Life Story / Obituary
Although he was taken from his loved ones too soon, David Zeeff lived a life that was filled with the people and experiences he loved. He was the sort of person who knew what he liked. With a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near, David worked hard, played hard, and even fought hard when he was engaged in the fight of his life. A loving husband and devoted father, he was happiest when his friends were near. Dave was an outdoor lover through and through, and being outdoors deer hunting was only better when he was doing it with family. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
It seems only fitting that Dave’s story began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. It was the 1950s when James Dean and Marilyn Monroe starred on the silver screen and Elvis Presley introduced the world to rock ‘n roll. It was just as this decade was dawning that Jack and Myrtle (Wheaton) Zeeff were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the first glimmer of spring appeared on the horizon in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their wait was over on March 19, 1950, when the baby boy they named David Roger drew his first breath. The middle of three boys, he was raised in the family home at 1184 Maynard SW (which his father built) alongside his older brother, Doug, and his younger brother, Danny. Since their home was surrounded by woods, the boys loved playing outdoors all day long.
It isn’t really surprising that Dave was a bustle of activity from his youngest days. When he was around four, he and his brother, Doug, were inspired after watching Superman. The brothers went outside, climbed on the roof, and tried to fly. Dave crashed to the ground, so Doug decided to take the ladder down! The family had a donkey named Tequila that was used for his father’s construction business, Zeeff Construction, which was located down the street. The boys dragged that thing all over and would then ride it home. Dave had his first guitar lesson when he was 10, and he never stopped playing after that. Having a guitar in his hand was just part of who Dave was. He was one of the best at music trivia, his friends would often call when they were stumped and his wife always heard Dave say “who sang that” with each song on the radio! As a student he attended Oakgrove Elementary, or the “Oakgrove Dump,” which was just down the street. Dave graduated from Grandville High School in 1968 and then attended Grand Rapids Junior College for a couple of years.
As a young man Dave was eager for all that life had in store. In 1971, he and his father and brother, Danny, went to Bermuda to work as contractors for Wellington Water Supply. They constructed fresh water tunnels for the country’s first fresh water supply. After two years, they returned to Grand Rapids where Dave took a job as an operator with Haven Bush Company. He remained there for 15 years until they closed.
His parents and other brothers all moved to Florida and Dave stayed and purchased the family home. After Haven Bush, Dave worked for Riverside Construction for over 10 years and then Owens Ames Kimball Construction until he retired.
In the late 70s Dave’s life was forever changed when he was introduced to his future wife. Her name was Nancy Dargie, and her sister was dating Dave’s best friend. They dated for about a year before getting married on June 9, 1980. They were married in his mother’s backyard in Florida with about 30 people present. It was an extraordinarily hot day, even for Florida. They honeymooned in Florida, but that was a really hot experience as the air conditioning was broken at the hotel. Together they welcomed two boys, Jack in 1982 and Justin in 1985 into their hearts and home. As a family it was their tradition to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy every night, and everyone knew not to call their home between the hours of seven and eight. Dave was known to pick up his guitar anytime of the day, and although Nancy tried to limit his playing time to commercials only when they were watching TV, it never really worked. Dave loved being out bow hunting, and it was also a part of their family life. They spent every weekend from October through January deer hunting up in the Brohman area. At first they stayed in the van, but they later purchased a cabin in the area. Everything revolved around getting ready to hunt and then hunting. Nancy learned to bow hunt as a way to be with Dave, but eventually really enjoyed it and Dave was always proud with Nancy had a successful hunt. It has been said that Dave had three loves: Nancy and boys, deer hunting, and playing the guitar. Jack liked to play the guitar, and Justin liked to deer hunt.
Although they didn’t travel much, they did make trips to Florida to visit family. Dave and Nancy also took a trip to Mexico for their 25th anniversary, and he was hooked, making as many trips back as he could. He loved the all-inclusive experiences, and his final trip was in April of 2018. Dave was known for his sweet tooth, especially when it came to birthday cake as he loved white frosting. He also liked cookies, candy, or whatever else was around. Dave pretty much just loved food of any kind and was willing to try whatever. Otherwise ribs were his favorite. Dave liked to listen to and play Neil Young songs. He had a great sense of humor and was known for his quick one-liners like, “Tic tac in a gut pile” and, “Disco in the back of the truck.” He was both physically and mentally tough.
In May of 2018, Dave and his family were given a tough pill to swallow when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He underwent extensive chemotherapy and was able to remain at home until the very end. During this time Dave became very appreciative of all the kind gestures of his family and friends. There was no doubt he loved them.
Strong, tough, and driven, David Zeeff was a blessing in the lives of his family and friends. He was a man of integrity who was known for his unwavering devotion to his family and friends. Dave liked to do what he liked with the people he liked, and he didn’t need all the bells and whistles when it came to anything as he was happiest with a bow or guitar in his hand. He was never one to worry about the little things but took whatever came his way in stride. Life will never be the same without him here, but Dave leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his friends and loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.