David Roy Erskine
- Published: April 27, 2020
David Roy Erskine died at home in Yellow Springs on April 15 at the age of 85.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Peggy Ann George Erskine; his daughter, Elizabeth Ann Erskine Zumwalt (John); and his two grandchildren, John David Zumwalt and Lindsay Elizabeth Zumwalt.
David was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1935, and was the only child of Roy Abner Erskine and Matilde Schultz Erskine. He was preceded in death by his parents.
David graduated from Collinwood High school in 1953. He attended Antioch College and graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering science. His 33-year career was spent as a civilian at Wright-Patterson AFB as an aircraft structural fatigue engineer. He lived his entire career in Yellow Springs, except for a year-and-a-half, when he had an extended duty assignment to General Electric in Lynn, Mass. The family went with him and lived in Newburyport, Mass., near his Antioch roommate and long-time friend, Henry Rogers, and Henry’s wife, Rosa.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, David was a member of the Miami Township Fire Department and was also a member of the Yellow Springs Tree Committee. He enjoyed spending many hours with his friend John McConville, installing plaques, mulching and watering trees. One of his projects was purchasing the water trailer and tanks for the watering crew. He also spearheaded the conversion from wood plaques and stakes, which deteriorated quickly, to plastic plaques on metal stakes.
The years following retirement were filled with travel to Arizona to visit family, camping, sailing and tinkering in his garage. He was sometimes referred to as the “after-hours hardware store” because of his large collection of nails, nuts, bolts and screws of all sizes and shapes. He loved camping in the north tall pines areas, especially in the fall. His sailing was mostly in the North Channel of Georgian Bay. David was a creative, active learner and dabbled with metal craft (his father was a professional welder), wood craft and writing essays about his childhood dog, his family’s draft horse and how to brew an official English Tea.
A memorial service will be planned in the future when it will be safe to gather. Memorial contributions may be sent to Antioch College to support the farm and/or the Raptor Center or to the Yellow Springs Tree Committee. Please identify your gift to be in memory of David Erskine.