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David Lawrence (Dog) Distel

January 21, 1944 ~ September 1, 2018 (age 74)

David Lawrence (Dog) Distel, 74, passed away peacefully in his cherished Ontonagon home with his wife Lynn and her daughter Kirsten by his side, on September 01, 2018.

David was born on January 21, 1944, in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to Lawrence and Maryann Distel. His father was in charge of German prisoners and when the war ended they settled in the Lansing Area. As a youngster David created a neighborhood newspaper, offering local news and services, thus the beginning of his successful writing career.

In search of sunshine, as a young teen, David and his family moved to Palm Springs, California for a few years, then to what became their permanent home in Santa Ana. David graduated from Santa Ana High School, and went on to attend the Santa Anna College where he was the editor of the school paper.

At a very young age David was offered a positon with the Orange County Register, where he covered the LA Angels baseball team and became close to the owner, Gene Autry. While raising his three children in Santa Ana, David’s career flourished and landed him an opportunity with the San Diego edition of the LA TIMES, where he was the editor of the Sports Department until his retirement. During these years David penned three books, Race Horse Doctor, Michael and Me, and the Sweater Letter.

After raising his three children, Eric, Dina, and Lisa, Dave then met the love of his life Lynn Rogers, who introduced him to what he believed to be the most beautiful town on earth. He fell in love with the people in the community and the beauty of Ontonagon and said it was like living in a national park. David became a member of the Ontonagon Men’s Association, Holy Family Catholic Church, and volunteered with the local cancer association. His membership at Ontonagon Golf course was the highlight of his life here, as well as hours spent cheering on his grandchildren in their sporting events.

David is survived by his wife Lynn, his children Eric (Kahn) Distel, Dina (Jeff) Purvis, Lisa (Bill) Butcher, his brother Peter (Jeanie) Distel, sisters Marty (Jerry) Abts ,and Sister Julie, a Dominican Nun, grandchildren Nicollette Walls and Alyssa Distel, Taylor and Casey Purvis, and Samantha and Alex Butcher, great grandchildren Amiri Walls and Esmerelda Distel.  Also survived by Lynn’s children, Kirsten (Mark) Menigoz, Melissa (Geoff) Kelly, and Jacqueline (Wyatt) Cameron, and grandchildren, Henry, Theadora, and Gabriella Menigoz, Olson, Curran and Georgia Kelly, and Race, Finnegan, and Kai Cameron.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 07, at the Holy Family Catholic Church; visitation at 10:00am, service at 11:00 with Father Michael Jacobus officiating. Burial will follow at the Holy Family Catholic Cemetery, arrangements by Cane Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Ontonagon County Cancer Association, PO Box 282, Ontonagon, MI 49953.


Donations may be made to:

Ontonagon County Cancer Association
P O Box 282, Ontonagon MI 49953


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