David was born in Billings on April 9, 1945, and finished his life journey on May 31, 2019. It was just three short months from his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
David is survived by his wife, Michele, of 44 years; his children, Annette Robison (Glenn), Roger Konzen (Carol), Katie Konzen (Chris), Aimee Konzen (Rachel); and 10 grandchildren. Listed by age, they are Levi, Sarah, Kira, Kayla, Karla, Preston, Payton, Triston, Quinton and Remington.
Kermit and Yvonne raised nine children. David was number four. He is survived by siblings Karol Holmberg (Dave), Karen Pelzel (Ben), John Konzen (Linda), Janet Buige, Janice Noel (Chad), Konnie Haman (Dan), Kim Martin (Everett) and Randy Konzen. He loved his nieces and nephews very much.
Also surviving is his sister-in-law Rebecca Scripps and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Tim and Kathy Hendricks.
Growing up on the “South Side.” it was common knowledge that no one “messed” with the Konzen house or girls or David would “seek them out.”
Baseball was his love, from Little League to Billings American Legion, slow pitch softball and coaching his children and other people’s children. While recuperating from a softball line drive to his shin, he was asked what profession he would choose if he had his choice, and he said “a professional baseball player.” He was reminded that train had already passed him by.
Once coined “Mr. Softball” in the Billings Gazette, our lives centered around the game — with two games during the week, and tournaments on the weekend either in Billings or away. The kids grew up at Stewart Park. It was an exciting time with the “Bucks Bar” era at the center. The Tiger Team adopted us and became our new “softball family.” Sports were a major part of David’s life. He enjoyed slow pitch softball, masters senior handball, golf, basketball and pretty much anything with a ball. He excelled at them all.
A friend to all who knew him — either he liked you or he didn’t. No in between. Lifelong friends are too many to mention. You will always have David in your heart.
David graduated from Senior High in 1963 and attended Eastern Montana College with a baseball scholarship. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in the middle of his senior year and served in the U.S. Army Infantry in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971. He earned the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart, Vietnam service medal, expert (M-14 Rifle & M-60 Machine Gun, Vietnam campaign medal w/60 DVC Sharpshooter (M-16), and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He came home with a purple heart after recuperating from shrapnel in his leg.
David was a family man. He lived large and loved large. He always had time to toss a ball, play cards, blow bubbles, color and give each child and grandchild the time they needed. Recitals and performances were not missed. Ballgames were a priority. Each child and grandchild was special to him. Summers went by with camping trips with friends, golf, trips to Bull Lake with family and Sunday dinners. Winters meant handball, warm fires and keeping up with the snow.
He was a man of few words. His children respected him and listened to his advice. The advice was gold nuggets of wisdom. He never went back on his word. He wins the “Best Dad Ever” award.
Except — he loved Trump.
David worked hard from day one. Summers were spent at the Sugar Beet Factory during college, Eddy’s Bakery as a shipping foreman for 12 years, and 30-plus years installing flooring on his hands and knees. He never complained. Callouses grew on his knuckles from tucking the carpet into the tack strip. We were in Las Vegas and David was playing “21.” The dealer took one look at David’s hands and he probably thought he “busted heads” for a living. We got a lot of attention, and he won!
To say that David will be missed is an understatement. There is a huge void in our lives. The last three months have been a challenge for David and for us all. He beat being shot and a kidney transplant. We thought he was invincible. Life is short. We never know what tomorrow will bring. David is whole and happy. He is hanging out with Goose and John and all his friends and family who have gone ahead.
Thank you all for your support, love, and prayers.
If you choose to honor David with a charitable donation, please support the Billings American Legion Baseball program or caringbridge.org.
A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 6, at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1108 24th St. West. Interment will follow at 2 p.m. at Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel.