David Granville Schoolen

August 28, 1940January 31, 2021

David Granville Schoolen, age 80, of Chowchilla, California passed away on Sunday, January 31, 2021. David was born August 28, 1940 to Merle and Effie Schoolen.

David is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy Schoolen, son David Schoolen (Stacy), daughter Darcie Elliott (William), sisters Marion Crall, Gerry Wasko, brother Robert Schoolen, grandson Jeff Kammerer, and granddaughter Courtney Schoolen.

David was preceded in death by daughter Margaret "Meg" Kirby, father Merle Schoolen, mother Effie “Okla” Giesbrecht, and brother John Schoolen.

Dave was born in Iowa and spent his formative years there. While his childhood may have been less than ideal he was fortunate to have many people in his life whom he loved and respected. Dave grew up surrounded by family from both the Schoolens and the Coles, and to hear the stories, it is amazing that any of those kids survived into adulthood! Despite being a lover of pranks and being rather “ornery” at times he also managed to be a loving and protective big brother. His family taught him the value of hard work and a strong work ethic. He lived with his Aunt Marguerite and Uncle Howard for many years and Dave loved to tell how his Uncle Howard was very strict about David getting his chores done. The rule was that he “could do what he wanted as long as he was home in time to milk the cows” and Dave joked that many a-morning found him driving into the yard just as milking time began. Where he was before that is probably something he didn’t want us kids to know!

Dave was always very smart and could fix anything! When his dream of going to college was not going to be realized due to a lack of funds, he chose to join the Navy. Being from Iowa, a sea life did not immediately make sense but he told us that he “knew he was going to be drafted anyway” and he had heard the Navy had the best food. Typical Dave.

Once Dave finished his basic training, he passed all the requirements to become part of the submarine service and became part of the “Gold Crew” of the USS Tecumseh nuclear submarine as an operator. During his tours with the Gold Crew in the Gulf of Tonkin, North China Sea and South China sea during the Vietnam War he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, The Dolphin’s Badge of the Submarine Service and the Good Conduct Medal. After hearing stories like how he and his friends managed to successfully hide his XO’s cabin door for three months ON A SUBMARINE we do wonder how he managed the good conduct medal!

During his time in the Navy there came a time when Dave was stationed in New London, Connecticut. To hear Dorothy’s version she “met this sailor in a bar one night” and the rest is history. He requested to be stationed as close to New England as possible so the Navy, in its infinite wisdom, sent him to Hawaii. My mother bravely followed him (she says it was sheer stubbornness because no one thought she had the guts to leave New England to marry a sailor that she had only known for three months) and in January 1966 they were married. In July of 1967 Darcie was born. Then Dave was transferred to be an instructor at the Naval Power Training Unit in Idaho Falls, Idaho where David was born in April of 1970.

Upon leaving the Navy, the Schoolen family headed to sunny California where David joined forces with the Sumpters and Coles and began farming. Many happy years went by with lots of time spent with the extended family. We were not rich but we all have many memories of gatherings and laughter. People who were there will remember Granny’s cobbler and homemade ice cream, BBQ’s, parties where gallons and gallons of corn were harvested and frozen, Christmas caroling in a cotton trailer, tromping cotton, pool parties, camping, and many more happy times too numerous to mention. Dorothy even managed to entice her sister, Linda, to stay with us and she met her husband Fred. We were blessed to have them so close to us and our family got to grow up with her family so that we had even more wonderful family memories.

In the late 1970’s Dave began attending the El Nido Missionary Baptist church. Dot and his kids had been attending and he wanted to go and find out “what the heck they were teaching over there”. David accepted the Lord as his Savior and would eventually be a teacher, leader, deacon and supporter of his church family. He made life-long friendships and had many mentors that he respected and loved. The church will miss him very much! We are sure they may be worried that we will submit a bill for “services rendered” because the bill would be enormous! Not to worry, he had a deep love for his church and considered it an honor to serve his Lord and his church family.

After farming for many years, both with his family and on his own, the mid 1980 ag economy forced him to follow a new career path. By then the family had relocated to Chowchilla and David became a mechanic for World Color Press, a large commercial printer. He retired in 2005.

