Obituary: John “David” Voiles

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Posted at 10:40 AM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 12:40:24-05

John “David” Voiles passed away peacefully surrounded by his children at the age of 79 in Bozeman, MT on Saturday November 12, 2022. David was born May 5, 1943 in Liberal, KS at Epworth Hospital, the closest hospital to his home town of Hooker, OK. He grew up in a loving home with his Father, John “DeVon” Voiles, and Mother, Esther Voiles, along with his siblings Rebecca, Barbra, Zella Bess, and Doug Voiles.

David lived a full and adventurous life from early on spending lots of his childhood with family and friends, playing sports, and running around town with his pellet gun. He told great stories and wanted things to be fun; he wanted people to have a good time. He’d tell stories and reminisce about his siblings, cousins, family and friends, shooting his BB gun, fishing trips and family outings to Yellowstone and the family cabin. David was hard worker, disciplined, very intelligent, and an inspiration to many others. He went to Hooker High School where he was a four year letterman in both football and basketball and was named first team All-State in football; he was a member of the band and chorus (though he claimed he couldn’t carry a tune), and a member of the yearbook staff. He graduated in 1961 as the valedictorian of his class.

He went to college at the University of Oklahoma, he was recruited by Bud Wilkinson and received a full four year football scholarship, and was a starting player all four years. A letterman for three of his years playing for the Sooners, David earned many honors including the All American Award, Outstanding Defensive Player Award, and played in the 1963 Orange Bowl and in the Gator Bowl in 1964. Always a proud Sooner, he continued to watch their games every year thereafter. Off the field, David was as impressive and accomplished as he was on the field. He was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, was named Academic All-Conference in 1963 and in 1964, and then graduated from OU in 1965 with a triple major in History, English, and Philosophy. Many of his cousins, friends and siblings looked to his example of work ethic, dedication and spirit, and a number followed him to OU.

David then followed in the footsteps of his grandfather L.G. Blackmer, M.D., a pioneer doctor in Hooker, OK, and enrolled in the Oklahoma University Medical School. He graduated in 1969 and went to the University of Iowa for his residency, then deciding during his residency that his interest lay in surgery, David applied and was accepted to the surgery residency program through Washington University at the prestigious Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, MO. He participated in the residency for four years and was awarded and named Chief Resident by the attending physicians. After completing the program, David went on to a year residency in cardio-thoracic surgery at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO and followed it up with a two year fellowship in cardio-thoracic surgery back at Barnes Hospital.

After completing the fellowship, David Voiles, M.D., moved to Oklahoma City and worked at the Oklahoma City Clinic where he became board-certified in general surgery as well as thoracic/vascular surgery. While in Oklahoma City, he married (and later in life divorced) Susan Woods whom he met during his residency in St. Louis. In 1982, David and Susan moved to Fort Collins, CO and formed a practice with two other surgeons where he was able to practice surgery and serve his patients and community, as well as working at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. Not one to rest on his laurels, David also became Head of the Surgery Department at the Estes Park Hospital, in Estes Park, CO (a 45 min drive from Fort Collins) where he also performed surgeries and provided a smaller community the best surgical care that had been unavailable to the community prior.

In 1984, David embarked on the part of his life that he was most proud of and that meant the most to him, being a father and having his children. On June 11, 1984, Megan Elizabeth Voiles was born, and

shortly after on February 17, 1986, Jarrett DeVon Voiles was born. While David was a busy surgeon with a flourishing career, he always made time to spend with his kids; he worked hard yet didn’t live to work, he worked to live. Trips and toys and time with his kids is what he liked. David was proud to be a father and selflessly did everything that he could to be the best father possible and provide his children with a full, enriching, meaningful, and joyful childhood and beyond. He shared his passion for sports with his kids, teaching them the proper way to throw and catch a ball in the yard after he got home from work. Teaching them how to use a backboard on the basketball hoop in the driveway on the weekends and then playing (and letting them win) a game of HORSE with him.

David passed along his love for the outdoors to his kids as well. He was an avid fly fisherman and hunter with a deep respect for nature and its beauty. Once able to share that love with his kids, his generous and giving nature shined through and he wanted to provide every opportunity for his children to experience it. Leaving his fly rod in the car so that he could watch from the bank of a river while his kids flogged the water taking his direction and teaching them where to cast, where fish would be holding, and being the most excited and proud dad no matter the outcome.

He resided in Fort Collins after retiring from surgery and later moved to Windsor, CO. In retirement, David traveled to Mexico, Belize, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, and throughout Colorado on fishing trips with friends and family; he enjoyed fly fishing like his grandfather C.B. Voiles, especially with a dry fly. He then moved to Bozeman, MT to live the rest of his life and was near his son.

He liked rooting for the underdog: Sylvester vs Tweety Bird, Wiley Coyote vs the Roadrunner, and even when it came to sports teams (unless that underdog was playing against his Sooners, he always rooted for OU). He was a man of phases; he’d go through phases of being really in to certain things and you always knew what to get him and what he liked. An example of his phases and generosity could be seen in his signature dish that he coined, “glopola” where he’d mix his favorite dishes (at that time) together in a bowl and want to share it with you.

He had many sayings that would lighten the mood or give perspective to things, and he’d say to them to help things feel alright and to make you feel better. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.” “Shake it off, it’s like water off a duck’s back.” “Better to have more than not enough.” “What are we waiting for?”

David was incredibly generous, and it was touching to see how he endeared himself to folks. Many people loved him and cared for him, and he loved them, too. He was good at giving you a hard time in a loving way and at creating an unbreakable bond. His laugh and smile were infectious and are treasured.

And that is how David was in life. He taught and inspired people to be hardworking and disciplined, but to have deep passions and joys – to not let bad times or unimportant people get you down, and above all to stand up for yourself. His stories and sayings will lighten our mood and be fond memories always.

Dad, you were an inspiration, mentor, a figure that seemed larger than life to so many. We are so thankful that you were all of those things, and continue to be all of those things and more to us. We love you always and forever. See ya later alligator – After while crocodile

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