David Zimpel

David Zimpel, 64, of Statesville (formerly Denver, NC and Raleigh, NC) died suddenly May 25. He leaves behind his heart—his son Dylan, 22, and his wife of 37 years, Sheilah Barton. Born in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin, he grew up in Rogers, Arkansas, on Beaver Lake, learning carpentry from his father, Douglas “Pops” Charles Zimpel, and his mother, LouAnn Sue Held. He lived like an outlaw before he met God. He moved to Raleigh in 1983 and framed custom homes where he met the love of his life Sheilah. They married in 1987. He learned to pray—among his favorites were Help me and Thank you. He lived a life of gratitude. Hoping to not climb roofs forever, he graduated from North Carolina State University’s school of engineering cum laude in 1999, at 41, the oldest in his class, after running a successful framing subcontracting business and attending Wake Tech at night for years. We almost forgot to have children, and then in 2002 our love Dylan August was born, named for Dave’s WWI vet grandfather who had lived off the land in the Ozarks. They moved to Denver, North Carolina in 2005 for a forensic engineering position, where he became known as a rock star (if you know how to build it, you know why it fails). He built a home for all the dirt bike kids who circled the trails endlessly that Dave created; there was a New Year’s Eve party in 2019 that lives on in infamy for its sheer numbers, bonfires, and cops in attendance. A storyteller, a rebel, a leader who was unapologetically the nonconformist, he was not a writer, but his clients loved his layman’s explanations. Not a churchgoer, but he knew God personally. Not a polished speaker, but we hung on his every word. He brought in repeat business just because of who he was as a man. He took every phone call and chatted endlessly about the work he loved and understood so completely. He helped so many all his life anonymously. He was a licensed Professional Engineer in many states and had just become a General Contractor. He traveled for storm damage assessments and loved to say “I’ve been around.” He was a MacGyver who could float a boat with a stick of gum and a bungee cord, or a dirt bike with a zip tie and some duct tape. For many years, he traveled the country with his son for the Grand National Cross Country off-road racing series for 3-hour races through the woods that Dylan loved. He won the “Rough and Ready Pit Crew” award in 2018. They were best buds. He finally returned to life on the lake last year for a last waterski. He’ll always be “the Man” – known for his big heart, hands, brain, stories, and lust for life. His beloved son and wife got the best of him. He lives on as an organ, eye, and tissue donor, and his body will be studied by science, but it’s the soul they need to know.

We celebrate his big life at home on June 29 (2-4 pm drop in). All who loved him are welcome. Please share your stories with us. He was a character; a friend told Sheilah 35 years ago that she had to stick around to see how Dave turned out because he was like a fine novel.

Dave was preceded in death by his parents and in-laws, who loved him so. He’s a beloved brother to Patty White (Kevin) of Punta Gorda, FL, and Janice Butcher (Perry) of Bentonville, AR; a beloved brother-in-law to Brian Barton of Cleveland, NC and Marcia Hatcher of Raleigh, NC, as well as a godfather, uncle, great-uncle, friend, and colleague to many. Consider donations to the American Heart Association and, in his mother’s and mother-in-law’s memory, to the Alzheimer’s Association.

He brought more to the table than he ever took.

2 Responses to David Zimpel

  1. Danny Littlejohn June 8, 2024 at 9:26 pm #

    I met Dave thru my sister’s family. All I can say is what a guy!! My son and I were at the races and I truly enjoyed talking to Dave, Dylan and Shelia. What a wonderful family. Dave would always have me laughing with his crazy life adventures. He lived life to the fullest and loved his family deeply. My son and I got out of racing and I hadn’t seen Dave in a long time. But, I’ll never forget those days at the camp sites at the races. There’s was always something broken and he always had a way to fix it. God Speed Mr. Dave Zimpel. We will miss you here on this rock until we meet again!!!

  2. Davidson Family June 9, 2024 at 10:28 am #

    We are completely heartbroken 💔 Hard to believe how time has flown with Zack and Dylan meeting in kindergarten. Dave was a genuine person and would give the shirt off his back for anyone. We will always remember our many adventures and dirt bike stories Our deepest condolences to Dylan and Sheilah God speed Dave Zimpel 🕊️

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