David was born September 16, 1959 to Everett & Norma Munsell. He was the fourth born of 6 children, and the first son of the family. He grew up and spent time in many different states throughout his father’s military career, even living in Turkey as an infant. While living in North Dakota for 5 years, Norma, Everette and all 6 kids packed the car each summer and returned to the Hill in St. Louis to spend time with family.
The Munsells were finally able to settle their roots right here on the Hill where they still reside today. Standing tall and thin with big brown eyes, he always melted hearts while attending St. Aloysius Grade School as a child. David was not always the good boy, and his curiosity sometimes got the best of him. In high school, David was caught gambling and playing cards in the gym locker room, jumping railroad tracks, and always looked for his next adventure.
Sharing a 3-bedroom house with 8 people on the Hill certainly had its challenges. Many nights of bed-sharing, pull-out couches, and living with ONE bathroom provided Donna, DeAnna, Nancy, David, Rita, and Jimmy with plenty of time to test each other’s patience and learn tolerance. David’s Grandmother, Felicia, also lived just a few houses down. David always enjoyed bottle rocket fights with his childhood friends while living on Stephen’s Court, with many of whom he remained close throughout his entire life.
David always lived a quiet life and never had a desire for the limelight. He served a very meaningful purpose on this Earth – he was here to help others. As everyone would so simply put it, David was just a nice guy.
David and I first met when we worked together at Acetylene Gas – David worked in the factory and I worked in the office. David played on the company softball team, and we office girls loved to cheer at the games. David and I knew from our first look that we were meant to be together forever. I used to tell him, “One look into these deep, dark brown eyes and you were hooked!” He agreed.
After two years of dating, we married, which would mark the beginning of thirty-six amazing years together. As soon-to-be twenty-two-year-old newlyweds, neither one of us had a driver’s license. I told him, “One of us needs a license because someone has to drive us after the wedding!” He caved first and took the test, and I followed a year later. A big “thank you” to David’s sisters, friends and the bi-state bus for providing us with years of transportation.
After our kids came, our life as a family just got better. First born was Matthew followed by Olivia, eight years later. David was the proudest dad ever. I often heard from his co-workers that he always bragged about his kids and wife, and although he always had wonderful things to say about us, he managed to throw in some funny stories about the kids misbehaving from time to time.
David especially enjoyed taking trips and spending time away from the hustle and bustle of life with his family. His favorite activities with Matthew consisted of fishing trips and car races. They watched races held at both the Old Arena and the TWA dome and also took trips across the river to check out drag races. The Muny Kid’s shows with Olivia were his favorites and he always loved our out-of-town volleyball trips. Matthew and Olivia have very fond memories of our family trips, except, usually, the drive there and back. We left the house equipped with GPS devices, printed directions, you name it, and we still managed to get lost. Neither of us were especially good with directions…maybe because we waited so long to drive!
Matthew and Olivia – Dad could not say enough good things about you two. He was so proud of you both. He told me numerous times – it does not matter the title you carry, it does not matter how much money you make, what matters is good health and happiness.
David found so much of that joy tinkering around his happy place, his cozy cabin in Hermann near the Gasconade River. Thank you to our wonderful friends, who sold the property to us. Because of them, David was able to enjoy his happy place for 3 years and it truly brought an indescribable amount of happiness to his life. He would ride the lawn mower around the grounds for hours even if the grass didn’t need to be cut. David spent countless hours blowing leaves, rearranging tools, and taking boat rides. One day, he even saved the pontoon boat from sinking! Although we were known as “the weekenders”, our neighbors accepted us as “locals.” Following our return home after a relaxing weekend, David would never unpack the bags he brought with him to the river. The bags sat by the front door throughout the week until go-time on Friday afternoon. He usually walked in the door from work at 3:15…and hit the highway to Hermann by 3:25, ready to spend another weekend in paradise. He was always so happy.
Anyone lucky enough to know David, knew of his love to cook. Try as they may, no one will ever measure up to his hot roast beef and gravy. It was truly a Munsell special. He served as the holiday chef in our family for years, whipping up his lasagna, salsiccia with peppers and onions, and his famous roast beef.
