Dave Eppelheimer

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David Day Eppelheimer

December 13, 1953 - August 3, 2017

David Day Eppelheimer, 63, passed away August 3, 2017 at his home in Grand Rapids, MI. David received a BA, ‘76; MA, ’84 in Elementary Education from Michigan State University. He went to Guatemala to student teach in 1976, but moved to Belize to finish after the earthquake in Guatemala City. David’s enjoyment of teaching overseas prompted him so start his career as a kindergarten teacher at the Carol Morgan Embassy School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

After his first year of teaching, David returned to Michigan for a long career in elementary education. He was a beloved kindergarten teacher in Coopersville for over three decades. He incorporated music, puppets, animals, caterpillars and moths, guest speakers, and family members in the classroom curriculum. He taught life lessons and made memories that have lasted into adulthood for hundreds of his students.

He grew up as a 4-H member and leader in Branch and Newaygo counties and continued volunteering as a leader in his community and at state events for 25 years. As a high school 4-H club leader and member, he had one of the largest amateur entomology collections in the state. He was a volunteer at Youth Exploration Days for more than 15 years. In 2004 he was recognized as an outstanding alumnus by Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society for outstanding community service and professional leadership.

He worked with adults and young people and was a teacher to all.

Dave was always a collector. As he said, he collected “rocks and insects, coins and stamps, whatever said ‘pick me up’”. In 1984, Dave and three friends founded an antique Christmas collector business, Elves Antiques. He was well known in the Christmas Collector Club, The Golden Glow of Christmas Past, for his years as editor of the newsletter, his knowledge of all the types of Christmas decorations- lights, ornaments, kugels, putz villages, Santa’s belschnikels , and Dresdens- to name a few categories, and his friendliness and willingness to share time, knowledge, and encouragement with anyone. He shared his passion for antique Christmas and mentored those who caught the collecting bug.

Dave loved to dance. He was a member of the M.S.U. Promenaders in the early 70’s and did square dancing and square tapping. Later he joined the Grand River Squares, founded by a fellow promenade and friend, Chuck Novak, and traveled to flyins/conventions all over the U.S. After many years as a dancer, Dave decided to become a caller for the square dances and even learned to do a few of the singing calls.

His long- time friend Chuck, along with his husband, Brandon, was at his bedside the day he passed over the rainbow. David’s family will miss him - his husband, Brandon Heitzmann; brothers and sisters-in-law, Don and Linda, Chad and Kathy; nephew Matt and nieces Carrie, Jessie and Maggie; as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins from the Eppelheimer and Cheney-Palen-Allen families. His legacy will live on through the hundreds of lives he touched through his smile, his teaching, his friendliness, his inclusion, and his love.

The family of David Eppelheimer would like to invite you to Dave’s memorial service and life celebration open house on Saturday, September 16 at the Coopersville Community Services Building, 198 East St., Coopersville MI 49404. The memorial service will be from 12-1 PM followed by a life celebration open house from 1-5 PM.

Donations or contributions in David Eppelheimer’s name may be made to the following:

  • The Michigan 4-H Foundation, Justin S. Morrill, Hall of Agriculture, 446 west Circle Drive, Room 160, East Lansing, MI 48824,
  • or to the Coopersville Area Public Schools, 198 East St. Coopersville, MI 49404, Attn: The David Eppelheimer Memorial Kindergarten Program,
  • or to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, 1806 Bridge St. NW Grand Rapids MI 49504.