Retirement was not a time for Dave to slow down. He continued working on repair and building projects almost full time. He realized some of his dreams of traveling with much-loved and oft-recounted tales of crabbing in Oregon with his daughter Meg and her crew, visiting the coast as often as possible, fishing in Canada with his brother and brother-in-law, bow hunting in Northern California with his friends, completing his “bucket list” dreams of driving through Alaska with his 5th wheel, and going to Australia with his in-laws, Fred and Linda Erickson. He also became a certified locksmith and he began building beautiful furniture out of wine barrels. Dave was not a man to sit still for long.

How do you sum up a person like Dave in one or two pages? He was an amazing man but he was not a perfect man. There were things in his life he regretted and he could be, well, just a little, grouchy at times. But he was a good man, a kind and generous and giving man. He was a man of faith and he showed his love through service to others. He cherished his wife. He was an amazing father. He and Dot took in those that needed a home and he made them part of their family. He loved Travis McGee books, fresh corn on the cob, watching NCIS and he was a world-class tinkerer. He loved his country and his Lord and his friends. He loved to laugh. He made silly jokes and liked playing cards. He didn’t hold grudges. He rescued people from the side of the road and fixed their car. He loved tapioca pudding and ice cream. He loved children. He was a great Uncle and Cousin. He was a man of integrity and lived by the motto if something is worth doing it is worth doing right. He loved learning new things. He could recite the alphabet song backward just as fast as he could forward. He ate peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches and he liked his fried egg sandwiches cold. He did not like the snow because he had to shovel so much of it as a kid. He made the lives of people who knew him better.

We now live in a world that does not have a David Granville Schoolen in it and we are poorer for it. We take comfort in the fact that we will see him in heaven someday and he would want us to tell you to make sure your spiritual future is secure by accepting Jesus as your Savior.

Our hearts are broken but we are so lucky to have had him in our lives.

Be at peace dearest husband, father, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. You will be missed and fondly remembered. Until we meet again in a better place, know that we love you and will never forget you.


  • Dorothy Schoolen, Wife of 55 years
  • David Schoolen (Stacy), Son
  • Darcie Elliott (William), Daughter
  • Marion Crall, Sister
  • Gery Wasko, Sister
  • Robert Schoolen, Brother
  • Jeff Kammerer, Grandchild
  • Courtney Schoolen, Grandchild
  • Merle Schoolen, Father (deceased)
  • Effie Schoolen, Mother (deceased)
  • John Schoolen, Brother (deceased)
  • Margaret "Meg" Kirby, Daughter (deceased)


  • Visitation

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021


David Granville Schoolen

have a memory or condolence to add?

Russ Parman

February 9, 2021

Deb and I first met Dave at the El Nido Missionary Baptist Church when my family and I joined in 2000. The church was having a breakfast get-together, and Dave was busy in the kitchen cooking up some good “vittles”. My first impression then was “now there’s a man in his element!”. Dave had a way of making sure that people always felt welcome and was very enthusiastic about any kind of fellowship opportunity.

Over the years, I had the privilege of working with Dave in various aspects of church business. He took all of it very seriously and always had the best interest of the church and it’s people at heart. While I never saw what was in it, he always came to church with a briefcase. He was always in tune with and aware of the needs of people. At business meetings, he usually had something to offer up as possible direction or benefit. He never shied away from letting his feelings be known, and every now and then would get “choked up” while expressing them. I saw this both “in public” and in private. In brother Dave it was evident that there was a very deep river of emotion underlying all of the work and care he provided on behalf of the Church and its people.

Dave was a great encourager! And while attempting to encourage, he never hesitated to cite examples, mistakes and experiences from his own life to make the point. While his opinions were sometimes strong, they were balanced out by his own brand of humility, and he was the first to admit that he wasn’t perfect, often expressing how important it is not to judge other people.

For Deb and I, it was always easy to love, trust and respect Brother Dave, and we will never forget him. Our prayers go out for peace and comfort to Dot and the rest of the family. We rejoice knowing that Dave is now enjoying his rewards in the presence of Jesus! We’ll “see you soon” Brother Dave!