Pixley Funeral Home

322 West University Drive, Rochester, MI


David D. Fabian

December 11, 1942July 15, 2019
Play Tribute Movie

David D. Fabian (December 11, 1942 – July 15, 2019)

Through woodworking, David crafted beautiful furniture and strong relationships. David Dennis Fabian, age 76, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, passed away peacefully on July 15, 2019, surrounded by loved ones present in person and in prayer. Up until his final days, Dave tended to his family and friends, sharing his quick wit and wisdom. Strong as oak, Dave willingly shouldered the burdens of family whose loved ones were in need of care. It wasn’t obligation that propelled him forward, but rather a deep loyalty to family and friends, in their good times and in their failing health. It was surprising Dave was taken from us on July 15, 2019. To our astonishment, death was the one thing stronger than him. We assumed he could conquer any challenge. After all, his life was a testament to perseverance in the face of adversity and resilience. But when the day came, he went out on his own terms — not a surprise to those who knew him. He left this Earth not a moment sooner than he was ready. He stayed a little bit longer to make sure we were okay. He waited until his wife, Mary Lee, was prepared, as far as one can be, for the life she would lead on Earth without him.

A man of deep faith, Dave led by example, and neither snowstorms nor other inclement weather impeded his pilgrimage to church each week. For example, when we lived in Lapeer years ago, Dave and his family braved a blizzard to find a quaint gathering of the priest who lived next door to the church and a couple of locals who wandered in, whether in search of Scripture or warmth. Undeterred, Dave called his family into action, promoting them to impromptu altar boys and bearers of the gifts. The Mass would go on. When camping in the “Thumb” of Michigan, Dave would drive his family, some wearing cargo shorts and others smelling of bug spray, to the nearest church some 90 miles away. It didn’t matter that the Mass was in Spanish or Latin. They attended.

Known as “Papa” to his grandchildren, Papa was imbued with patience, drawing from the inexhaustible reservoir lacking in parents and springing from grandparents. As a student of history, he help shared through books and antidotes the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform made for freedom. It wasn’t acrylic “Red, White and Blue” July 4th patriotism, where some gloss over the indignities of war, but rather a tale of ordinary men and women, those called posthumously heros, who gave their lives for something larger. Not because they wanted to. But because they signed on for adventure or signed up for a cause, and found themselves on the wrong side of fate. Ordinary men and women, who would never want to be called heroes, but were given that badge of honor once they met their Creator.

History wasn’t the only lesson Papa instilled on his grandchildren. To his grandsons, he taught them that dishes didn’t walk themselves to the dishwasher and that one might need to get his hands wet to rinse them off. The garbage pail under the kitchen sink was not a compost pile, but rather a temporary holding place for bags that needed to be deposited in the garbage can located in the garage. As to his granddaughters, he taught them to be fiercely independent, not afraid to chase their dreams, regardless of profession. It was their world to conquer — and the only limit was limitless.

A good steward of the Detroit Edison Company by work day, Dave’s heart resembled that of a vagabond, at least when it came to vacation. No part of the world was too exotic. No place to scary to conquer. When their bus was stopped along a bumpy road in the backroads of Turkey, the soldiers whose chest was crossed with brass machine gun cartridges, each holding an automatic machine gun with sweaty trigger fingers, were not to be feared. It’s not clear what Dave exactly thought, but he wasn’t scared, or least he didn’t let on. Rather, he seemed to settle on the notion that there were too many on the bus to take hostage. Safety in numbers, as the saying goes.

To some, the great City of Detroit, before it was hip, was a a dangerous place to be avoided. To Dave, however, it was a culinary delight of ethnic food, whether before a Redwings game or after Mass. It’s where one of his sons learned that ordering “spicy” in an authentic Indian restaurant could induce a trail of tears, a call for tissues and a cry for yogurt.

While eating was a past time of sorts, one of his true passions was golf. An ever patient golfer, he would clean his clubs while his sons searched in the rough for expensive brand name golf balls — occasionally bickering as boys do. It is where his sons also learned that a golf ball can pop higher than it travels down the fairway, and where jeers from his sons in the rough, were met with pars from their father in the fairway.

But in the end, it is the little things that really matter, that we all remember about Dave, Dad or Papa. The small things like when as a guest at holidays you made the mistake of eating a dozen homemade pierogis or worse yet, three homemade cannolis. It was the kind of offense that might get you banned from a holiday, unless, of course, you were his child or grandchild, in which case, there was never any fear.

David, Dad, Papa—whatever you might call him—was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 11, 1942. He was known by many, and loved by more. He was trained by the Detroit Edison Company in Substation Operations, supervising crews in times of crises to get power back to the people. He slept at work until all power was restored. Later in life, he attended Oakland Community College, graduating with an Associates Degree. He liked to say he was the Valedictorian of his class, whether that is true, we do not know. It was his way, however, of illustrating to us that with proper motivation, one could excel in school and college, and for us to seize the opportunities we were given, now, not later in life.

David was one of six children, Louise, his infant sister who passed at birth, but never far from his heart, and his brothers, Leo, Skip and Bill and sisters, Genevieve and Rita.

David is survived by his beautiful wife, Mary Lee, and four children, David, Christian, Karen and Mark, as well as nine grandchildren, David, Ryan, Dillon, Lauren, Sarah, Kendyl, Brandon, Jack and Michael. We miss you Papa.

In Lieu of Flowers, donations can be made to The American Lung Association



  • Mary Lee Fabian, Wife
  • David (Anita) Fabian, Son
  • Christian (Cynthia) Fabian, Son
  • Karen (Frank) Hope, Daughter
  • Mark (Kelly) Fabian, Son
  • David, Ryan, Dillon, Lauren, Sarah, Kendyl, Brandon, Jack and Michael, Grandchildren
  • Leo Fabian, Brother
  • Louis "Skip" Fabian, Brother
  • John "Bill" Fabian, Brother
  • Genevieve Peete, Sister
  • Rita Volstad, Sister
  • Louise Fabian, Sister (deceased)


  • Visitation Wednesday, July 17, 2019
  • Rosary Service Wednesday, July 17, 2019
  • Instate Thursday, July 18, 2019
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, July 18, 2019


David D. Fabian

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ron Shoebottom

July 16, 2019

Dave, a friend that lead a life anyone would respect, he is sadly missed, my deepest sympathies to Mary and his family the loves of his life.

mariano ( Mark) calderone

July 16, 2019

I have many found memories of Dave from our days at Detroit Edison working storms and such. He always had a smile and loved what he did. My sympathies to his family and those who knew him.

Mark Calderone

Vicki, Cindy and Judy Hope

July 16, 2019

Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great LOVE.

Sending our love, thoughts and prayers to Karen, Lauren, Sarah, Kendyl Hope and the Fabian family in this time of sorrow.

Kathleen Neumann

July 16, 2019

Heartfelt sympathies. Uncle Dave was a good man, and his passing marks an end to an era for our family.

Joan Fabian

July 15, 2019

Sending much love, deep sympathy and condolences to the loving family Uncle David cherished so very much.
We have all been blessed by his presence and he will be very missed.
May the memories of the many wonderful times together bring comfort to all during this time of grief and loss.