OBITUARY

David Lee Stiles

March 16, 1974December 15, 2018
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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

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Anna DeForge

March 26, 2019

Dave Stiles was a one in a million friend to me. There are many stories that span the gamut of emotions. He was a wise counselor that pointed me to Biblical Truth on many occasions. He was a confidant you could tell any secret, mostly because in Dave’s words, once it goes in the vault it doesn’t come out, even if he tried. He often let Daniel and I drag him into our shenanigans. We would plan “a meeting” at the end of the day, which would just end up with us chatting and eating meat and cheese. And he gave the best hugs. I mean you had to get past the beard scratching you, but the firmness and love felt in those hugs was well worth it.

I will always be thankful for the time that I had with Dave. For the lessons he taught, love he showed, and for the dear friend that he was. I am thankful that God calls us to relationship and that Daniel and I have the privilege of standing alongside of Sarah and the kids as long as they will have us. I am thankful that I see Dave in each of them and that he lives on in the shenanigans we will continue to have. I am thankful for eternal security and that I will see Dave again in heaven. Save some charcuterie for me friend!

Sharon Posey

March 15, 2019

Ben, Arne, Silija, Violet, and Ozzie you had an amazing dad who has left you a great inheritance, not of silver and gold, but a heritage that is rooted in the only One who holds all things in His hands.
I believe he would say keep your eye on the prize and trust in the Lord to carry you, just as he did. When you become discouraged, go to the Lord for your comfort, because He knows the future plans He has for each of you.
He made you each different, and what your paths will be, only He knows, and remember that being a person of character and integrity, crosses all boundaries of occupations and is the foundation for all success. A reputation is what people think you are, but character is who you are when no one is looking. Be people of principle and character!

Sharon Posey

March 15, 2019

Working in the office and living off grounds didn’t always allow for deeper relationships with the rest of the staff, but that being said, Dave always had a smile on his face and said hello whenever he came into the office. We would have brief but encouraging
conversations on all kinds of subjects and they usually ended with a bit of laughter.
Although I didn’t have a long history with Dave, he made me and everyone else feel like we mattered and would take the time to answer any questions, even when he was very busy, which was always. He loved his family and talked of Sarah with love and
admiration. He once said he married above his pay grade. :)
Dave had a consistent and dedicated walk as a follower of Jesus. He never wavered in his conversations and lived out his convictions with courage and with integrity. He would have impromptu conversations with staffers or volunteers in the office and would speak with truth and conviction to them, which almost always left them with a choice to think about. He brought them back to the truth of God’s word because it truly was his foundation. I learned so much by just listening to him. He encouraged me to live my life with greater fervency and dedication.
Another privilege was to serve with him on the Search Committee for a new Executive Director of Bair Lake. Our job was to come up with three finalists to submit to the Board for possible candidates. Dave’s insights and observations were respected by all and his good nature, servant’s heart and humility were huge assets in the final selection process. It was an amazing journey to walk with him and the entire committee.

Lisa Sandberg

March 15, 2019

Dave was someone who had a smile on his face most of the time – and if he did
not, his heart was working through something, and that smile would return! It
was always encouraging to see him out and about – Dave would focus on you
and smile and often make you laugh! He had the joy of the Lord inside of him,
and he shared it with those he came into contact with! He also took time out of
his full and busy responsibilities to often help his kids and Sarah with a need or
an issue, and we watched him take time to teach his kids something of value in
the midst of his work day.
It was great to partner with Dave in ministry, bringing program and facility
together. He understood the value of the camp programs, even if it meant it was
more work (and it always was!) in the facility area.
Yes, Dave was human and marked by sin, just as we all are. He struggled, and
he wasn’t perfect. But he loved Jesus and was committed to becoming more like
Him, day after day. Dave exemplified the command in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Michaella Jacoby

March 15, 2019

I love the twinkle in Dave's eyes and his loving smile. Such a king and generous man. Always willing to lend a hand. I remember when the Browns were moving out of the Buckhorn house and Dave put on those heavy straps and helped move the heavy things. With a smile, and he gave such big hugs!

Jerry Jacoby

March 15, 2019

I have the distinction of having been Dave's very best friend in the whole world! The only problem is, everyone else I've spoken to says the same thing. Perhaps it was that Dave made us all feel that way! Thank you, David!

Lou Salge

March 15, 2019

I always looked forward to serving with Dave when I volunteered at camp. He was always hard working and intentionally responsible. Most importantly he had a way of always keeping the focus of whatever work we were doing on the mission of serving God and serving others. I will also always have fond memories of being on the boat and my first trapshooting excursion. We will continue to pray.

Carleigh Crouch

March 15, 2019

My Dad was closest to Dave. Whenever we went to camp, Dave was one of the first people my Dad went to see. Whenever they had a chance they would talk. I always remember them laughing together and Dave always being positive when we saw him. I remember we would be walking and my mom would stop us and say, "Wait, your Dad found Dave." We would have to wait forever for them to be done talking. I think Dave and my Dad could be twins somethings. They were close enough to be family.

Dawn Hoffman

March 15, 2019

I have so many memories of Dave at camp in our youth. I remember youth week discussions of Tom Harmon's messages, youth week retreat shenanigans, Dunning Park events, teaching, and serving. I loved his joyful laugh and his eagerness to get the joke. I also remember he loved the Lord and bible study.
Once, he asked me what I was studying. Being in grad school, I launched into an explanation of all the topics I was taking. He stopped me and said, "No, in your Bible." I was embarrassed to say that I had let my Bible study drop in the face of my grad studies. This encounter encouraged me to get back in the word, so I would be ready to answer that question when next he asked. This is a great example of iron sharpening iron. I will miss Dave. He made me a better Christian!

Shelley -

March 15, 2019

I remember that being around Dave and Sarah was always fun and full of laughter. But as far as Dave specifically, I remember hearing him speak at our families 2014 reunion and how much I admired his love for Jesus and the Christian faith. I just think Dave was a really cool dude who spread his faith no matter where or when!

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