From 1841 to 1859 President Abraham Lincoln practiced law in Danville, Illinois. It was in this historic town, one hundred years later, that in 1937, David was born to the loving family of Lucille and Alpha Gondry and his older sister, Carolyn.
David was tall and intelligent and was once described to me as a man with steadfastness and integrity as if made from a fine grain of wood. He had an intriguing style of conversation that would engage others, especially about the history, design and mechanics of cars, boats and Harley Davidsons!
During his college years at Bradley University in Pieroroia, Illinois David became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Chapter and took seriously their mission of to become a better person. He was a distinguished Professor at Miami-Dade College, Florida, with a lifelong commitment to education. He set high standards of excellence for his students and prepared them to excel in their career as engineers.
In his final days, the veterans of the American Legion Keys Memorial Post 145-Islamorada, Florida were by his side, sheltering his spirit and mine. David, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend passed peacefully, draped in the American flag on May 30, 2022. Fittingly, this was also Memorial Day when the nation's people traditionally gather to honor those died in service to their country.
David proudly served his county as a navigator on the USS Ranger during the difficult years of the Vietnam Conflict. David will be interred at Bay Pines National Cemetery, St. Petersburg, Florida where he will continue to be part of this nation's history. The image of an American eagle in flight will be inscribed on his marker and Military Honors will be presented by the United States Navy Honor Guard.
In the Company of Kindness:
Collected thoughts from his young grandchildren Collyn and Kai of his daughter, Erin and Ron Mihelic, with additional memories from his furry friends.
Collyn : What made us happy was to be with our grandpa, an amazing person, who was kind, cool and nice. When I was 4 or 5, sitting on his knee, he let me drive the boat. Once he gave me a circuit builder as a present and sat patiently beside me and showed me how to put it together. He came to watch my jujitsu competition at the gym. He was so proud of me. My younger brother who is 6 is named is Kai, which means water in Hawaiian. Grandpa gave us fishing rods and together we played games and threw the football. He was the best grandpa ever. “We love you, Grandpa!”
Megan: Zak and I are 9 years old just like Collyn. As a kitten I was rescued from the mangroves in the Florida Keys. Although I am often frightened, David has kept me safe and protected at all times. We called our snack time together, “cattail hour”! Zak, our golden retriever was born West Virginia. He always wears a scarf and has soft fur like me, though mine is softer. He eagerly bounds out of the house only to run back up the stairs with his tail wagging, hoping for a treat, saying, "Here I am!”
In David's memory, donations are gratefully accepted by:
Human Society of Pocahontas County, WV
410 Second Avenue, Marlinton, West Virginia 24954
I end this tribute heartfelt gratitude to our dear friend Veronica Setera (call name "Rocky PI”) retired nurse who along with David's daughter Erin Mihelic, PA, helped me navigate the complexities of several healthcare systems.
...and the joyful presence of my niece Debbie and great-niece Brandy who drove straight through from Toronto, Canada. Like two guardian angels, they hovered over me with love and kindness and because of them, the light within me will shine brightly on my path forward where new dreams await.