OBITUARY

David Lee Stiles

March 16, 1974December 15, 2018
Play Tribute Movie Play Tribute Movie

David Lee Stiles went to be with the Lord December 15, 2018, with his family at his side, at the U of M Trauma Burn Unit in Ann Arbor, MI.

Dave was born March 16, 1974 to Robert Lee and Sheila Elaine Stiles of Taylor, MI. He grew up attending Dunning Park Bible Chapel and went to school at Inter-City Baptist and Fairlane Christian Schools. He held a winning record as a high school wrestler and was the president of his graduating class. He began going to Bair Lake Bible Camp as a juniors camper and continued on to serve there as a teenager and as a college student. It was at Bair Lake that he met Sarah Meinzinger, and they began courting after he graduated High School. Dave and Sarah were married in 1996.

Dave attended Michigan State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Turfgrass with a specialization in Golf Course Management. This led to a 15-year career in the golf industry working at several courses throughout Michigan as well as in Bergen, Norway, where he and Sarah lived for over a year. Dave and Sarah then settled in Redford, MI while raising their young family. They attended Dunning Park Bible Chapel, where they served as Youth Leaders for several years, during which time Dave also began teaching and preaching from the Word of God. In 2011 he made a significant career change by joining the staff at Bair Lake Bible Camp. Dave and Sarah were commended from Dunning Park Bible Chapel as missionaries in Christian Camping Ministry. While living at Bair Lake, the family attended Grace Bible Chapel in Cassopolis, MI. Dave had a tremendous heart for the work at Bair Lake Bible Camp and, having made significant spiritual decisions there himself, knew the impactful role camp can play in a young person's life. Dave served in what was surely his dream job as Director of Operations.

A natural teacher, Dave enjoyed passing on any knowledge, skills and insight he possessed in any area of life. He was a lifelong learner who enjoyed studying God's Word and then sharing it with others in his easy, conversational manner of teaching. He was continually mentoring, helping, instructing, and encouraging those in his life. Dave had many hobbies including motorcycles, shortwave/HAM radio, reading (especially theology, Christian living and history), hunting and cooking wild game. He was a DIY-er at heart and enjoyed home and auto work, making biodiesel fuel, emergency preparedness and being a CERT responder.

Dave was a godly man, a faithful husband and father, a loyal son and brother. He was strong, yet patient and kind, and the best of listeners. He was famous for his bear hugs and his unforgettable laugh. He had many deep friendships that never seemed to be in competition with one another; He was very present with who he was with at the time. He was always very willing to help others. Dave and Sarah sought to live life in a manner that honored God by living out the verse in Joshua 24:15b, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." To honor God in what he said and did was his foremost desire and he loved his neighbors well.

In addition to his parents, Robert Lee and Sheila Elaine, Dave is survived by his brother Brett (wife Rachael and daughters Arwen and Eden), his wife Sarah and their children, who he loved deeply: Benjamin(Ben), Arnstein(Arn), Silja, Violet and Asbjorn(Ozzie).

A Memorial Service is planned for 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 28, 2018 at 12th Street Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, MI. Please help us in planning by using the link under "DONATIONS" to RSVP by Sunday, December 23rd if you plan to join us for this Service.

A Memorial Gathering will also be held from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 4th, 2019 at Dunning Park Bible Chapel in Redford, MI. No RSVP is needed for this gathering.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made out to "Sarah Stiles" and mailed to Bair Lake Bible Camp.

Services

  • Memorial Service Friday, December 28, 2018
  • Memorial Gathering Friday, January 4, 2019
REMEMBERING

David Lee Stiles

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Kathryn Lovell

January 22, 2019

Dave has impacted my life greatly. In every aspect of his life (whether business, spiritual or casual), he led as an example of humility, intentionality, and love.
When I started spending more time on maintenance tasks in 2016, I could tell Dave was a little wary. I'll never forget the look he gave me when he asked if I'd ever driven the golf-cart-trailer before and I said I had not but would give it my best shot! Even so, regardless of my experience with maintenance, he always let me try and gave me endless opportunities to learn and to grow. He never made me feel dumb or slow, because of how loving he was in instruction. He was honest but not harsh.
He was also very patient - like when Allysa's house was flooding. I was determined to get to her house and help, but by the time we got our own water-treatment things ready, she didn't need us anymore. He had the chance to be upset, but he chose to laugh instead.
My last memory of Dave is from just before the fire. I'd gone down to the lake and was sitting on the tubing dock when I realized that Dave was on the main shore. I almost didn't notice him. He simply stood, watching the water. As he left, he wiped his eyes. I was sure he had been in prayer, communing with God. Of all the memories I have of Dave, that one is my favorite.
There are a million-and-one stories about Dave Stiles, because his life touched a million-and-one other lives. He taught so much to so many people—not just about maintenance, but about what it means to follow God faithfully, in the little things just as much as the big. When I think about Dave, I see steadfastness, patience, and incredible kindness. He lived the kind of life that makes other people look at their own hearts and ask how they can live like him—always giving the glory back to God, always reflecting a Greater Light.

I am better for knowing Dave—we all are

Peter Case

January 11, 2019

Once, while describing a fallen tree in Joe's front yard, Dave decided to try to explain to Caitlin how such a healthy tree could just snap with no real force of nature provoking it. He, unfortunately, started his description with the phrase, "The crotch is weak." He got no further because of the subsequent laughter and side conversations. On a somewhat separate note, I officially have all of the important rules for life composed by the man himself, Dave.
1. Don't be stupid.
2. "The crotch is weak..."

