Cover photo for David L. Goetsch's Obituary
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David L. Goetsch

March 11, 1950 — May 2, 2024


In lieu of flowers, please honor David's memory through donations to:
Samaritan's Purse ( )
Tunnel to Towers ( ) or
St Jude Children's Hospital ( )

David Lee Goetsch was called home to Christ on Thursday, May 2, 2024.  David was born in Mitchell, South Dakota on March 11, 1950, to parents Marion and Yvonne Goetsch, but he grew up in Pensacola, Florida.  After attending Jim Allen Elementary, Oakcrest Elementary, and Brownsville Junior High, he graduated from Escambia High School in 1968.  His love of and skill in sports earned him induction into the Brownsville track hall of fame and lettering in football at Escambia High.  

In 1969, he earned his associate degree from Pensacola Junior College and then served in the United States Marine Corps from 1971-1973.  His duties in the Marines took him from Vietnam to Richard Nixon’s Western White House.  While in the military David took correspondence courses from the University of Florida, and he completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of West Florida in 1975.  In 1976, he started work in the drafting department at Okaloosa Walton Junior College (now Northwest Florida State College).  It was during this time he met and married his wife, Deby.  Over the next 36 years at NWFSC, he rose to the level of Vice President while also teaching a variety of classes including American Government, Political Science, and an assortment of business classes.  He gained recognition many times as an outstanding classroom instructor, and in 1984, he was selected by the United States Department of Education as America’s Outstanding Technical Educator of the Year.  A lifelong learner himself, David earned his Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in 1979, then added three master’s degrees from Troy State University. 

Throughout his career, he was a dedicated advocate for veterans. He served as the founding chairman of the Florida Defense Support Task Force, and in 2016, he was inducted into the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame.  

Community involvement was another commitment of David’s that he took seriously.  Serving on the boards of numerous organizations, he was president of the Niceville-Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce in 1989 and 2007 and president of the Fort-Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce in 2004.  In 2003, he was selected as a Distinguished Alumnus of UWF, and in 2007, he was recognized as one of the University’s top 40 alumni during its first 40 years of operation.  Following his retirement in 2011, he was granted the title of Vice President Emeritus, and he returned to the classroom to part-time teaching at NWFSC in the program that he helped found, the Bachelor of Applied Science program.

In addition to all that he accomplished, David was perhaps best known as a prolific author, penning over 70 books in topics ranging from management to occupational safety and from politics to Christian counseling.  Most recently, he enjoyed collaborating on several books with Oliver North.  


In his personal life, spending time with family, especially his BELOVED GRANDBOYS, Matthew and Henry, was at the top of his list.  He faithfully served as a deacon at his church, Trinity Presbyterian Church, where he had attended since 1995, and he was also known for his dedication to fitness, his love of good food and gospel music, and his enjoyment of history – particularly the World War II era.  A crossword-puzzle expert, a wonderful storyteller to the children in his life, and a generous friend and counselor to numerous people of all ages, David will be remembered fondly by all who were blessed to know him.  


David leaves behind his precious wife, Deby, his daughter, Savannah (Ethan) King, his favorite grandchildren, Matthew and Henry King, niece Stephanie Goetsch, and a half-sister, Michelle Gifford Ellis.    He is predeceased by his parents, Marion and Yvonne, and by two brothers, Ronald and Larry Goetsch.  

The family wishes to express great appreciation and special thanks to Dr. Lin and Associates, Dr. Henderson and Associates, and McDonald Family Funeral Home.

A service was held on Saturday, May 10 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Valparaiso.  McDonald Family Funeral Home was entrusted with arrangements.   To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David L. Goetsch, please visit our flower store.


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