We want to give you a glimpse into the life of our dad, David C. Ledbetter. He passed away from cancer on August 4, 2018, just five days before his 63rd birthday. He clung to life for days, an excruciatingly beautiful process in which the family agrees he comforted us more than we did him--his final words and smile providing the reassurance that he was okay, in no pain, and in his words, "going to fly soon." We know he was relishing the final days with his family, but we're also pretty sure that a small part of him was holding on to get the 80" TV he wanted for his birthday.
If you ask people how to best describe our dad, they say he was hilarious and had a big heart. But one characteristic is unanimous--he was ornery. Trust us, it's Ledbetter genetics and yes, it was passed down to his children. His daughter, Rhesa (35), gloats for days when winning games (even for things as lame as Yahtzee)-- we're sore winners and losers. Benjamin (33) picks on people until they are blue in the face and laughs about it in diabolical fashion. Both Benjamin and Dad are convinced this is a terrific way to show love, especially to their sisters. Dave's sister, Debbie Ledbetter (60), says her life will now be too peaceful. His son, Matt (30), might be the most 'normal'--we think he just doesn't want to admit his Ledbetter shortcomings. And Josh (26), well, he's lucky and got the good looks.
Dave's orneriness led him to tease in the most inappropriate of ways. Case in point: In his last few days, he asked for a bite to eat, straining to get the words out. Upon giving him food, he grinned while pretending to choke on his daughter-in-law Beverly's homemade meal and thought he was hilarious. As demented as others might see it, we all laughed too. To us, it was a defining, unforgettable moment in which we knew he was still himself. And we can't forget that he drank a few drops of beer (which he didn't even like) off a medical mouth sponge when his friends visited. He was going to join the party and make memories from bed at any cost. Dave's sense of humor is already coming through in some of his grandchildren (Lord, help them), Landon (11) and Coy (6). Grandson Nico (1) is probably safe, since he's not genetically related and his granddaughter Colbie (7) belongs to Matt, who as mentioned above, is by all accounts 'normal', so she's probably not too affected either.
His wife, who was with him for 22 years, Annie Lezamiz Ledbetter (64), enjoyed (we think she might mean occasionally enjoyed) Dave's orneriness, but loved (we think she might mean really really loved) his hopeless romantic side. He showered her with dozens of flowers over the years. Annie naturally didn't think flowers would be an almost everyday occurrence, so she started drying them, but quickly ran out of room to store them all. Dave also loved shopping for her, filling a vintage suitcase with all her favorite things this past Christmas. Annie says when she and Dave went out he was always the best-dressed person in the room. Us kids would mostly agree with that, minus one thing--the loafers he wore with no socks. Dave was fortunate to be loved by Annie's children as well, Brett (39), Lucas (38), Jodi (36), and grandson Olin (3). Jodi, in particular, has fond memories of bargain shopping with Dave.
One quality we will never forget, that many would cherish in a partner, is Dave's passion, intense passion, okay, maybe OCD for cleaning. The downside: The roar of the vacuum at 6 am (seriously Dad?). The upside: The house was always spotless. One of the most fascinating things about Dave though, was that his home was furnished almost exclusively with items from Goodwill and looked like it could have been on the HGTV Network. He had a knack for decorating and shopping on a budget. His daughter Rhesa's partner, Tim, wishes she would have inherited that instead of the gloating.
Dave's determination at the end was no surprise, as it was exhibited throughout his entire life. One of Dave's favorite activities was golf--we're pretty sure only the most determined and resilient can play that seemingly terrible game. Dave and his father, Ben Ledbetter (82), made a lot of memories on the golf course. Dave would say he never played a great game. We have heard about a trophy for a hole-in-one though, so you'll have to decide. However, he was proud his son Josh ended up with a great golf swing. Dave's determination might not have led to great success on the golf course in his eyes, but it did in other areas. Dave worked hard to provide for his family. He started his own car detail shop, opened a successful auto glass company, and played a major role in building multiple homes for us. Recently, Dave said he thinks he worked too much and wished he'd taken more time with his family. His hard work though, still reminds us that he cared, and at the time was doing it in the way he thought best. We love our dad for that.
While Dave has now left us, we have no doubt that he is thrilled about being reunited with his beautiful mother, Fern Ledbetter (deceased 2011). There is something inexplicably amazing about leaving this life, and while we don't have the full picture of what's next, we imagine Dave and Fern are doing one of their favorite things together--shopping.
A memorial service is being planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, Dave and family would like donations made to the American Cancer Society.
Bill and I are so sorry to hear of Dave's passing. He is with God now and at peace, watching over all of you with much love and pride.
You remain in our hearts and prayers..
Love and blessings to you and your family.
Dave always treated me and my wife like he knew us forever on the golf course, even though we only knew him for a few years. He was so much fun to be around and he always made us smile. We will miss him so much! Bob & Vickie Hill
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