American Veteran 04

David Okelberry

January 17, 1928 ~ September 12, 2021 (age 93)


                                                       David Smith Okelberry


David Smith Okelberry, cherished husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday September 12, 2021 at the age of 93.

David was born Tuesday, January 17, 1928 at 9:15 p.m. at Island, Cassia County, Idaho to William Sandburg Okelberry and Irene Eliza Smith Okelberry.  He had black hair and hazel eyes.  David was the sixth of eight children.  He had two older sisters, Lillian and Rachel and a younger sister Betty.  He had three older brothers, Verl, Joseph, and Myron and a younger brother Dick

David was raised on a farm and attended school through the eighth grade.  He obtained a job at a gas station in Burley, Idaho and later worked at the Burley Flour Mill until, at the age of 18, was drafted into the Army.  He left Fort Lawton in Seattle, Washington on a ship “equipped to haul one thousand troops. We had three thousand troops, so it was a little crowded.  They told us to eat a lot and you won’t get sick.  The first three days I got two apples and one orange.” He was stationed in Tokyo, Japan, and was assigned as a mechanic to general headquarters.  He was made sergeant and supervised the jeep section of the motor pool in addition to General Douglas MacArthur’s two black Cadillac sedans.  He was discharged from the army in November 1947.

David returned to Burley, Idaho where he married Rhea M Mills, February 4, 1948.  They moved to Utah where he was employed with Hill Air Force Base as a mechanic until he retired in 1980. During his tenure with Hill Air Force Base, he was sent to different air bases supervising a repair crew.  He worked in every state in the United States and in Japan and the Philippines.  I asked my father once why he was always on TDY and dad’s reply was “my boss said that if I was listed as the supervisor he would always get volunteers to go”.  Dad was a very gentle man, never judgmental, always willing to help someone learn and better himself.  I think the men he worked with respected Dad for his thoughtfulness and integrity. 

Dad could not understand how hitting a ball and then chasing it could be fun.  On one TDY trip he was encouraged to go golfing with some of the guys.  Dad discovered that hitting and chasing that ball was fun.  He learned to love the game and became very good at it.  He also loved to attend BYU football games. 

Dad loved his garden and growing things.  He loved his animals and they loved him.  You would always see him in the yard with animals following him around.

David is survived by his wife Rhea Okelberry and children, Katherine Huisman, Kent (Suzanne) Okelberry, Kerry (Janice) Okelberry, Karen (Mike) Hoins, and Kevilynn (Anthony) Wells, 21 grandchildren, 49 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by 6 great grandchildren and one grandson-in-law. 

The family wishes to express their thanks to Applegate Home Care & Hospice for the tender care dad has received from their wonderful staff.  We also appreciate his neighbors, friends, and ward members for all the love and kindness shown to Dad and Mom.                                               

Funeral services will be held Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm at Lindquist’s Bountiful Mortuary, 727 N. 400 E. where friends may visit prior to services from 12:30-1:30pm. 

Interment Centerville City Cemetery.

Paul Kratz is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting for friends and family of David’s

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September 18, 2021

12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Lindquist's Bountiful Mortuary
727 N. 400 E.
Bountiful, UT 84010

Funeral Service
September 18, 2021

2:00 PM
Lindquist's Bountiful Mortuary
727 N. 400 E.
Bountiful, UT 84010

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