Mourners celebrate Weitala’s devotion to family, faithFamily, friends and colleagues said a final farewell Monday to Davison County Commissioner David Weitala, remembering him as a man of faith who believed in service and family.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Family, friends and colleagues said a final farewell Monday to Davison County Commissioner David Weitala, remembering him as a man of faith who believed in service and family.
Weitala, 60, died of a heart attack Jan. 17 after shoveling snow.
The estimated 200 people who attended the morning funeral service at the Northridge Baptist Church in Mitchell were given small packets of salt prior to entering the church’s sanctuary, a scriptural reminder of Christ’s directive to his followers to be the “salt of the earth.”
“Take a look at this packet and be reminded of Dave,” said the Rev. Paul Manson, associate pastor at Northridge.
“Salt brings flavor, goodness and richness to a situation,” Manson said, adding that Weitala lived life with a passion that lifted and gave flavor to the lives of those around him.
Reflecting on Weitala’s nervous energy, Manson joked, “Dave was a little type A — or type AA — or maybe type AAA,” but Manson said Weitala wasn’t worried about the things of the world.
“He invested heavily in his family and his faith, and it paid off,” Manson added.
The first half of the service celebrated Weitala’s life with a slide show of early black-and-white photos from the 1950s, and numerous later family snapshots with his wife, Kim, and his five daughters.
The congregation joined in a rendition of “On Holy Ground,” a hymn from the Weitalas’ 1987 wedding.
The Rev. Dave Johnston, former youth pastor at Northridge, said laughter filled the church offices when David and his sister, Deb Weitala — a ministry assistant at Northridge — visited in the church where he served as a deacon, trustee and taught Sunday school.
“He didn’t sit back and wait for a solution to a problem,” Johnston said, “but became part of the solution.
“I loved his passion and zest for life.”
Weitala was passionate about his service to the county, to Mitchell, and, most of all, to his family, Johnston said.
He also said Weitala, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Northern State University in Aberdeen, loved art and cooking and his five daughters.
Johnston told of a family tradition in which Weitala would take each of his daughters out on special “date nights.” Each girl would be given a single rose and would get the opportunity go to a local restaurant and spend valuable father-daughter time together.
His love for his daughters was a reflection of his relationship with Jesus, Johnston said.
“Dave is home, and he’s waiting in a heaven where 1,000 years are but a day,” he said in conclusion.
Weitala’s casket was escorted by deputies of the Davison County Sheriff’s Office in dress uniforms. Members of the Davison County Board of Commissioners also attended, as did numerous county employees. Some county offices were closed briefly Monday to allow employees to attend the services. About 300 people attended visitation services at the church on Sunday, said a representative of Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Kim Weitala said there will be no burial services. The family will hold a private memorial service when daughter Rani returns home from overseas.