MUNISING - David Bruce Ghiardi, 75, of 325 E. Varnum St. in Munising, died early Sunday morning, May 25, 2014 at Marquette General Hospital following a long and courageous battle with cancer.
He was born in Ishpeming on Oct. 24, 1938, to Joseph and Rosalina (Favero) Ghiardi. David grew up in Negaunee and played four years of basketball at NHS. He was captain for two of those years and helped lead Negaunee to the Upper Peninsula 1955 Class B State title.
David then went to Western Michigan University where he played shortstop for one year on the University's baseball team. He returned to the U.P. and played as a starter on Northern Michigan University's basketball team for four years under head coach, Stan Albeck from 1957-1961.
During those four years, the Wildcats posted an all-time best 68-19 mark. A two year Wildcat captain, David earned honorable mention All-American and Most Valuable Player honors en route to leading the team in scoring with 19 points per game as a junior. In his final campaign wearing a Wildcat uniform, David helped the club to a 24-3 record and a trip to the semifinals of the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City.
While at Northern, he decided to spend a weekend in Munising with his roommate and best friend, Jim Depew. The rest was history and Jim lost his best friend when David met Jim's sister Beverly. They were married in Munising on Dec. 26, 1960. In 1961, David graduated from NMU with his bachelor's degree in physical education with minors in history and biology. David later earned his master's degree in health, physical education and recreation, and he was inducted into NMU's Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 6, 1995.
His first teaching job was in Dowagiac where he taught P.E., health and first aid. After a year below the bridge, David and Beverly moved to Lake Linden where he spent two years coaching and teaching. His young family moved to Munising and David continued and completed his teaching career teaching physical education and health in Munising. In his early years in Munising, David coached the Mustang basketball team with an explosive style until 1969. He also started and coached the boy's golf program until his retirement from teaching in 1993.
David was always actively supportive of Mustang athletics. He was a sportscaster and worked with Jack St. Andre, Bill Almann and Larry Bangert. But David will always and fondly be remembered as part of the Dave and Jim broadcasting duo. David Ghiardi and Jim Landfair gave their hearts, energy and time to Mustang athletics across the WQXO airwaves for many years.
During the summers, he was the director of the Summer Recreation Program. David supervised kids at Pete's Lake swimming for 28 years. Many childhood memories of kids growing up in the Munising area were created by running, jogging, swimming and "buddying up" to David's whistles. Physical education and the camaraderie of participation was always important to him. Although he had an impact on thousands of kids through his dedication, some of his proudest moments were watching his grandchildren grow and participate in their programs.
Following retirement, David and Beverly enjoyed their years traveling, playing golf, shopping, wintering in Mississippi, Arizona and Florida, and spending time with family and friends.
He was a faithful member of Sacred Heart Church in Munising. David had a meticulously kept yard, loved pulling pranks, teasing, joking and truly enjoyed having a good time. He liked to watch sports or old black and white Westerns on television.
As unpredictable as he was, he could predictably catch you with "you have something on your shirt" and he could easily confuse you with his contradictory "yes" and "no" head shake. Although patience was never one of his virtues, David's wise advice will always live on "keep your head down and follow through." His life was filled with laughter and love.
He is survived by the love of his life of more than 53 years Beverly Ghiardi of Munising; son Tom and Peg Ghiardi of Kennesaw, Ga.; daughters Sandi and Dan Reddy of Grandville, Mich. and Kathy Matson of Munising; grandchildren Peter, Cathy, Caroline, Liz (Brendan), Tony, Nick, Jesse, Megan and Jenna; great-grandsons Daniel and Dominic; sister Gena Farragh of Iron Mountain; brothers and sisters-in-law Jim and Laurie Depew, Linda Depew and Molly and George Schmidt; and numerous nieces and nephews.
David was preceded in death by his parents; brothers - Dominic and Peter Ghiardi; sister - Catherine Haupt; parents-in-law Willard and Bertha Depew; brothers and sisters-in-law Jack Haupt, Jack Depew, Gordon Farragh, David Depew, Eleanor Ghiardi and Alice Ghiardi; and granddaughter Faith Marie Matson.
Services will be on Thursday, May 29. Visitation will be at the Bowerman Funeral Home from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Father Chris Gardiner will celebrate his Mass of Christian Burial at Sacred Heart Church in Munising at 2 p.m.
There will be a fellowship gathering in La Mothe Hall following the Mass where there will be a time of sharing stories. Interment will be at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Munising at a later date.
David's obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed a www.bowermanfuneralhome.net