David John Stafne, of Spokane Valley, WA passed away on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, age 60. While grappling with his health in recent months the challenges took their toll suddenly and the Lord took him home and out of his suffering.
Dave was born in Winter Park, FL on March 4, 1961 to John and Marion (Renander) Stafne. The family settled in Minnesota. His early years were filled with football, wrestling, fishing, water skiing, playing tuba and drums, summer camp and dairy farm work while building a network of lifetime friends including Leo Larkin while serving in the MN Civil Air Patrol. The third of five children, Dave fell out of trees, was always daring and busy eventually jumped out of aircraft and into many hearts throughout his life. He was a giver and instructor both personally and professionally wanting the betterment of everyone around him. He took extra care and time for his Grandma Elda and Great Aunt Lora. A commanding presence yet kind and gentle.
In 1979, Dave graduated Frank B. Kellogg Senior High School in Roseville, MN. He attended the US Military Academy at West Point, NY continuing at the University of Minnesota yet drawn back to his home and heartfelt service in the Army. He served in Egypt, Panama, and Honduras earning his veteran status in Grenada. Served stateside at Ft Benning, Ft Bragg, Ft Drum and Ft Lewis. Staff Sargent Stafne’s primary specialties were infantryman, pathfinder, and tactical air operations. Hanging off the side of a helicopter, firearms usage, or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane where his past times. Thereafter, he served in public transportation at Kitsap Transit wrapping up his career as director of public school transportation operations.
While serving at Fort Lewis, WA Dave met and married Mary A. Kent. At the time of their marriage, and after discharging from the army, they settled in Port Orchard, WA. Their children are Eric Alexander, Margaret (Meggie) Elizabeth, and Kenneth (Kenny) William. Dave doted on his children always full of pride in all that they did. His love was shown in service and in sharing and instructing them on everything in detail so that they would be superior in all that they did or spoke of. He set a high bar of excellence for them, his soldiers, staff, and family. He strove to garner the best in everyone he knew placing others ahead of himself.
Being the family historian “geek”, Dave tirelessly studied and documented family ancestral branches tying some to biblical times. He mastered US history, politics, and current events. Although Scandinavian and English his strongest allegiance was to his deep MacGregor Scottish roots, often quoting their motto, “Royal is my Race”. Dave was never shy. He studied and taught himself how to cook, bake, and prepare foods from the standard American fare to old school ethnic foods then authoring an original 400+ page cookbook.
His final years were spent in the Spokane Valley, WA area where he enjoyed fishing, swimming, and cycling while continuing to study history and own the kitchen alongside his steadfast companion and exceptional caregiver in his final weeks Jacqueline Hottinger-Kraus.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws Kenneth and Margaret Kent, and brother-in-law Scott Brandner. He is survived by his children Eric (Lianne, Eric, and Amelia), Meggie (Trevor), and Kenny (Vanessa), his longtime partner Jacqueline Hottinger-Kraus (Chris, Corie, Connor), his siblings Daniel Stafne, Mary Turgerson, Carol Brandner, and Richard (Sue) Stafne, his nieces and nephews (Hannah, Chris, Mike, Brittany, Joe, and Katie), and great nieces and nephews (Trevor, Xander, Natalie, Emily, and Ryan). Brother, father, grandpa, uncle and friend to many, Dave is missed dearly.
A military honors ceremony will be held promptly at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, November 12, 2021, at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 SE 240th St, Kent, WA 98042. For those attending, please arrive 20-30 minutes early.
In lieu of donations, and knowing Dave’s heart, we would prefer you spent your time and money busy outdoors or at the grocery to retrieve home-cooked meal supplies to enjoy with those you love.
To share your memories of Dave or leave condolences for his family, please visit his Tribute Wall.
To plant a tree in memory of David John Stafne, please click here.