I wouldn't be the man I am today without Dave's investment and guidance. His dedication to God, family, and work will be examples I will look back on for the rest of my life. The only other man to influence me so is my own Father, thank you.

Gerrit Knopf

January 11, 2019

I'll never forget so many of the things that Dave said to, and around me. I remember losing my golf cart privileges for, among other offenses, not driving "Grandma-slow". While that wasn't so great, one of the amazing moments that came from that big of discipline was when he granted me back my golf cart privileges in error, believing that he had already had a conversation with me about the whole incident. But knowing Dave, I gave myself the speech he would have given me and I felt quite convicted.
I too had a long conversation with Dave that lives in my head, in the company of Bob Tissot, and an assortment of others. To make a long story a little less long, his wisdom and insight inspire me to be more and more the man of God that the Lord wants me to be.

Sharon Bzovi

January 11, 2019

Dear Ben, Arn, Silja, Violet, and Ozzie:

I have known your Dad since his days at Fairlane Christian School and growing up at Dunning Park Bible Chapel. I have been privileged to have each of you in my Sunday School class at Dunning over the years and look forward to when I will see Ozzie there someday soon when you visit. Because I was often downstairs for Sunday School, I didn't get to listen to your Dad's messages when he would speak at the chapel service. However, one of my favorite Sundays of the year is when we have the Sunday School Picnic and worship service at Edward Hines Park each September. There were several times when your Dad would share his thoughts and beliefs there and I was always so inspired by his love for Christ in each of his messages. He was an amazing man, an exceptional father and a true man of God.

Trudy Grob

January 10, 2019

This morning returning to Bair Lake was better sweet! Opening the walk-in cooler brought back a memory of Dave! I was cooking and noticed a rough spot on the door handle. When Dave passed thru the kitchen with his smile and greeting, I showed it to him. Before the next meal, he had filed the rough spot!
I remember to, his showing me the new building! After the rebuild and his pride in a job well done. That is how I remember Dave, an ever-present smile and joy in his place - contentment. We will not forget!
Love to Sarah, Ben, Arnstein, Silja, Violet, and Ozzie.

Don Grob

January 10, 2019

Thank you Dave for your contribution to the life of Grace Bible Chapel of Cassopolis and your willingness to be a servant of the Lord in that work - helping to start a new church in Cassopolis and to contribute to it's construction, it's entrance into the community and in a new state. Your willingness to take on some activity that was needed impressed me.
My favorite story, which I have often told was when we were destructing the Doctors' Office. You involved Ben & Arnstein in the activity of knocking down walls, bashing wallboard & pulling up boards. Then put them in the dumpster. Then to top it off you took them for ice cream. Their response was "Dad you take us to knock down walls and destroy rooms in a build and then take us for ice cream too!" That is great character building which brought back memories of involving my kids in building a chapel. Camp work is an awesome job which nobody appreciates and criticism abounds. Yet Dave was excellent and I enjoyed listening to all his trials and problems to solve. I was always impressed by his ingenuity.

Ross Hoffman

January 10, 2019

One winter weekend at BLBC, Early 90's late into Friday nite...
The tubing hill had been closed, the camp guests sent off to cabins and for bed. An early-middle twenties who should have known better, I conceived an ingeniously ridiculous form of transportation down tubing hill. Thru much encouragement, cajoling, and questioning guts and manhood I was able to "convince" Dave & Ben Bomgaars to join me on one of the old dining hall eating benches, with a fiberglass cafeteria tray under each of the two legs. We lined the bench up at the top of the hill, pointing down the hill, I was in the front riding it like a horse, Dave right behind me, his hand on my shoulders, and Ben behind him. We pushed off, headed down the hill, straight, and true. We picked up speed, down that first dip, over the crest of the main hill, still straight and true. We picked up speed, down that first dip, over the crest of the main hill, still straight and true. At about this point, Ben's sanity returned and he bailed out of our crazy train. Almost immediately the back leg of the bench was ripped off, splintering the back third of the bench, Dave laughing and me hootin' continued on down the hill, pitch on to our left side, and, skidding, skipping, tumbling in a cloud of snow.
For years, mention of dining hall benches could bring a sly smile to his face, that twinkle to his eye, silly grin to my face and happy glow in my heart.

Taylor Yoder

January 10, 2019

I believe it was the first day of CIT in 2018... Dave asked me to mulch the swingset! I was honored (I always wanted to help with maintenance) and excited to help. I took the pickup truck over but had difficulty backing it up close to the swingset. Luckily, Dave came to the rescue! What I valued the most was him staying with me to help. We got way too sweaty that hot day!! We chatted about random things likeMormons and immigration policy - lol! I loved so many moments with Dave... dinner at the Stiles while on staff, snacks at their place on Wednesday night when we didn't counsel... Dave inviting staff to share at chapel and saying, "I don't mind an awkward silence!" We look forward to reuniting in heaven.

Preston Yoder

January 10, 2019

There was one time I was arguing with people on how to pronounce crayon. Dave was driving by on his cart and viewing him as sophisticated and wise I knew he would agree with my pronunciation. In a panic to get his attention I yelled, "David!" Everybody, including Dave, stopped and looked at me so confusedly as to why I blurted out "David!" I don't remember if he agreed or not but I will always treasure the strange look and belly laugh from Dave that day.

. .

January 10, 2019

Dave's laugh. Contagious and constant.