David B. Haynes
May 8, 1944 - January 30, 2024

David  B. Haynes

David B. Haynes
May 8, 1944 - Jan 30, 2024

David  B. Haynes
Iframe toggler
Find Us On Facebook
Plan Ahead
Free Grief Support

David B. Haynes (8 May 1944- 30 Jan. 2024)

David B. Haynes, of Ames, IA, died Tuesday, January 30, at age 79 of complications of dementia. In his last weeks of illness, he was accompanied by his three children, Christine (Charlotte, NC), Douglas (Madison, WI), and Ryan (Cedar Falls, IA), his younger brother Thomas and wife Mary (Bloomington, IL), and his wife of 57 and a half years, Marilyn.

David lived out his life along the Midwestern corridor of the Lincoln Highway (U.S. Highway 30) and the Rock Island-Union Pacific Railroad line. Born in Spring Valley, IL, to J. S. (Stillman) Haynes and Dorothy Schlessman Haynes, he grew up in the town of DePue, in a two-story house within blocks of small Lake DePue on one side and a train depot on the other. He would often go down to the depot to watch the trains come through the town, and he also began to collect H & O model trains. Thus began his lifelong interest in railroading: as an adult, he continued to collect model trains; rode on a number of scenic railroads, including the Durango-Silverton line in southwestern Colorado; and (in 2019) enjoyed watching a Union Pacific "Big Boy" locomotive come through Iowa. As a child, David loved exploring the town of DePue with his father, Stillman, and helping his family and neighbors with various projects, including digging the foundation for an addition on the front of his house. In high school, he was the manager of the basketball team and also an Eagle Scout, and he worked part-time delivering milk and assisting a local printer.

Following high school, David decided to pursue an education in business. After a short stint at Midstate College in Peoria, IL, he opted to transfer to Drake University in Des Moines, IA, where he eventually earned a B.S. (while also working and raising his young family) in Business Administration in 1976. While in Des Moines taking classes and working as a salesman for Look magazine, in the summer of 1964 he met the love of his life, Marilyn K. Whitver, of Jefferson, IA, who was home from college in Texas, also taking summer classes. They married on June 11, 1966.

At the time of their wedding in Jefferson, IA, neither David nor Marilyn had a job. But, after a honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, they both found work near David's hometown, in LaSalle/Peru, IL. At the same time, David enlisted in the Illinois Army Reserves, serving from 1966 to 1970.

Hired by Sundstrand Corp. (later Sauer-Sundstrand), which in 1971 transferred him to its plant in Ames, IA, David began a long career in manufacturing, first in data processing and then in management. While at Sundstrand in Ames in the 1980s, he was involved in some international technology-sharing projects, which enabled him to visit Poland and Japan. In addition to over 25 years with Sundstrand, including seven as a plant manager in Freeport, IL, David managed factories in Nevada, IA; Marshalltown, IA; and Gothenburg, NE. In a family full of teachers, he prided himself on also being a teacher of sorts, working hard to cultivate the best in his colleagues. His work was defined by his respect for his co-workers. He once told a reporter for the Ames Tribune, "I believe every person is the expert in the job he or she does." In Gothenburg, NE, where he reorganized the assembly line at Baldwin Filters, a manufacturer of air filters for long-distance trucks, he was recognized by a regional development association for outstanding leadership in labor education. In 2011, he and Marilyn retired back to Ames, IA, the place they always felt most at home.

Alongside his work, David was actively engaged in community service. A longtime member of the Rotary organization, he was involved over the years in local campaigns for school bonds; a community advisory board at Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames; and in numerous church committees, most recently the finance committee at Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames. Over the years, he and his wife Marilyn hosted foreign exchange students from Austria, Finland, Croatia, France, and Spain, enriching the lives of a number of young people.

A doer, David was always interested in figuring out how things work. He helped design several of the homes in which he and Marilyn lived and relished home improvement projects. He was rarely seen resting. He was an expert car packer, package wrapper, and keeper of family records and finances. But he was also a feminist ahead of his time, more than willing to shop for groceries, fix a meal, and care for his children, as well as tend the yard, shovel the snow, and man the grill. In addition to trains, he loved history and genealogy, and he was fond of the mountains of the West, especially Colorado, which he had visited frequently with his father as a child. Although he could not carry a tune, he loved music, especially Tchaikovsky and the Beach Boys, and he never let his tone-deafness stop him from belting out the hymns in church. Until his last weeks, he enjoyed attending symphonies, band concerts, and other live musical performances with Marilyn.

Although he could sometimes be gruff and generous in his use of "shit" and "goddammit," David at his core was sweet, sensitive, giving, and kind. He always insisted on opening the door for others. Even in memory care and then the hospital, he routinely thanked his caretakers. At Heartwood House in the Northcrest Community in Ames, where he had resided for the last year and a half, his caretakers all said he was a "gentleman."

