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David Huber

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David Adolf Huber was born May 22, 1924, in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, and died in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on Nov. 13, 2023, at the age of 99.

He was predeceased by his father, Adolf Huber; mother, Elsie E. Haag Huber; and wife, Betsy Parker Huber. He is survived by his sister, Jean Yngve; nephews, David Yngve and wife Dena, Alan Yngve and wife Kathryn; niece, Marna Yngve Cake; and by his dear companion of many years, Karen Zukowitz.

Following high school, David was employed at Babcock and Wilson, boiler and locomotive manufacturers in Cleveland, in the machine shop. He was apprenticed to become a boilermaker. WWII intervened, and David was drafted into the Army Air Force in 1943. After basic training, his unit was sent to Kansas for aircraft mechanics training, but because of a case of the flu he wasn’t shipped out with his unit, and was reassigned to Signal Corps and joined the Fifteenth Army Division in Northeastern Italy on a B-24 base, with tent housing and a grass landing strip. His mechanical ingenuity was apparent when he scrounged a series of small generators and outfitted the tents with lighting. He then negotiated a deal with the flying wing to create lighting for them in exchange for fuel for the generators. When a military entertainment troupe came through, David got a film projector and was able to use the mess tent as a movie theater as often as he could locate a film. After the war, he initially returned to Babcock and Wilcox. His older sister, Jean, had graduated from Antioch College and was living in Dayton. She encouraged him to apply to Antioch, since the co-op program would allow him to finish his apprenticeship and get an engineering degree. The college hired him to run the power plant third shift his last two years as a student, and for a period of time after graduation in the class of 1948. He met his future wife, Betsy Parker, a Radcliff graduate who was secretary to the president of Antioch, during his college years. He credited Betsy as the editor and co-writer of his senior paper. They were married June 13, 1954, by the Antioch College pastor.

David and his friend John Benedict ran an automotive repair shop for over a year and then acquired a vintage 1905 well-drilling machine, which they refurbished and dug approximately 30 wells in Yellow Springs. In the early 1950s, David, Betsy and John purchased the 100-acre farm on which David and Betsy lived the rest of their lives together. Soon after the purchase, the house on the land burned down, and they built a house David designed, and which still stands on the farm today.

In 1954, David went to work at the Aero-Med lab at Wright-Patterson. Before the Johnson Space Center and NASA were created, the research that paved the way for the U.S. space program was done there, including the effects of G forces on the astronauts, as well as the effects of weightlessness, and of nuclear explosions on various materials. It was a perfect challenge for a man with an innate love of physics, great skill with innovation, and the curious and brilliant mind of a true scientist.

In 1964, he was moved to the structures test facility at Wright-Patt as an electrical engineer. He remained there until he retired as a GS-12/10 on Sept. 1, 1989.

During his Antioch days, David was inspired by a geology professor who was a cave enthusiast, and in the 1960s was part of a group that founded “Cave Research,” which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. Spelunking remained a love of his for many years. David also spent many years as an active member of the Miami Township Fire Department and trained to become an EMT with the newly formed emergency squad.

Betsy died in 2008, and Karen became a caretaker and companion for David. As time passed, they developed a deep friendship and bond that continued to the end of David’s life.

No narrative about David would be complete without sharing his passion for trains, trolleys, tracks and even toy trains and tracks. David Huber had a passion for knowledge, research, discovery, history, and the natural world — a truly and deeply curious man.

A memorial service is planned for Friday, Dec. 1, 1:30 p.m., at Glen Helen’s Vernet Ecological Center.


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