David Rolf Stiebel
David Rolf Stiebel
David Rolf Stiebel died Wednesday, January 10th at home in Medford. He was born in St. Louis, Miss., to John Michael and Ferrel Allton Stiebel. At the age of 6 months his family moved to southern California where he grew up a typical ocean loving kid and found himself, at the age of 18, testing Voight Scuba equipment off the shore of Laguna with his friends.
In 1956, he joined the Navy and was placed in the air wing and sent to Norman, Okla. for training. There he met and married Dorothy Ann Allen, after which he was sent out to Whidbey Island, Wash., where he was to join his squadron at Ault field. Eventually, he was scheduled for action in the Pacific. While his group was assigned to Guam, he met the chief pilot for Pan Am in the Marshall Islands - Hugh Kelley - who taught him how to fly small aircrafts. A lifelong friendship was formed. This experience gave him the opportunity to fly over the Solomon Islands where his dad had spent two years with the Marines during WWII.
Returning to the mainland, he went back to Davis College in San Fernando Valley, Calif., and received his engineering degree. Lockheed Aircraft in Palmdale, Calif., hired him as a draftsman. In his spare time he did some executive flying out of Van Nuys, Calif. In 1973, he remarried a girl from Northridge, Margaret Mead. They had a daughter, Joy Danielle, who was killed in 1995 in a one car accident in Panama City during Easter week.
When Lockheed moved from California to its headquarters in Mariette, Ga., the family followed and after a few months, Dave retired.
In 1999, he came west to Medford to watch over his mother. Retirement held no fears for Dave. He was too busy with his hobbies. A reader, history was his bent, and though he was only six years old when his dad left for the South Pacific, he became a WWII buff. Life on carriers during the Viet Nam war increased his interest in the big flat tops and the fighters who made them their homes. Military aircraft fascinated him.
He was a natural artist, and left us some wonderful things, played a guitar, and was never bored. He was s great companion to his mother. The family had told them that they were just alike but they didn't realize it until the last six years together. They liked the same books, movies, animals and travel. She had seen the world with her husband as he worked in foreign countries. He had seen it from a flat top and a jet. They had a lot to talk about. His death has left a hole in her life that nothing will fill.
He loved his children and was a good father. He is survived by two daughters, Tammy Lynn Tompkins and Debbie Renee Garrett; two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, all living in Olive Branch, Miss. He leaves behind his only cousin, Charles E. Coleman of Santa Barbara, Calif., and his mother.
Dave's ashes were scattered over the San Juan de Fuca Straights in Washington. A memorial marker will rest beside that of his dad's in St. Mary's Cemetery in Wood River, Nebr.
If anyone wishes to leave a remembrance for him, please, leave it at the Asante Home Hospice organization for their wonderful and compassionate nurses and aides who made it possible for Dave to be at home where he wanted to be. They were there night and day as he began his long journey. The Kelley children came from far and wide to sit with him and his mother, and granddaughter, Tammy, while he made it.