David Steven Eifler passed away March 28th at his home in Longmont,Colorado.He was born April 3rd 1954 in Honolulu HI,to Carl Henry Eifler and Cecycle Erskine Eifler,the second son of what would grow to be a family of 3 boys and 1 girl.
His childhood was spent in Pacific Grove,California,where his father died when he was 9,followed 5 years later by his mother, when he was 14.
He was a passionate boy scout, hiking,exploring and camping in Big Sur, Pico Blanco Scout Reservations and Yosemite. These memories and Monterey Bay would remain forever in his heart.
Fully orphaned in 1968, the 4 children were sent to Iowa City to live with an older second cousin.
After a year at U of I, he apprenticed to a carpenter, and learned his trade. He gradually became a roofer, and a house builder.He completed EMT training in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but then took a job at the U of I Oakdale Campus as a carpenter, working there from the early 1980s until his disability retirement in 2012.Upon the death of his grandfather, the infamous Colonel Carl Eifler in 1999 he was able to purchase a cabin by the Iowa River , surrounded by woods,which was his beloved refuge.
David’s greatest joy in life was being Dad to his daughter Dara, with whom he shared a loving and protective bond throughout their lives.A gentle giant, with a love of science,fun and puns, he had a special group of eclectic friends in Iowa City with whom he shared much mischief making and fireworks parties at the Quarry.
He had many health issues since the 1990’s, and was fortunate to receive wonderful medical care at the U of Iowa hospital and Clinics.
He moved to Colorado in 2014 for health reasons, and in order for his wife Louise to be close to her family in the event of his passing.
He was truly comfortable with death and dying,spending years volunteering for Hospice organizations in Iowa and Colorado. David loved volunteering for The Natural Funeral in Lafayette,
which embodies his vision for the care of the deceased and their families and indeed their tender care of him at his passing has been a remarkable gift of love.
He was preceded in death by his brother Robert in 2017,and by his special magic cat Frances who was his devoted shadow for 16 years.
He is survived by his wife,Louise Tenenbaum, his daughter Dara Delehant, her husband Bill and their two children,Jack and Lily of Omaha Ne,his brother Bruce of Boulder and his sister Deb of Milwaukee,3 nieces and one nephew and his former wife Paula.
He leaves behind five step grandchildren and the Tenenbaums, his BCAP family, the special folks at The Natural Funeral, and many dear friends.
Donations can be made to the Boulder County Aids Project and The Natural Funeral.
From David’s daughter, Dara:
This Monday, we learned that my dad, David Eifler, passed away over the weekend. All indications are that it happened suddenly and instantly, and for that we are extremely grateful. I can’t remember how many times he told me that sometimes people just need a little space and privacy to die, so it happens when those they love most aren’t by their side. It looks like he took his own advice, knowing that his loving wife Louise was safely surrounded by her family as was I with mine.
My dad was the definition of a gentle giant. At 6’4” he towered over most people, but his height was only matched by the size of his heart. You never had a surface level conversation with him. He wanted to know you as a whole, down to your core, even if you didn’t know yourself that well yet. Hearing and seeing the impact he has had on those in his life, both recently and not, continues to bring me to my knees. I truly have no idea how I was so lucky to have him as a father. It brings me great comfort knowing that he will live on through so many people who will keep his spirit and memory alive.
More than anyone else I’ve ever known, my dad was very comfortable in the realm of death and dying. He lost both of his own parents by the time he was 14, and had numerous brushes with death due to health issues since the 90s. He dedicated years of his life to volunteering with hospice organizations in Iowa and Colorado and then became the “only non-paid employee” at The Natural Funeral out here near Boulder. He has helped so many people cross over from this life to the next world surrounded by peace, love, and acceptance. Ironically, no one was more prepared for his own death than he was. And he did everything he could to prepare Louise and I for it, too, though our shredded hearts could never truly be ready. But he also instilled in us the certainty that he did not just live in his body – he lived in us, and he would always be with us even if we couldn’t see him.
Those that knew my dad knew that he’s had a litany of health problems for the past 20 plus years. He has battled HIV, and at one point full-blown AIDS, and has lived through more heart attacks than I have successfully kept count of over the years. Both of these had profound effects on his health and it always felt like a balancing act to me – take these meds to stay alive, then take these meds to counteract the effects of the first ones, and on and on. He always said that he had been living on borrowed time for several decades. What has kept him together more than anything for the past 15 years is his wife, my stepmom, Louise. Every appointment, procedure, meal, she was on top of. She kept him going even when I don’t think he could have kept going on his own. And, just as importantly, she brought him so much joy, so much laughter, so much to stick around for. I could not be more grateful for her presence in our lives and I know there is no one in this world that could have loved him or taken care of him more than she did.
I came very close to losing him first when I was in elementary school, and he has since told me that he never expected to see me graduate from high school. Each new graduation that he was around for surprised him more, but I don’t think anything was more surprising to him than being able to be a grandpa. His own parents never had the chance to meet any of their grandchildren and I think he had never considered the possibility of meeting any of his. But he could not have loved Jack and Lily more. With each of them, he dropped everything as soon as he heard I was headed to the hospital to give birth and drove eight hours straight to Omaha so he could be there when they were born. Seeing him with both of them felt like a miracle. And watching him play with them as they grew felt like watching parts of my own childhood from outside my body. He truly loved being a father, and I felt so lucky that I was able to share him with my own children.
His friends at The Natural Funeral have taken such wonderful, thoughtful care of him since Monday. Getting to see him yesterday brought me more peace than I could have anticipated. The grief that still fills my heart is not because he died, but because I will miss him so much. I already do miss him so much. I called on Sunday for our weekly phone call, but he was already gone. I will miss hearing his voice, hearing his stories, his vast knowledge of just about anything. I will miss his puns and butchered song lyrics. I will miss listening to his music, the music of my childhood, while driving through the mountains in his van. I will miss him asking me thousands of questions about my work. I will miss seeing his smile every time he got to see or talk to his grandchildren. I will miss his hugs, where I felt so safe and secure and enveloped in love. I will miss him. But I am also absolutely sure that he is very much still here, in me, in Louise, in my mom, in Jack and Lily, and in every person who connected with him during his time in this life. And I know I will be with him again.
My dad would never want to impose or ask anything of anyone, but if any one should feel moved to honor him through a donation, we would ask that they be directed to the Boulder County AIDS Project or to The Natural Funeral in Lafayette, Colorado – two organizations that were both very dear to his heart.