David Stuffler

Obituary of David Nicholas Stuffler

                David Nicholas Stuffler that older man of 15 captured my heart at 14.  Love at first sight does exist.  My love was tall, dark and handsome.  Together for 63 years, we married on July 8, 1967 and chose not to have children.  As time passed, there was so much more to learn about the love of my life.  He was the most kind and gentle soul with an infinite ability to love.  But there was more.  His nature was giving, sincere, and light-hearted.  Whether it was his PMS joke or the song as he stirred his coffee and tapped the spoon on the edge of his cup, he took after his father Frank with an easy-going personality.  He had special gifts of unique insights and perceptions, complex mechanic ability, and with his sense of humor he was able to make people laugh.

                On his father’s birthday St. Patrick’s Day Sunday March 17th, 2024, at 78 his spirit was released from his tormented brain and Lewy Body Dementia battered shell of a body.   He fought hard against this terminal disease, but welcomed death to end his mental and physical torture.  Returning from an African cruise one week earlier, the struggle was too much for him.

 

                A Navy brat, Dave grew up in PB (Pacific Beach) San Diego and went to St. Brigid’s School.  Later his family moved to Santa Ana where he attended St. Joseph’s School, Santa Ana High School and Santa Ana College as an engineering and aviation major.  His dyslexia created challenges with textbook learning and color-blindness crushed his desire to work for the commercial airlines as an aviation mechanic.  He loved cars, speed, and competed in races at Orange County (OC) and Pomona Raceways.  He told stories about the early NHRA drag races on the Orange Couty Airport runways in between flights. 

 

                In September 1965 after a night of drinking, Dave and his buddies enlisted in the US Navy Reserves.  Serving as an aviation machinist, he was stationed at Long Beach, Los Alamitos, and Lemoore Naval Air Stations.  Dunton Ford as a mechanic was his first civilian job, later he opened a Chevron Station at the corner of Main and MacArthur in Santa Ana.  Owning two Panteras, he specialized in high performance sports cars.  Later he became an independent Snap-On Tool Dealer, then with new automotive technology, he became an employee at Snap-On Tools as a Technical Representative both selling and training on the computerized equipment.  He and a partner wrote a program for the tool dealers. 

 

                His passion was building, creating and travel.  Whether it was building and designing a patio cover or a pool table room or a waterfall or software for Snap on tool dealers, he enjoyed the work and the satisfaction it provided.  Dave treasured each of his career professions because he was a social being who enjoyed talking and laughing with people.  An average work week for Dave lasted from 70 hours or more; he worked hard to provide for our comfort.  When he had his first angioplasty and then his second with 3 stents, he decided to take an early retirement at 50. 

 

                Following our life’s quest of travel, we visited 166 countries with multiple visits to at least half of those countries.  Dave most enjoyed Africa with safaris, meeting the locals and experiencing the different lifestyles and cultures, and interacting with the children in small villages.  He would trade our soccer balls with the kids’ plastic bag balls held together with twine.  We also spent countless hours in Maui hiking, running, swimming, snorkeling, and Dave diving at Old Airport Beach.  He loved the water.   The joy he received from travel was a highlight of his life. 

               

                He had several last wishes like having friends visit our home, building new deer feeders, and seeing his beloved elephants in Africa.  Sadly, none of these came pass, but his wish for death was fulfilled.

 

                David, you are the love of my life and I hold you close within me with love for you forever.

 

Martha

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