David Bruce Grabbe
March 3, 1956 – June 30, 2019
David Bruce Grabbe, 63, left this earth for his heavenly home on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Methodist Hospice in Memphis, Tennessee. Dave's humor, compassion and warm nature made him a friend to many, both in his professional and personal life.
Dave was born March 3, 1956 to Clarence and Lillian (Coupal) Grabbe in Hays, Kansas. He attended Thomas More Prep-Marian along with several of his siblings. While working for Air Midwest, Dave met his wife, Kathryn Gentleman, while they attended Fort Hays State University. Dave and Kathy were married July 18, 1981 in Hays. Over the next 37 years of married life, Dave and Kathy moved several times around the Midwest with Dave's career in the aviation field. After many moves, Dave and Kathy moved to Kansas City, where they began a family with the arrival of their son, Cody in 1985. In 1988, a daughter, Kailee, was born.
After Kailee was born, Dave continued his career in aviation with Federal Express, taking the family to Memphis, Tennessee and later Indianapolis, Indiana where their children would grow up. Dave loved his job with Federal Express, as it allowed him to combine his interests in both aviation and weather. During this time, Kathy worked in the healthcare profession as a nurse. In 2015, Dave was transferred back to Memphis, Tennessee.
A humble, compassionate, unassuming and hard-working man with a wonderful sense of humor, Dave was much loved by his Air Midwest and Federal Express colleagues. He kept many of his former colleagues connected throughout the years. Dave reflected with fondness and often on his time at Air Midwest as a part of the "ZV" family. He kept his own large Grabbe family connected over the years as well and was much loved by his siblings and many nieces and nephews.
Dave was also an avid golfer, car enthusiast, photographer and lover of dogs. Several of his photographs were published in numerous magazines over the years. His love of photography spilled over into their daughter, Kailee, who holds a degree in photography from Purdue University. Dave's love of aviation spilled over into their son, Cody, who could tell you every other detail of planes they saw at a young age. The family had multiple dogs through the years, all very well loved by Dave.
Dave leaves behind his wife, Kathryn Grabbe of Southaven, MS; son Cody Grabbe and son-in-law Josh Harraman of Metuchen, NJ; daughter Kailee Koehler and son-in-law Benjamin Koehler of Brownsburg, IN; sisters Frances (Jim) Gordon, Donna (Bob) Farrell, Pat (Leroy) Newell, and Lorri (Doug) Leibbrandt; brothers Wayne (Judy) Grabbe and Richard (Cheryl) Grabbe; and sister-in-law Sharon (Rex) Keister along with a cavalcade of nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends who all loved him dearly and will miss him. Dave is preceded in death by his sister Marian (Sam) Warfel; his parents Clarence and Lillian Grabbe; and in-laws Lawrence and Betty Gentleman.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 6 at 2 pm at Graceland Christian Church, 2126 Stateline Rd E, Southaven, MS 38672.
With many of Dave's family members living in Kansas, a Celebration of Life will be held there at a future date this fall.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to the Dave Grabbe Memorial Fund via Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org with the memo "Dave Grabbe Memorial Fund" or check to Kathy Grabbe with the memo "Dave Grabbe Memorial Fund". Funds will be used for medical expenditures and the remainder will be split between the First Tee Tennessee Youth Golf Program in Memphis, TN and the Misty Eyes Animal Center of Avon, IN.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
David Bruce Grabbe
July 4, 2019
I met Dave shortly after my family moved to the east side of Hays during my middle school years. Dave always seemed to have a golf club in his hand (a lifelong condition) or, at the time I first met him, a bamboo pole that he was using for pole vaulting in his back yard. He was the main reason I joined the golf team in high school - we had great fun traveling to/from and playing in the tournaments, although Dave was always much the better golfer. In fact, he and another teammate placed 7th in the state tournament our senior year. We were together from middle school until we graduated from high school and went our separate ways for college. One of my favorite memories was a trip Dave, our good friend Tom Karlin, and I took the summer after we graduated from high school. We three drove out to Denver, and enjoyed our time immensely. Dave was always low-key (I can't recall him ever getting really angry or wildly ecstatic) but loved to laugh and tell jokes. We played golf, of course, and he loved how far he could hit his drives in the mountains! We also went to a concert at the old "Mile High Stadium" - with the Beach Boys, Jesse Collin Young, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Pretty much everyone at the concert was getting high - except we 3 Kansas boys. We all were part of each other's weddings. Unfortunately, our careers took us to different places and life got busy with kids and responsibilities. I sincerely regret not keeping in touch with Dave and Kathy over the years. It is ironic that on the day of his death, the readings at church were about not putting things off - to act on the invitation that God has given us to live as he wishes we would. I always felt I would reach back out to my old friends after retirement. The message is clear, don't wait. I know Dave has been a great husband, a great father, and a great friend to me and many others and will be greatly missed.
July 2, 2019
I am so sad for this loss--I remember him cheerfully walking the dog who grinned (sorry I don't remember the name) around the neighborhood. Often Kathy was with him too-such friendly, nice neighbors in our Chapel Hill division. And Cody--so many memories of you and other friends of Erica--and your patience teaching Daniel clarinet! Love to the whole family and may the great memories of this kind man who meant so much help get you through this time.
Love from the Hamiltons--Bob, Ruth and Erica and Daniel and families
July 2, 2019
It is hard to express my condolences to Kathy and the family for the loss of Dave as husband, father, brother and friend to so many. My thoughts go back the the countless activities I enjoyed with Dave and Kathy. Ballgames, concerts, cookouts, bars, restaurants and so much time spent as a guest as their house I felt it was my second home. There were those untold thousands of rudimentary messages exchanged on the Air Midwest computer system that eventually evolved into emails and texts. Though we both moved around a lot, Dave's presence was always there. Even if we went silent for a time, we always picked up right were we left off. We had lots of recent communication which makes his sudden loss even more significant to me. His passion for aviation (planes and people), photography, golf, Porsches and KU hoop never wavered. Neither did his devotion to family and friends. So to all who might read this, enjoy your passions, time and loved ones especially now. Dave will approve.
P.S. to Cody and Kailee - Be proud of your Dad. He was a good man. His legacy endures.
July 1, 2019
Kathy, Cody, Kailee. I'm very sad to hear of Dave's passing . He fought a gallant battle. We met for dinner about a year ago when he was passing through MCI and shared lots of ZV & Fedex memories at that time. Man, we've known each for 35+ years and have managed to stay in touch ever since. I always thought of Dave as my brother more so than my 2 biological as we had so much in common. We met the first time when Dave was flying back/forth between HYS & DSM before you were married! Always looked forward to our lunches in IND over the years. He will be sorely missed. May you be surrounded by God's peace and comfort.