David “Dave” Alan Stiehm
David “Dave” Alan Stiehm, 59 of La Crosse, Wisconsin passed away (Friday July 19th) surrounded by family at Mayo Clinic Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin after battling cancer for over three years.
Dave was born on May 26, 1960 in Oak Park Illinois to Richard Baldwin and Joyce Weiby. His parents later divorced and his mother Joyce married Walter Stiehm. As a family they moved back to Alaska since Walter was in the Military. Dave graduated from Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska in 1978. After graduating from high school, he worked (at) a variety of different jobs. He married Elizabeth Soper. After moving to Wisconsin, they divorced in 2002. Dave worked in factories, did automotive repairs on vehicles, sold cars, delivered bar supplies, and more importantly he worked on fuel barges in Alaska. Dave’s biggest accomplishment was delivering fuel to small Native American Villages all over Alaska. He enjoyed making sure that the people in the villages would have enough fuel to survive the brutally cold winters. He would be gone on fuel barges for weeks at a time and would risk his life climbing mountains and walking on massive rocks to ensure that the fuel could be put into the fuel tanks in these villages. He took on a risky job of delivering fuel to Amchitka Island in Alaska. Amchitka Island was an island where nuclear bombs were tested. Dave would walk through knee deep mud mixed with toxins just to deliver fuel to Amchitka Island. After his work on Amchitka Island, he became extremely ill due to fuel poisoning. His health was so bad that he decided to seek medical care from Mayo in Rochester, Minnesota. Dave slowly got a little better after getting (extensive) medical care. He became disabled in 1992. Since he was disabled at such a young age, he decided to do small repairs for others on their vehicles and homes. He later attended UWL and was one class short of receiving a double major in Political Science and Administrative Law. His dream was to become a lawyer, but he knew his health would not allow it. Dave spent time caring for his mother before she passed away a few years ago. After losing his mother, he spent the rest of his life spending time with his family. He would travel to Montana every year to see his step-father Walter, he would attend his grandchildren’s school and sporting events, he spent time with his children and enjoyed teaching others. He enjoyed traveling and had dreams to build a house in Kennecott Alaska. He took pride in fixing things, learning something new everyday, reading, writing and enjoyed automobiles, trains, air planes, and boats. He enjoyed talking to others and meeting new friends. Dave always had a sense of humor and was positive about things no matter what. He never felt sorry for himself and didn’t want others to either. Dave always told his children and grandchild that everyone is as happy as they make their minds up to be. He used to say, if you are having a bad day, start your day over. It didn’t matter if it was at 8am in the morning or 7pm at night, if you were having a bad day, start it over because it is not worth going through the rest of your day in a bad mood or a negative attitude.
Dave is preceded in death by his father Richard Baldwin and his mother Joyce Weiby. His is survived by his step-father Walter V. Stiehm of Roundup, Montana, his brother Christopher (Faye) Stiehm of Anchorage, Alaska, his three daughters, Desiree Wolter of Sparta, Wisconsin, Laticia Soper of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Melissa Soper of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and his son Cameron Stiehm of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
A memorial service will be held for Dave on Monday, July 29th at 11 a.m. at the Bethel Lutheran Church located at 1931 Loomis Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin. A light lunch will follow the service.
Donations can be made in his name to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.