Wall Of Life - David - Fifty Lives

Tissue Donor

David was one of those types of people that never knew a stranger. His smile and laughter would always brighten up a room and both were quite contagious. David was a hard worker and was known in our area as “The Legend”. He was a master drywall finisher and was one of the best around.

David was born July 1, 1952 and was brought up on the family farm. He had 3 brothers and 1 sister and was the baby of the family. He later married his wife, Nellie and they started their life together. Although David and Nellie didn’t have children of their own, their nieces and nephews became their children. They were the “cool” aunt and uncle and their house was always full of kids from both sides of their families.

Another one of David’s passions was running. He loved to run. On weekends, you could usually find David signing up for yet another 5k, 10k and even half marathons. He travelled all over just doing races. Nellie would recall that David always had a huge grin on his face when he ran. Nellie had worked at Corning and each year in March, Corning formed a team to do a 12 mile walk or run for the March of Dimes. It got to the point that their nieces and nephews would also want to join in the fun, so David and Nellie would invite them all over to spend the night and do the race the next day. Pizza was always for dinner the night before and in the morning for breakfast? David would make everyone his famous blueberry pancakes. David would run the entire race, and then he would come back through to check on family and finish again with them. Nellie recalled that David would try and get her to run with him to train, but she declined. Instead, he would run and she would ride her bike next to him and give him water when he needed it. She would encourage him all the way. They were a great team. David took great care of himself and was as healthy as could be. He took his blood pressure every day, he ran every day or every other day. He suffered from allergies, but that was about it.

Nellie had a nephew that has had 3 kidney transplants. When her nephew was just 3 years old, he had his first transplant. It was then that they both had decided that they would be donors and their license had the little red heart ever since.

When talking about the best way to leave this world, David said that he wanted 3 things:

To be around the people that I love.

Doing the things that I enjoy/love.

Go peacefully and quietly.

Nellie didn’t know that what he had hoped for would actually happen when his time came.

On July 9, 2006, David and Nellie along with friends, his brother, sister-in-law, and 2 nephews were in Port Clinton, Ohio. His brother, Darrel had a boat and after taking a run that morning, the 8 of them set out on Lake Erie. Nellie recalled that David complained every now and then about not feeling well, but David brushed it off as heartburn. As the night drew to a close, Darrel had taken some pictures while out on the boat. One of them was of David…grinning from ear to ear, with a magnificent sunset behind him. Everyone broke off for the night and went back to their rooms. Nellie said that David had fallen asleep rather quickly and was snoring at first. She tried to elbow him to stop, but David didn’t budge. She realized something was wrong and got immediate help, but unfortunately it was too late. David was taken by squad, but pronounced dead at the hospital. When Nellie was approached about David being an organ donor, she hesitated. Even though their licenses have always said they would be organ donors, now it was real. Now it was happening and she was having second thoughts. The shock of his death was just too much for her to bear. She still said yes, because that is what they said they would do and she knew that she needed to follow through with his wishes.

It was found out later that David’s cause of death was a heart arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat that is hard to detect. He went peacefully and quietly; doing things that he loved; with people that he loved.

David was able to donate his corneas, skin, tendon, bones and veins. He was able to donate 321 grafts and 309 of those grafts have been distributed for transplant. David was able to help males and females alike with ages ranging from 16-82. David’s family is very proud of their hero that has helped enrich so many lives.