David Arthur Bischel passed away surrounded by family the morning of Thursday, April 25, 2019 at the age of 68 in Auburn, California following a recurrence of cancer five years after his initial diagnosis. He was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, to Kenneth Henry Bischel and Mary Ruth (Morse) Bischel, and was the second of three brothers. He married Jill Sterrett Harper in 1975.
David graduated from Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, California, a musician and scholar-athlete, playing football, basketball and tennis for his high school. In college, he pursued his love of the outdoors, graduating with a B.S. in Renewable Natural Resources with an emphasis in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of California, Davis. He was a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity and a tight end for the UC Davis Aggies football team for four years. He fostered his lifelong passion for forestry and Cal Bears football at the University of California, Berkeley, where he obtained a second B.S. in Forestry and Conservation.
After graduation, David and Jill spent five years living in Truckee where David worked for Fibreboard Corporation. They briefly relocated to Grass Valley before moving to Mount Shasta, where they lived for a decade. They finally settled in Auburn, California in 1989.
David was a true steward of forestry and conservation with a 44-year career dedicated to forest management and sustainability. His career spanned from his early work as the forestry manager for Southern Pacific Land Company’s 220,000-acre Mt. Shasta District to 22 years serving as the president and chief executive officer of the California Forestry Association (CalForests). David was highly respected by his peers and considered a gentle giant of the forestry industry by many. He served in a leadership capacity with many professional and community organizations including Chairman of the National Forest Industry Associations Council, President of the California Licensed Foresters Association, and Chairman of the Northern California Society of American Foresters. He also served as Chairman of the National Council of Forestry Association Executives and the Executive Officer of the California State Board of Forestry’s Professional Foresters Licensing Program. He was most recently a member of the Board of Directors of the California Fire Safe Council and the Pacific Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, and a member of the National Forest Industry Labor-Management Committee’s Board of Trustees.
He also proudly served as a member of the school board for the Auburn Union School District for eight years.
David approached life with humility and a sense of humor, always full of funny stories about his adventures in the woods. His character and values shined through in his interactions with others. He treated people with genuine warmness and acted with integrity and wisdom. He took much joy in playing tennis with friends, boating on Lake Tahoe, skiing with artistic precision (in what may have been inspired by the wedeln style), playing piano, running model trains with his children and grandson, and spending time with family and friends. His most beloved place to spend time was at his mountain cabin, listening to the roar of the Yuba River.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother Kenneth and Mary Bischel. He is survived by his wife, Jill Harper Bischel of Auburn, children D. Tyler Bischel of San Jose, Manda Notzon and husband Daniel of Emeryville, Heather Bischel and husband Nicolas Fauchier-Magnan of Davis, Drew Bischel of Santa Cruz, brothers William Bischel and his wife Elizabeth of Menlo Park, Andrew Bischel and his wife Mireille of Walnut Creek, grandchildren Elliott and Maialys Fauchier-Magnan, along with many cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends.
A memorial service will be held in his honor on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 1:30pm at the Pioneer Methodist Church in Auburn, California. For those wishing to make a donation in David Bischel's honor, please consider the Forest Foundation at calforestfoundation.org.