Obituary: David Frank DeLap, Jr.

Posted at 8:30 AM, Oct 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-24 10:30:00-04

Longtime Alaskan, David Frank DeLap, Jr. died peacefully at home on October 13, 2021. Dave will be remembered for many things with his love of birds, bowling, basketball, and his devotion to family and traditions at the top of the list.

Dave was born May 2, 1932, in Bozeman, Montana, the only child of David Frank DeLap, Sr. and Ada Livingston Walton DeLap. Early years were spent in California and Montana while his father fought in WWII. He had fond memories fishing and hunting with his uncle and catching a foul ball hit by Hank Bauer, pitched by Art Houtteman in 1950 while visiting family.

He graduated from Gallatin County High School, was a member of the Montana National Guard from 1951 until 1954, and then became an active member of the Army. In 1955 he was stationed in Heilbronn, Germany. Dave took pride in placing 2nd in an Infantry Regiment Annual Qualification firing in 1956 and firing the M-1 rifle in matches around Germany.

After leaving the military, he returned to Bozeman, where he was introduced to ornithology by a mentor and later life-long friend. He completed his degree in Health Education and began teaching junior high school in Rock Springs, WY. He spent summers attending Montana State College until completing his B.S. Degree in Zoology in 1963. In 1965, Dave drove his VW Bug to Anchorage, Alaska where he began his teaching at Wendler Jr. High. There he taught Life Science and coached boys’ and girls’ basketball. He was very involved with the Wendler Science Fair and was twice nominated for Anchorage Teacher of the Year.

Dave met his wife Miriam Anne Nath in 1968 on a birding field trip during summer school. The couple was married December 21 in her hometown of Wichita, Kansas and began their life together in Anchorage.

An avid birdwatcher, Dave participated in 59 Christmas Bird Counts, 7 in Montana and 52 in Anchorage. In 2015 he wrote a paper, “The History of Alaska Christmas Bird Counts in General and Anchorage in Particular.” These records are now kept in the archives and special collection at UAA/UAF Consortium Library. He kept records of birds sighted on JBER from 1966-2021 which includes 154 species.

Other interests included bowling with the Over the Hill Gang and later grandchildren, attending basketball games at the Great Alaskan Shootout until the last season, and serving as the organizer of ushers for 34 years at Anchorage Lutheran Church.

Dave is survived by Miriam, his devoted wife for over 52 years; and two children, David W. DeLap (wife, Valerie) and Lora DeLap Fritz (husband, Brad); along with his grandchildren, Dallas, Freeman, Timothy, Josiah, Quintus, Rennick, and Ahrien DeLap, and Jonathan and Sam Fritz. Dave felt blessed by each one of his nine grandchildren, constantly capturing memories by taking photographs and creating individual albums from birth to their current age.

Dave will be buried in Bozeman, Montana at Sunset Hills Cemetery. Memorial donations may be given to the Bird Treatment and Learning Center 15510 Old Seward Hwy, in Anchorage, AK 99516 or the Gallatin History Museum, 317 West Main Street, Bozeman, MT 59715. A Remembrance Service will be held at Anchorage Lutheran Church, 1420 N Street, Anchorage, AK 99501, Thursday, October 21 at 5:00 P.M.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []