Life Story / Obituary
David Marcellus lived life on his own terms. A man of many talents and abilities, it afforded him the opportunity to pursue the many things he loved and enjoyed. Although David had his share of opinions, he loved making people laugh with his uncanny sense of humor, and his charming nature made him beloved by all who knew him best. Extremely intelligent, David was quite mechanically inclined, and could fix anything. Foremost in David’s heart was the family he truly loved and treasured, and for these things and so much more, he will be dearly missed.
As World War II raged overseas in 1944, rationing took place on the home front, and women entered the workforce in droves. While the Battle of the Bulge and the D-Day invasion made headlines, it made for worrisome hearts back home, yet the entertainment world brought welcome relief with the sounds of Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, while American baseball created a much needed diversion. For Lewis McKinley and Catherine Agnes (Edgett) Marcellus, there was much to celebrate on October 10, 1944 in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan when they welcomed the birth of their son, David Jude Marcellus.
Having made their home on Lake Michigan Drive in the Standale area of Grand Rapids, David was the youngest of eight children in his bustling household. He grew up following his older siblings, Robert, Marie, Marjory, Lorraine, Alice, Melissa, and Kathleen, and his father worked as a laborer at Kelvinator. A family devoted to their Catholic faith, David’s mother was a homemaker and also worked at West Michigan Catholic Newspaper. They were faithful members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church where David received the Holy Sacraments as a young boy. He also attended Catholic school at Holy Spirit.
David enjoyed a childhood filled with boyhood adventures. He loved to roam his family’s farm property, exploring and setting traps as a boy. He also tended to several of their farm animals. As a family, much enjoyment was found at their family cottage on picturesque Hamlin Lake. Shared summers spent together there made for memorable times in David’s life. During his youth in 1956, while bringing Easter food to be blessed at church on Holy Saturday, David was hit by an automobile near his home on Lake Michigan Drive. As a result, he suffered a broken pelvis, forcing him to be laid up for six months. It was during this time when David bought a guitar and taught himself how to play. He loved the guitar and continued to play for years to come. David and his friend Gerry Gorecki attended their first rock n roll concert at the Civic Auditorium downtown, seeing Annette Funicello and many others. A memorable time for David.
After graduating from Catholic Central High School with the Class of 1962, David went on to a technical school in Detroit. With the Vietnam War well underway, David eventually enlisted into the U.S. Army. After serving six months, David got word his father had suddenly died and soon discharged, he was sent home to help care for and support his mother. He took a job as a buyer for Fox’s and Buds Jewelry Store in downtown Grand Rapids, the very place where he met his future wife, Judy Oom. The two began dating, fell in love and were happily married on July 30, 1969 at Holy Spirit Church.
As newlyweds, David and Judy lived in his mother’s home before renting a home on Straight Street NW, and soon began a family of their own. They were delighted with the birth of their little girl, Charamy in 1970, and son Eric completed their family in 1972. They purchased a home on Pulaski Avenue SE, remaining there for two years, and later moved to a house on Birch Street NW. The couple divorced in the early 70's.
David later landed a job as a tool and die maker. Through the years he was employed by Reynolds Metals, H&R Die, and Challenge Manufacturing. A hard and thorough worker, David was very skilled at his craft. He also began a chinchilla business, raising chinchillas for their fur, but it didn’t quite pan out.
Family was important to David, and spending time camping as a family was one of the many ways they enjoyed their time together. They went camping in their camper throughout Michigan during the warm months of the summer and later took in a seasonal site on Wolf Lake. For several years David was a dedicated and enthusiastic runner, even competing in a few Grand Rapids River Bank Runs. David loved his motorcycles and with the open road before him, it gave him a feeling of unparalleled freedom. Through the years he owned a Royal Enfield, a Honda, a V45 Saber, and a Suzuki.
When it came to cooking, David was a natural. He loved making smoked beef brisket, and his baked chicken and turkeys were the best. Homemade chicken noodle soup was another one of his specialties, and he liked making fondue. One of the greatest pie bakers, there wasn’t one that David made that was more delicious than the other. A beautiful vegetable garden complete with an abundance of tomatoes, cabbages, bean and strawberries was a testament to David’s daily care and hard work.
David was an avid reader of sci-fi and especially enjoyed reading the Lord of the Rings series. He also spent time reading many technical manuals, and excelled in math. He had a love for the classic rock genre, and some of his favorite groups and recording artists included Dire Straits, Neil Diamond, Bob Seger, and Bonnie Tyler. As a licensed scuba diver and with his avid interest in the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, David’s love for scuba diving found him involved on many dives exploring these wondrous shipwrecks. A man of many talents, he also built race cars for Berlin Raceway, along with a 1965 GTO and a 1962 Corvette which became his pride and joy.
While in his fifties, David suffered an injury which deemed him disabled. At this time in his life he bought a sharpening business, sharpening tools for industry, and built and sold sharpening equipment. He later expanded his business into sharpening scissors and razors for hair salons and barber shops. His great math skills and ability with numbers afforded him the liberty to dabble in the futures industry by buying and trading futures for a period of time. In his later years, David’s grandchildren brought him the greatest joy. He absolutely loved visiting with them, and did so at every opportunity.
Through his many adventures and experiences in life, David Marcellus lived his own way, on his own terms, and did so fully and completely. A very talented man, he used his skills in his work, and for his leisure. Nothing brought him greater joy than bringing laughter to someone’s day or treasured times spent with family. Although very opinionated, it was just one of the many things to love about David that endeared him to many. Sadly missed, he will be forever remembered by all who knew him.
David J. Marcellus, aged 70 of Lowell, MI passed away unexpectedly at his home on Saturday, August 15, 2015. He was preceded in death by his seven brothers and sisters. He is survived by his children, Charamy (Thad) Cleary, Eric Marcellus (Diane Siegel); his grandchildren, Kyler Butterworth and Camden Cleary, Aaleyah and Eric Jaymes Marcellus; a sister-in-law, many nieces, nephews and friends. Cremation has taken place. A service to celebrate David’s life will be held Saturday, August 22, 2015, 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Relatives and friends may meet his family at the funeral home on Saturday from 10:00 AM until the service begins at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in his memory to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. To read more about David’s life, to leave your own memory of him and to sign his guest book, please visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com.