Cover photo for David Eugene Wise's Obituary
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1948 David 2018

David Eugene Wise

March 31, 1948 — November 25, 2018

David Eugene Wise: Born Johnstown PA 3/31/1948. Died 11/25/18 Sandpoint, Idaho

Preceded in death by parents Albert W Wise Jr and Helen K. Wise and infant brother Martin W Wise.

Survived by sisters Linda Litzinger (Roger), Donna Shinew (John Ross) and Judy Lacko (Larry); Daughter Terry Surabian-Richards (Michael); Son Daniel Albert Wise (Yvonne Trost), Grandchildren Ashley Davis (Zachary), Barbara Ingram (David), Christopher Surabian-Richards, Jennifer Surabian-Richards Nunnelee (David), Daniel Albert Wise Jr. and Anakin Trost; Also survived by former wife Colleen Derby, Step-son, Luke McDaniel (Vilma) and Step-daughter, Molly Bonville (John) 5 step-grandchildren; 7 nieces & nephews and 16 great nieces & nephews.

Thanks to special Idaho friends, Crissy and Emily! Long-time special Johnstown friends, Larry Faust & Ron Vickroy.

Devoted and extra-special Good Samaritans, Ed and Marie, who went above and beyond the call of neighbors!

Special friend and doctor, Jade Dardine, MD, Kaniksu Health Services and Life Care Center of Sandpoint.

Dave was a 1960’s YMCA State Swim Team Member; Master Counselor of DeMolay; Tribune Democrat Paper Route carrier; worked for Dean Phipps Auto Store; a member of St. John’s United Church of Christ; and graduated from Johnstown High School in 1966. 

First in his class as a US Navy radioman he served in various locations on land as well as at sea: for Pres Johnson & Sec of Def McNamara at the Viet Nam Peace Conference on Guam with S. Viet Nam President & the President of North Viet Nam; Emergency staff radioman on a nuclear sub to Saigon, Viet Nam; Volunteering for riverboat or marine patrols in the Delta, he was pulled one night into duty elsewhere, hearing later that the entire squad had been ambushed and there were no survivors! Imagine having been the only survivor and to be the person to send that news back home!

Even after his regular enlistment had ended, wanting to continue his defense of our country, he re-upped for a 2nd stint during the Tanker Wars; and a 3rd time during Desert Storm/Desert Shield in the California US Army Reserve.

He worked for various auto dealerships and was selected to drive Oliver North in the 2006 Freedom Tour. He was licensed by the California Bureau of Security & Investigative Services for fugitive recovery; hired by California Bakersfield College Department of Safety; and Securitas Security Systems of Fresno, CA.

He retired to Idaho where he became caretaker of 30 acres of wooded land with multiple cabins, a large garage and other maintenance buildings. Ultimately known as “Mad Mountain Dave”, he was self-sufficient and as helpful as possible to his neighbors.

Thanks to his step-daughter, he was able to adopt two Military Working Dogs and Katie, a Jack Russell Terrier that accompanied him everywhere, wrapped around his shoulders, even into stores. He lost all 3 dogs in one year. Spiraling downward, he then adopted Radar, Hawkeye and Hot Lips to complete his new team, and thanks to his step-son putting a roof over his head, a driveway and electricity to his cabin he kept on surviving! 

David has been a life member of the VFW, the American Legion as Sgt at Arms and the NRA.

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant!!

Honoring his wishes, there will be no viewings in either Idaho or Pennsylvania.  However, he will be honored with a military burial in Arlington Cemetery, Virginia on a future date. Condolences may be sent to Donna Shinew, 232 Walters Avenue, Johnstown, PA 15904. Donations in his honor can be made to:  or mailed to Mission K9 Rescue, PO Box 395, Needville, TX 77461-0395; (713) 589-9362. This is a non-profit organization with no connection to the US Government. They received the 2017 Helping Heroes Award!


Family and friends are invited to sign David’s online guestbook at  Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Coffelt Funeral Service.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David Eugene Wise, please visit our flower store.


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