David Goldberger, 85, of Marianna died Sunday, October 16, 2016 at Chipola Nursing Pavilion.
Born to William and Marion (Brown) Goldberger on April 5, 1931 in Brooklyn, NY, David spent his pre-adult years living with his mother and sister in the Sheepshead Bay area. While attending PS 109 and Abraham Lincoln High School, he excelled in track and field sports and became an Eagle Scout.
At age 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force becoming a pilot and flyed refueling planes during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During his service, he received recognition for meritorious service on several occasions including a bronze star and two presidential unit ribbons. During pilot training at Graham Air Force Base in Marianna, he met and married Ruth Guy and became not only a husband, but a stepfather to her children; Barbara Weston and George Adams. While later stationed at Plattsburg, NY, he and Ruth adopted a daughter, Dawn, and the family was complete. After 20 years of service, he became a retired major and returned to Florida to begin the next phase of his life.
Using his G.I. bill, David then set out to obtain a formal education. Attending Chipola Jr. College and F.S.U., he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a master’s degree in special education in 1972. He worked for a period of time as a teacher and then with vocational rehabilitation before finding his niche as an administrator with the developmental disabilities population at Sunland Training Center in Marianna. While serving as a residential director in unit 2, he provided guidance and leadership during conversion into the intermediate care facility operating format and helped implement the principles of normalization which opened doors to additional opportunities for residents. He participated in developing policies and procedures related to behavioral services and was very instrumental in obtaining funding for and implementing the rainbow room used to provide a variety of visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation for residents. Retiring in 1988, after 24 years of service, David began another phase in his life.
Now retired from two careers, David turned his attention to his beloved garden, specializing in roses and “Big Boy” tomatoes. He also became a caregiver for Ruth who had an extended illness. When she died in 2006, he came to yet another crossroad.
True to form, David created a whole new life by donating his fiscal talents and time to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, reuniting with local mason’s, joining the local American Legion, and redeveloping his love of travel with is official “traveling partner”, Beth Stewart. River cruises provided him with renewed opportunities to practice his love of photography. His photos of Alaska, the Netherlands, the Mediterranean, Europe, and Russia are inspiring and of postcard quality. He also developed a love of wine and enjoyed nothing better than hanging out with the 3rd Friday Club sharing a glass of wine and a lifetime of memories.
The final phase of his earthly life began on July 7, 2016 when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. His days began to revolve around preparations for medical treatment. When his body rejected the standard chemo/radiation treatment he became too weak to resume his life of independence. He spent the last two months of his life in hospitals (Southeast and Jackson) and at Chipola Nursing Pavilion. A true class act, he endeared caregivers to him with his sincere appreciation of the care he received and his charming sense of humor. He frequently expressed his thoughts that he received good care from good people with special gratitude to Dr. Sorrels, Dr. Atkinson, Dr. Gay, Virgina Fleener, Sherry, Jennifer, Roz, Josephine, Teresa, every nurse who came in his rooms, and a very special thank you to Christian. There are so many who provided care and all cannot be named, but he and his family appreciate all who helped. He approached death as he had the other crossroads in his life by relying on his faith, love for his family and his humor to maintain a truly inspiring progression towards the next phase of his spiritual life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, uncle Murray Golden; aunt, ‘Til and “Unkie” Bennitzen; sister and brother-in-law (Arline and Ted Perkins), and his wife of 48 years.
He is survived by Dawn Goldberger Hill, Barbara Weston Woodham, George Adams (Martha), David and Emily Woodham Family, Lynda Jakala and family, Ryan Adams (Lori), Hannah Hill Truette (Chris), Patrick Hill (Taylor), Teddy Perkins, Vicki Perkins Herlihy and family, Wanda Williams and family, Marcus Wiggins, Norman Good, Oliva and Greg Weston and Jasmine, RJ Whiddon, Beth Stewart, Dempsey Guy and family, Herman (Pal) Guy and family, Zade Guy and family, his family at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the Masonic Lodge, the American Legion, the 3rd Friday Club and many others who knew and will miss him.
Funeral services will be 2pm Friday, October 28, 2016 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church with Father David Green officiating James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel directing. Interment will be held at St. Luke’s Columbarium with honors given by the U.S.A.F. A reception celebrating his life and legacy will be held immediately following at the St. Luke’s Parrish Hall.
The family will receive friends from 6-8pm Thursday, October 27, 2016 at James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations be made in his honor to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church or to charities of choice.