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David W. Timberlake

March 31, 1932 June 27, 2020
David  W.  Timberlake
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Obituary for David W. Timberlake

Captain David W. Timberlake (USN Retired) passed away on June 27, at age 88. He lived a long and full life, and had a significant impact on his country, his community, and his family.
CAPT. Timberlake was born in Hope, AR, and grew up in the nearby rural community of Nashville. His early years were spent on the family farm, where he was actively involved in local FFA and 4-H clubs, both of which would have a significant influence on his life. After high school, he attended the University of Arkansas, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.

In his 20’s, CAPT. Timberlake completed Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned in the United States Navy in 1955. While attending flight school in Pensacola, he met and married Sylvia Grant Timberlake, and they began their family. During this time he also completed his Master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Hawaii.

In his 30’s, he continued his career as a skilled aviator, logging thousands of flight hours with several different airplanes, including the A-1, A-4, and A-6E Intruder. CAPT. Timberlake was assigned to duty stations and squadrons from Florida to Hawaii, as well as four different aircraft carriers. He served his country in Vietnam, earned many awards and commendations, including the Navy Commendation medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, and he eventually became the Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron VA-85 in Chesapeake, VA.

In his 40’s, he transitioned to non-flying duties, and helped establish mentoring and community outreach programs at NAS Pensacola, as well as leading the NROTC unit at the University of West Florida. He ended his Naval career with a position at the Pentagon before retiring from active duty in 1979.

In his 50’s, CAPT. Timberlake began his second career in higher education, and became the Executive Director of Development for (then) Pensacola Junior College and also University of West Florida’s Foundation departments. Through his fundraising efforts, many deserving students were able to receive scholarships to attend college. In addition to his work responsibilities, he also was very active in leadership roles in committees and advisory boards in the community, which continued for the rest of his life. There are too many to mention them all, but among the most significant were serving as chairman for the Pensacola/Escambia Human Relations Commission, president of the Tate High School Athletic Council, member of the Escambia County Republican Executive Committee, and delegate to the Alabama/West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was heavily involved with local 4-H clubs, both as a leader and as a coach for various District events. He was the principal architect for creating the Escambia County 4-H Foundation, which now has assets of over $1,000,000, and is one of the largest 4-H Foundations in the nation. For these efforts he received the prestigious “Partner in 4-H Award, and was inducted into the inaugural class of the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame in 2002.

In his 60’s and 70’s, the former military man became “Granddaddy”, and was devoted to his five grandchildren. They all share cherished memories of their time with him on the farm, including riding horses, feeding the animals, gathering eggs, going on hay rides, and being pulled behind the tractor in what came to be known as “tractor surfing”. He built them everything from stilts, to swings, forts, playhouses, and even zip lines. He and Grandma In his 80’s, he “retired” from country life, and moved to Azalea Trace, but still kept busy serving in volunteer positions on Azalea Trace committees, as well as at St. Luke UMC and the Pensacola Naval Air Museum, which has several of his donated military items on display. He attended all the grandchildren’s high school and college graduations, weddings, and welcomed two great-grandchildren into the family.

CAPT. Timberlake will be dearly missed by his wife of over 63 years, Sylvia, as well as his two children, Steve Timberlake (Candy) and Shari Timberlake Szalwinski (Duane). He will be thought of with love by his five grandchildren, Tiffany Timberlake Myers (Michael), Sarah Timberlake Watson (Joseph), Alex Szalwinski (fiancée Christy), Christopher Szalwinski (fiancée Morgan) and Anna Szalwinski, as well as his two great-grandchildren, Jonathan Myers and Katherine (Kate) Watson, (and a third great-grandchild on the way.) He is survived and mourned by his brother-in-law, John Grant, as well as numerous beloved nieces, nephews, and family friends.

David Timberlake was a well-respected man of intelligence, integrity, and commitment, with a strong love of God, country, and family. A private military service will be held in his honor at the Barrancas National Cemetery on Wednesday, July 1, at 10:00 a.m. The family requests no flowers, but if desired, donations may be made in his name to the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum, or to St. Luke UMC in Pensacola. Memories and condolences for the family are welcome to be left here on this website.

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