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Plan Ahead

David Buxton

September 7, 1946 –
 May 22, 2023


David truly walked the path-less-traveled from the moment he left the womb on September 09,1946.  Even in his youth, he was quirky, introspective, and droll to the degree that very few people ever really knew him. So what’s important now? David had the heart of a beast that was often misunderstood, until it was unleashed. On many occasions, I saw what he was capable of achieving, and it left me in awe, as I attempted to compare my strengths to his. We had a semi-screwed-up childhood with parents that divorced in 1954, and our parents had a generational misunderstanding of what kids in this situation really needed. Our mother was a saint who sacrificed everything so her kids could find success and happiness. Even with this commitment, Mother never really got David. Few people did, which made him both endearing and popular. As young boys entering high school, the three of us…..Ned, myself and David…. began to become distinctively ourselves. For David, Greenhill School in Dallas was a major turning point in his young life. Originally, the idea was for David to return to Dallas and live with Dad, a plan doomed to fail; but the plan was rescued when a wonderful Greenhill family friend took him in for his junior and senior years. During his four high-school years from 1962 through graduation 1966, David had many great friends. His wonderful wry wit and delightful, and sometimes devilish, sense of humor were hard to resist. As a leader, he excelled also in football, soccer, track, and baseball. After Greenhill, in search of adventure, mercurial David took a swing at Hobart College in New York and Westminster College in Missouri. Clearly, this was not his chosen path, and with the buildup in Vietnam in the late 60’s and the likely chance of being drafted, David decided to enlist in the Navy. He headed to San Diego for boot camp, where he soon became enamored with the Navy’s bomb squad – Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). He was indestructible, and he was clearly noticed, as he was even recruited by the Navy SEALs. However, David passed on this opportunity, because he felt the EOD “went to cooler places”. The day before he died, I asked him what places did he want to see again, and, without hesitation, he said Palau (Caroline Islands, Micronesia, Western Pacific). EOD swimmers work in pairs, and David’s time in the Navy could not be mentioned without recognizing his swim buddy, Kip Fischer. They were inseparable. If you attend the Zoom call later in the year, you will hear ‘David’ stories. We will ask Kip why he shot David in the forehead with a trident spear, and how they lived to laugh about it. David was discharged from the Navy on January 3, 1972 in Hawaii. From his perspective, there were many adventures on the horizon to be had. He decided to fly to Manama, Bahrain with plans to continue working as a diver, and he did just that for private companies. This opportunity allowed us to spend some time together, as I was stationed in Bahrain, headquarters of the Navy’s Commander Middle East Forces, Admiral Marmaduke Gresham Bayne. I was Duke Bayne’s personal aide. David returned to Dallas in 1973, and when I resigned my Navy commission in 1974, I returned to Dallas to open an import business. The next three years was a contemplative period for David trying to figure out what was next. No doubt, some of his search and deliberations were enhanced with both hash, marijuana, and, I suspect, some other experimentation as well.. On Christmas Day 1977, David was returning to Rhode Island from an unsuccessful marriage proposal in Somerville, New Jersey. He was pushing to make it back to Providence for Christmas, when he fell asleep at the wheel causing his van to go off the road and tumble end-over-end. Fortunately, an eighteen-wheeler was following and called in the accident. The family all quickly flew to New Jersey. David was a mess. This was the beginning of a 46-year challenge to conquer serious head injuries, the loss of eyesight in one eye, a significant brain injury, and the need to insert a metal plate in his head to fill the missing cranium. He never gave up, and he inspired all of us to rally to his side. I remember one particular sobering point in the early 80’s, when his doctor said David would never get out of a wheelchair. After getting drunk for three days in New York City, I decided that prognosis was unacceptable, and the team pressed harder. With immense gratitude, I give credit throughout the years to all the great doctors and David’s ‘stalwart family’ that consists of Celeste Miller (great friend and caregiver), Wendi Yokum, Sheila Skiba, Coby Buxton, and Barbara Buxton. David did get out of that wheelchair and began living independently with some supervision in Dallas by the mid 1980’s. Over the next few decades, David enjoyed a fairly good and very active life living in several residences on his own. It was not unusual throughout the 80’s and 90’s for David to fill his day with a 15-to-20 mile walk. After 2010, he sustained some heart problems and subsequent falls which, ultimately, restricted his movements. While he certainly became more obstreperous and introverted, he never gave up, as he just wanted to live life on his terms. On his final night, he joked and laughed with Celeste and her daughter Wendi, both an integral part of his life. He fought to stay to the very end, and while none of us wanted him to leave, I am grateful for my one wish granted: that he not spend years in pain staring at a hospital ceiling counting the tiles. My meager words cannot convey the respect and love I have for David, nor the battle he fought with the heart of a beast. – Witten by Mr. John A. Buxton


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Liza B.Dallas, TX
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"I highly recommend this funeral home and crematorium; when I had to make and pay for my brother’s arrangements across state lines, Evelyn Montonya, in particular, demonstrated both compassion and professionalism and made a very sad and difficult situation much easier. Many thanks."
Gloria M.Dallas, TX
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"The unexpected passing of my husband was a very difficult and trying time for my boys and I. I had the good fortune of having Abel walk us thru this process. Working with him was such a weight off my shoulders. He was professional, so polite and helpful. The service was beautiful – never did I feel rushed or like just another customer. They gave me the time I needed and I appreciate that so much! Also Mr. Brooks took special care of my husband as he is a fellow mason. I would highly recommend working with Abel and North Dallas Funeral Home."
Lance G.Dallas, TX
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"Everyone at North Dallas Funeral Home was very professional, kind, and caring, in all steps of the process from the first phone call to the service held at their location. They help to make the process as easy and comforting in my opinion as to be expected, I would recommend their service to anyone. Thank You to everyone who helped me and my family. Sincerely,"
Jason H.Dallas, TX
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"As soon as the call was made to Mr. Wayne Baxter all of my brothers final needs were taken care of. They walked me through what to expect the timeline and even dealt with the cemetery and the grave diggers. I was a hot mess due to my brothers sudden and unexpected passing. The experience was seamless and made it easy for my brother’s friends and family to say their last goodbyes. They even had the size to accommodate such a large group that showed up . The package deals that they offered were cost-effective and didn’t break my bank account. They included extras and accommodations that other funeral homes charged extra for. All the staff was amazing including Mr. Don Dodd . I can not thank them enough for all their help."
The Gillilands
The Gillilands[click to read more]
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Dear John,

It was such a nice pleasure to meet you, and what you had planned for my father just took my breath away. It was so special to hear you tell us how he would just come over to talk with you. I think it brought him much comfort. Thank you for putting that Air Force article of him on your website. I am going to have a replica made of the painting of his plane to give you.

Thank you again for all you have done to honor our dad.

Love, The Gillilands


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