David worked at Cunetto’s House of Pasta for 38 years. He met so many friends along the way and cherished these valuable friendships throughout his entire life.
David’s brother, Jimmy, always served as his very best friend. Whenever there was a decision to be made, no matter how big or small the issue at hand, David would always say, “I have to call my bro!” No matter what, David always had talk to Jimmy first. They shared so many fun times together and David was forever grateful for Jimmy’s friendship. He loved you, Bro!!
His sisters also meant the world to him. He was always there for them – lending an ear or sharing advice, talking on the phone for hours and sharing feelings. David would be their first call if something needed some work or repair because you could ask David for anything and he was always there. We used to call him “Dave the Plumber, Dave the Electrician, Dave the Mechanic,” and the list goes on. He was such a handy man.
His Mother, Norma, is still alive and is 94 years old. Unfortunately, she is unable to be here to celebrate David’s life with us today, but she is here with us in spirit. God truly blessed our family by selecting Norma as our Mom and Grandma. She is an inspiration, a true role model and a loving person. We have learned so much from her, especially about the power of prayer, church, kindness, family and love. Mom, you are the most considerate, loving and patient person we know. We definitely saw your reflection in David.
In addition to family, David met countless friends and they meant everything to him. He wanted me to extend thanks from the bottom of his heart for all the wonderful things you have done for our family, especially the pallbearers, who include his best friends from both childhood and adulthood. He was so honored to have such an amazing circle of friends.
Speaking to David’s character after sharing stories with many people over the past few weeks, it seems we all shared the same experience. No matter the case, David always came to the rescue. No questions asked (which was probably better for him, let’s face it) he always put on his game face, stepped up and offered assistance to anyone who needed it. Especially when his sister-in-law, Donna, called for some solid advice. “Jill, can you ask Dave if it would be okay to eat pork chops that have been sitting out for 2 days?” Followed by “Jill, will you tell Dave my car light came on and it says ‘check engine’. Will he be able to look at it for me?” Whatever the case, he was there to help. One day, I thought I would remove myself as the middle-man and supplied Donna with David’s cell phone number, so she could just call him directly with her questions. David came home from work that day asking, “Why did you give Donna R my phone number? She called me 4 times today about her car. Not to mention it was in the middle of lunch rush.” I could only laugh. The best part is, David answered every…single…call. That’s the kind of man he was.
Because of this and so many other reasons, David was loved and admired by everyone he met. My cousin once told me David was a “TOP SHELF MAN!!” I can only say, yes, he was.
David received his diagnosis in October and was immediately overwhelmed by the abundance of help and support offered by everyone around him. He felt so strongly the love and prayers being sent his way. From the sold-out trivia night, generous donations and weekly home cooked meals, David was beyond thankful for the outpouring of support he received from friends, family and even strangers.
He fought until he could not fight anymore. For those of you who had the chance to visit with David, you know he was fighting until the very end and with as much positivity that the cancer would allow. There were so many emotions that he and I shared. We knew the end was near for him, and we spent so much time sharing stories and just talking. Before he lost his mobility, he worked on things around the house saying, “I need to get these things in order before I go.” He was always looking out for us. I used to tell him “I’ll just You-Tube things if I don’t know how to fix something.” He would reply with, “Call Matt, Jimmie or Dave before you do anything.” He knew I was not the best at fixing things.
David, I can say so many things about you but the most important is that…I love you like I loved you when we first met. You taught me so many life lessons – how to love myself, how to be happy, sad, and lonely. These are things that everyone goes through in life and we experienced them together, having each other to lean on and get us through. The love we share for each other is one-of-a-kind.
You made me laugh when I was about to cry, and you made me cry from laughter. We had so many good times together and I will cherish them in my heart forever. You were the best husband and dad and no one can take that away from us.
Don’t you worry about the cabin – I have your brother, family members and friends who will help me keep it and who will treasure it as much as you did. We all know the love you had for that place before you traded Hermann for Heaven.
Now go and be with your family in Heaven. Tell Jack that Jill said hello.
Until we meet again. Love you forever, Jill, Matt, Olivia and Sophie (our dog).