Above all, what David treasured most was his family. He worked hard and sacrificed much to ensure that his wife was cared for and his three children had good educations and many opportunities for music, sports, and especially travel. Every summer, he would use his limited vacation time (and money) to ensure that his kids saw as much of the country as possible. With Marilyn, he visited 49 of the 50 states. And he funded many international adventures for his wife and three children, even when he was not always able to come along. He taught his children to work hard, serve others, and love with devotion and affection. Excessively proud of his children, he also loved being a grandfather. He was always happy to push a stroller, play in the sandbox, construct Lego buildings, and lay model train tracks with his six grandchildren, Oliver (19), Mila (17), Mikey (16), Simon (16), Iris (8), and Lila (5). Despite his dementia, he still recognized his family. Whenever his wife, Marilyn, entered the room, he would light up and lean in for a kiss, often saying to her, "That's who I want to see" and "You are beautiful." His love for his family and especially his wife sustained him until the end.

David is survived by his wife, Marilyn; his three children, Christine, Douglas, and Ryan; six grandchildren; his older sister, Judy Suarez (Bloomington, IL); and his younger brother, Thomas (Bloomington, IL); his son-in-law Mark Wilson (Charlotte, NC); and his daughter-in-law Renata Solan (Madison, WI).

A memorial service for David is scheduled for Friday, February 16, at 11:00 a.m. at Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames (159 Sheldon Ave., Ames, IA 50014), with a lunch to follow in the fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, David's memory may be honored with a donation to the Alzheimer's Assocation ( or Collegiate Presbyterian Church (

Online condolences may be directed to

Diane Fredrick on Feb 9, 2024

I was very sorry to hear of David's passing. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet him and his wife, Marilyn, as well as their adult children. He was such a gentle soul and the love he had for his wife and family was so evident, as was the love and respect they have for him. Rest in peace, David. My heart and prayers go out to Marilyn, Christine, Ryan & Douglas and their families.

Kristi Leibhart on Feb 7, 2024

Dave was such a kind and gentle man, and his love for Marilyn was always evident. I was lucky to have time with them during their Nebraska years. He was also so learned that conversations were always meaningful and engaging. Reading his obituary brought lots of tears: he will be sorely missed by all. What a wonderful family he has. We always heard lots about all of you. In sympathy, love and peace, Kristi and Mike, Zane, Chase, and Cooper Leibhart

Bonnie Hyatt-Murphy on Feb 5, 2024

Having known David all these years, there are two memories which are forever in my mind

. Marilyn and I have been friends since Bible Camp when we were 12 years old. When she married

David I stood there with them as a bridesmaid. At that time I knew she would have a long and happy

life with this wonderful man. AND SHE DID! He was so thoughtful of her, and kind. I respected him
greatly over the years for these qualities, and felt privileged to know him. One other memory is of a

trip we took to see our friend Jeanie Brown and her husband Berry at Lake Tahoe. We were having a wonderful time, and Marilyn and i decided we would so the parachute ride up over the Lake. I could see that Dave was not too happy about this, but he just laughed and said "go ahead" to Marilyn. So off we went parasailing over Tahoe. We loved it, though brief it was. When we hit the ground after this ride, Dave scooped Marilyn up in his arms and hugged her for a long time. That was David Haynes! Loving, caring, and yet able to let go when he needed to. You are parasailing now ,Dave. Free of Alzheimers. God Bless. Bonnie Murphy

Thomas Haynes on Feb 2, 2024

David was the best brother and role model I could have ever hoped for. Tom Haynes

Betty Gordon on Feb 2, 2024

My heartfelt sympathies to David's family losing him to dementia since my late husband , Jack Gordon, was diagnosed by his first brain autopsy with Lewy body dementia, three tick borne diseases, and parasitic roundworms with LYME DISEASE inside of them.

I attempted to read the long continuous paragraphs of history and information galore but my misdiagnosed LYME DISEASE for 35 years prevented me from being able to comprehend it all.

To the Funeral home, please have short, single sentences, double spaced, and using bullets to help us all be able to read a lengthy obituary like David's was. Thank you.

From what I was able to read, David would've been a person I would've enjoyed knowing and being around as a colorful character with a strong work ethic and sense the humor.

Rest in peace, David. May God comfort each one of your family members now, and in the days, months, and years ahead.

And I'm glad to see you designated flower money to go to the Alzheimer’s Association or to your local church.

My husband's fourth and final brain autopsy is being done in New Orleans Tulane university, tick-borne disease research center.

They plus New York City will be writing up his case study to be published later this year in 2024.

It's taken me nine years to get his study, written up and published to help other patients/families and educating doctors.

Again, my heart goes out each one of you as I've been there done that with many loved ones with dementia/Alzheimer’s over and over again.

Betty Gordon, Ames



Add a photo


Collegiate Presbyterian Church
159 North Sheldon Ave
Ames, IA 50014
11:00 AM

Iframe toggler
Find Us On Facebook
Plan Ahead
Free Grief Support
David  B. Haynes

Sign in to add your memory

Login with Facebook

We will never post without permission

Just for verification: we never spam!

David  B. Haynes

Share Photo/Memorial Tributes

David  B. Haynes

Add to Your Calendar

David  B. Haynes

Obit Checkin

David  B. Haynes

Obituary Notifications

Grief Support

David  B. Haynes

Get Updates - tribute notifications

David  B. Haynes

Get Updates - SMS notifications

Thank you for sharing your memory of David

Help show your support by providing a gift of flowers and spreading the word.

Spread the Word

Help friends and acquaintances of David leave memories by sharing to Facebook

Share to Facebook Share on Facebook

"Faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love"