In his years with us, he valued most the ability to live a happy life, have a meaningful career, and the ability to provide for himself and his family. The life experiences he encountered through his career as a semi owner/operator brought him great joy. He began his 30+ year driving career in 1964, logging over 5 million accident-free miles, and visiting ALL 50 states (yes, Alaska and Hawaii by plane). He delivered government foods to grocery retailers, schools, and homes early in his career. He then drove cross-country delivering specialty loads and heavy equipment to places such as NASA, which brought both challenge and privilege for him. Prior to his retirement, he also taught truck driving in Winona, MN.
He had a lifetime love of trains and had the opportunity to travel by train several times in his life allowing him to see the country from a different perspective. He also enjoyed home improvement projects and landscaping as everyone who knows him has seen in the transition of his home where he lived with his family for 49 years.
He once wrote, ‘his life has been very fulfilling and productive… there is little that I would change.’ His outstanding driving record and professionalism led him to success in the trucking industry. During his career, he achieved many milestones, including many “Driver of the Month” awards, Driver of the Year 1977, awards for several State of Minnesota Championships in the Flat Bed Class, and two ATA National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) – Flat Bed Class. He was chosen to deliver the National Christmas Tree to the White House in 1984. He was honored with the 2010 Lifetime Volunteer Award by the National Trucking Association and also the Charlie Smith Volunteer Award – having dedicated 26 years as a volunteer at the National Trucking Association Driving Championships. He was a member of the Minnesota Truck Driving Champions Club.
Although known for being ‘tough,’ Dave had a love of people. He would go above and beyond for those who came in contact with him in their time of need. One very lucky young lady had the opportunity to ride in his truck. On a very snowy/icy night, she became extremely ill. Her parents were trying to take her to the emergency room at a hospital. They could not go on any further in their car and pulled in to a truck stop. Dave happened to be near the door and overheard the girl’s father talking on the phone asking for help. Dave asked what he could do to help. He told Dave his daughter was suffering an appendicitis attack and was very ill. Dave put her and her family in his truck and drove them to the hospital – only saying “you tell me where, and I’ll get you there.” He never mentioned this and no one knew this had occurred until the family wrote his employer and sent a picture of her – smiling, happy and healthy.
He knew first-hand there is a need for good, honest, qualified and hard-working individuals in the trucking industry with an understanding of the importance of safety. His priority was to train his students to the best of his ability always focusing on safety first and encouraging them to ‘always put forth your best effort.’
Dave always looked to the future and it was his wish to not have a memorial service. Because of his love for the trucking industry, his desire for all drivers to be safe on the road, and how he strived to be a leader in his profession, his family will be celebrating his life through the development of an award/fund in his name. While working with the Minnesota Champions Club to set this up, his family is asking in lieu of flowers, a contribution be made to allow ‘the work he did and his namesake to live on in the future.’
He is survived by his wife, Sally, daughters: Patricia (Steve) Mundsack, Lynn (Rick) Foutch, Bobbi (Jon) Gribble, 5 grandchildren: Nick (Mona) Knobloch, Kate (Talon) Sharp, Matt Mundsack, Zach Foutch, and Nathan Gribble, 2 great grandchildren: Colton & Kasen Sharp, and one brother, William, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Betty (Ed) Matticks.
Funds raised by generous donors will be moved to a CD and used to award a deserving driver perpetually.
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