through challenges great and small, and helped to generate joys and reasons to celebrate with remarkable consistency. The presence of his beloved daughters on Playhouse projects was among his, and our, greatest joys, and he took special pride and joy in bringing his extended family, friends and church family to the Playhouse, encouraging their support and involvement. When the Playhouse faced a budget crunch, he brought his LDS congregation to worship in our facilities, paying a generous fee, while their new church facility was under construction. His humor and tolerance were reflected in his comments about the somewhat scandalous Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, as he simply said, “So you’ve seen the play; now read the BOOK!”
On most opening nights, and most one-night events, Dave and his beloved Sherron could be seen and heard, cheerleading and applauding, in the center right rear section of the audience. Dave was a sophisticated and perceptive theater man and fan, and could usually find the strengths and the flaws in our work----always to bolster our strengths, celebrate them to friends and colleagues in the community, and share most diplomatically his gentle but perceptive suggestions and critiques with us, as friends and colleagues as well. For the Playhouse , me and Mary –and I believe for our successors---Dave was a wonderful blend of volunteer spirit and professional strength—as a real estate businessman in the community, and as James K. Polk in the final revival (?) of Paul Crabtree’s Tennessee, USA; as both booster and gadfly on the Board, and as recruiter of audience and supporter of all things Playhouse, all things good for the community; and all good things in life, family, friendship, and his beloved church.
May the trumpets of the angels resound, now and beyond, for Dave, his family, his congregation, his Playhouse, his faith, and the world we are blessed to have shared with him. Thank you, Dave. May God bless you as you have blessed us, and the created world you visited, and shared with us, in your great, joy-sharing life.
Cumberland County Playhouse
Friend, colleague and student since 1976"
Over the years, I have been blessed to share many happy celebrations with Dave and Sherron. We've had holidays, baptisms, missions and weddings. It was always a joy to be with them. On these occasions, I always noticed the kind and thoughtful way he treated his wife. They were always so cute together.
One of my favorite memories actually occurred at Chris and Ashley's wedding reception. Dave and I were sitting at a table, when Sherron came walking across the floor to join us, looking absolutely stunning, and he said, "What did I ever do to deserve her?" I was so touched by his humility and gratitude, and I saw that same level of love reflected in how he treated everyone in his family.
He was a great example to us all. He'll be deeply missed.
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