Perez, David

Perez, David Joseph

Best Husband, Best Dad, Best Grandpa

David Joseph Perez of Centerville, Ohio sailed into the sunset with family at his side. He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Sophie Perez.

Dave is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Carolyn, children David (Kathy) of Beavercreek, OH, Stephen (Jennifer) of Centerville, OH, Cara Perez (Benjamin Johnson) of Oakwood, OH, and Nicole (Mark) Harris of Bellbrook, OH as well as grandchildren Kieran, Dominic, Joseph, Ethan, Nicholas, Dimitri, Lucas, Emily, Noah, Benjamin, Hudson, and Esmé.

He was born Saturday, November 7, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois to Joseph Martinez Perez & Sophia Valerie (née Gowgiel) Perez. In high school, he was a star swimmer and diver as well as a summer lifeguard; he was credited with saving the lives of more than 10 people.

He met the love of his life early in 1961 while attending the University of Illinois. Dave and Carolyn married the following year.

Dave knew time spent at home with his young children was a precious commodity; while earning his master's degree, he built a desk that fit in the bathtub so he could be home while studying at night.

Dave was an aeronautical engineer, pilot, sailor, master woodworker, and an inventor who held two aeronautical patents. While working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, he designed an airplane landing system that was tested in northern Canada and at the Arctic Circle. He crossed the Arctic Circle Tuesday, March 16, 1976.

As a pilot, he is best known for flying a single-engine plane under the New River Gorge Bridge, near Fayetteville, West Virginia, while en route to one of his many whitewater rafting adventures.

As a sailor, he enjoyed spending days with his family on Cowan Lake on his catamaran.

He was a British sportscar enthusiast and throughout his life restored an MG-TD, multiple MG-Bs, as well as an Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite.

Dave had an amazing sense of humor and loved animals. He nursed many litters of baby rabbits back to health and cared for two baby raccoons that would come back as adults just to say hello.

Halloween was one of his favorite holidays. He loved scary movies and designed an 8-foot-tall Frankenstein costume; he always delighted in handing out candy dressed as "Frank." He was also artistic and musical; he was a self-taught stained glass artist and made many windows, lampshades, and sun-catchers. An accomplished musician he enjoyed strumming his Gibson Dove Guitar. He will be happy that his grandson Kieran will keep the guitar strings warm.

He hand-crafted heirloom full-sized cherry cradles for the grandchildren. While he loved building, tinkering and inventing in his shop, he joked with his daughters that he could "fix anything but a broken heart."

He was known for his homemade pretzels and cherry pies. He was the best science fair coach and math tutor. He loved family get-togethers with the grandchildren. With children running everywhere, he would sit back, smile and joke that it was like watching "ants on an anthill."

Dave and Carolyn hosted an annual Pirate Campout for the grandchildren on their farm. The campouts always ended with a treasure hunt, late night swimming, crazy antics, and stories around the campfire.

After retirement, Dave went to work for Tiger Joe's Fitness. He starred in many of the store's commercials and was instrumental in building the business in its early years. Simultaneously, he opened the Old World Workshop, making furniture and cabinetry.

Most importantly, Dave was an amazing Dad and Grandpa. He will be forever missed by his family. The way he lived his life will provide inspiration and guidance for generations to come. An eternal optimist, Dave never said the word "can't" – ever. He never spoke poorly of others; the children were taught to live life with respect, passion, modesty, faith, and love.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Dave's honor to your local humane society.

A private gathering was held prior to interment at Woodland Cemetery. Service and great care entrusted to Schlientz & Moore Funeral Home. Condolences, fond memories, and photos may be shared at

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Funeral Home Information

Schlientz & Moore Funeral Home - Dayton

1632 Wayne Avenue

Dayton, OH