David Mittlestadt, left our world freed of pain Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.
Little Davey as he was known was born Aug. 10, 1962, to Judith (White) and David P. Mittlestadt. A book worm, a jock, a lover of all things nature, Dave was naturally welcoming to anything and everyone. As a boy he spent most his time reading about science and “splorin’’ the wilderness side by side with his favorite pup, Duchess. As he grew up in the small town of Knapp. Dave learned many valuable skills working on the local farms; these skills he would carry with him the rest of his life. Graduating in 1980 after spending more time camping with his father, Dave and brother, Scott than in school, he decided his aspirations were of something greater. February 1981 Dave enlisted into the U.S. Air Force (Lackland AFB, Texas) hoping to become an Airlift/Bombardment Aircraft Maintenance Spec. however after outstanding scores upon entry he was offered a job in Intelligence.
His 20-year career as a Russian linguist began simply because Russian offered the best places to travel to. After a short stint at Goodfellow AFB, Texas, Dave was stationed at Hahn AB, Germany where his work hard play harder attitude often got him into more trouble than intended. Dave returned to Kelly AFB, Texas after 18 months only to find himself entering a new chapter of life. Dave met Betty in 1985 at a bar right off base. Friendship quickly turned to love and the two were married in October 1986 in Las Vegas, Nev. In his retirement speech from 2001 he reflected upon this time of his life “I had already had a fairly rocky first five years by 1986 due to my own immature mistakes but knew I may also be getting married soon…so the whole idea of reenlisting was a very tough decision.”
A decision he would never regret lead him and his new wife across the world to Iraklion AS, Greece. Greece was of Dave’s fondest memories; memories of adventures exploring ancient cities, eating amazing food, relaxing on warm beaches and a growing love with Betty. While in Greece Dave’s life changed forever when his daughter Jena was born in 1989. The apple of his eye, Jena brought a joy to his life he had never known.
The next 10 years of Dave’s life took him and his family across the world, first to Eielson AFB, Alaska, then to RAF Chicksands UK and finally to Offutt AFB, Neb. where his career would face its most challenging yet rewarding endeavors. Dave cross-trained in Electronic Intelligence after 12 years as a Linguist. As a natural leader he guided his team on improving the intelligence community by building new programs from the ground up.
Before retirement Dave and Betty welcomed their second daughter, Jaden in 1999. Unable to have more children themselves, Jaden truly was a blessing to their family.
Dave retired honorably in 2001, he received an abundance of awards, certificates, outstanding achievements and so much more. His hard work and perseverance to be number one left him with many admirers.
Following retirement, Dave and his family relocated back to his hometown of Menomonie where he was able to spend time with his grandparents Eddie and June White before their passing.
Unfortunately, the world wasn’t always kind to Dave. After an accident in 2005 Dave was left to deal with chronic pain for the rest of his life. He had a long-fought battle with Type 1 diabetes and he underwent open heart surgery to repair an aneurysm all before the age of 50.
I have heard people with blue eyes are better able to see in the dark. Through all of his struggles, Dave navigated his storm by always putting his family first. He turned their shadows into sunshine. He was a proud family man with a heart of gold. More than anything he loved his four grandsons, Jamison, Liam, Kian and Mick (He was so excited when the boys finally outnumbered the girls in the house). Dave spent his final years in Chino Valley, Ariz. where he often spent afternoons cheering on the Green Bay Packers with his family or enjoying the fresh air and mountain views with his wife.
Dave lived a life many only dream of. He often spoke of how thankful he was to not only see the world but to have his Betty Boop there for the entire ride. Through thick and thin Dave and Betty’s love for one another demonstrated how powerful love can truly be.
Dave truly was one of a kind and as he would say everything happens for a reason so don’t fill yourself with sorrow and worry, I am no longer in pain. Be grateful for what you have in life and enjoy the simple things.