David Burton Pierpont
BAYFIELD, Wis. – David Burton Pierpont, born Dec. 8, 1939, in Ann Arbor, MI to Dr. John and Helen Pierpont, died Jan. 23, 2013, in Bayfield, Wis.
David grew up in Montreal, Wis. as the oldest of eight children, John, Gordon, Bill, Martha, Jim, Mark and Bob and graduated from Hurley High School in 1957. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School in 1964 and practiced medicine for two years as an officer in the US Navy before moving on to private practices in Chetek, Wis., White Pine, MI with his father, Dr. John and in Ironwood. He retired to Bayfield, Wis. in 1999.
Birth and death records show that Dave lived just over 73 years – those numbers are misleading. Dave crammed more “hello” moments into his 73 years than a Green Bay Packer highlight film. His was the kind of life that inspired poetry. “The One and Only” by Andy Pierpont in 1988 is referenced throughout.
In 1964, Dave married his family’s eventual cornerstone, Heidi (Weltmer). The roster that would materialize from this pairing includes Sarah (Mike) Steber, Dr. John W. (Jennifer) Pierpont, Jill (Craig) Sauld, D. Andrew (Terri) Pierpont and Matthew H. (Amy) Pierpont; grandchildren, Nick, Ben, Maddie, Andy, David, Ella, Emma, Jake, Olivia, Belle, Kimberly, Garrett and Brady account for Dave and Heidi’s latest generation.
Dave tended to his children’s care-taking and instructing as many fathes do:
“When I get home, he likes to preach.
He has ready his post-game speech.
He always has advice to give,
Rules by which I should live.”
But Dave’s relationships with his children are defined best by the experiences that he made happen with them. Dave did not wait until diagnosis for a bucket list deadline to explore the world with his family. He involved his wife, children and siblings in every manner of life-enriching endeavor and, when not doctoring patients, he peppered his life and the lives of his inner circle with fishing trips, golf and ski adventures, high-country elk and upland bird hunts, sailing races, airplane construction, competitive bridge and Austrailian exploration, to name a few.
Those of us who have had the privilege to know Dave will fondly recall his quirks and strength of personality. No sport coat was too green and no socks were too orange for him to proudly display in the most public of venues.
“On the course and in public, too,
He’d wear some clothes that’d dazzle you.
Except at work he likes to clash,
He likes to make people laugh.”
To his family’s great delight, the green and orange typically came together in the same awful ensemble – something only a good-looking man could pull off, and he certainly qualified. He was competitive, opinionated and loud – not just clothes loud, but really, really loud. Sorry were you if you had the bad judgment of leading an unprotected king with Dave as your bridge mate and long was the monologue if you had the dumb luck to mention your left-leaning tendencies during a politically-charged happy hour. His voice boomed because he could and there was always something interesting in the message. He wanted it his way and if it didn’t work, he inserted himself into the process. Too many botched calls in his kids’ basketball games led to a brief career as a referee and too much civic apathy launched a political iniative that landed him in the mayor’s office in Chetek, Wis.
Dave was not lavish with his warmth. One had to earn that. But when you worked past his gruff exterior and earned his respect, Dave was a friend for life and it was a game-changer. His fierce loyalty meant that he made the quality of your life a matter of his business. Put another way, he told you what he thought you should hear even if it wasn’t necessarily what you wanted to hear. It made for awkward moments, but it worked because his outward tendencies to confront was the unmistakable message that he cared for you. He loved his people in the way he approached life generally – boldly and without apology.
Dave understood that dying is part of the wheel and he knew he couldn’t just pick out the pieces he liked and leave the rest. For the dying part, Dave put on a clinic for the rest of us – no pity, no regrets. Physician, pilot, eccentric, competitor, fashion statement, but above all else, family man – he did it with panache and made it memorable for all of us.
“If I had a choice, you could bet,
My Dad’s the one I would get.”
At Dave’s request, no memorial service will be held.
Kindly send memorials to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.
To view Dave’s obituary online, sign the guestbook or express online condolences, please visit us at bratleyfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements are by the Roberts Funeral Home in Ashland, WI.