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David M Dressel

May 26, 1958 - May 17, 2018
Norton Shores, MI



Friday, June 1, 2018
3:00 PM EDT
Frauenthal Theater
425 W. Western Ave
Muskegon, MI 49440

Life Story / Obituary


With a passion for inspiring the very best in others, David Michael Dressel lived a life rich in creativity, contemplation, and connection. Talented and generous, resourceful and determined, witty and wonderful, Dave was committed to bringing out the best in others while always striving for his own best self. With signature style and unwavering integrity, Dave gave 100% in all his endeavors, thus encouraging others to do the same. Dave’s contributions to the community will long be remembered as will his devotion to his family and friends. Revered by many, Dave will be deeply missed.

1958, the year the microchip was invented, NASA was formed, gas was only .25 cents a gallon, and unemployment was less than 2%. While the Packard ended production, National Airlines began the first passenger flights with the Boeing 707; Billie Holiday and Elvis Presley dominated the radio, and Candid Camera brought laughter to our homes each week. It was truly a time of hope and prosperity. Nowhere did hope reign more clearly than in the hearts and home of Alfred and Helga (Kolbak) Dressel as they welcomed their son David on May 26th.

Growing up on the east side of Muskegon, Dave enjoyed a typical childhood for the times. His days were often spent outside playing with his older brother Bernie and other neighborhood kids. He attended Steel Jr. High School and began playing football and wrestling. While his accomplishments on the field and mat were many, his true passion and talents were found on the stage. During the school year, he participated in the school’s theatrical and during the summers he was involved in Story Truck, a local traveling theater troupe that put on performances in local parks.

After graduating from Muskegon High School with the class of 1976, Dave continued to study theater at Muskegon Community College at later at the American Academy for Dramatic Arts in New York City. Though Dave’s love for theater began with his work backstage building sets, loading, and unloading equipment, setting up the sound systems, and creating an environment where others could shine, he soon found himself under the spotlights himself. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Dave eagerly took on the title roles of Hamlet and Macbeth, as well as the iconic roles of Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger and the villain Harry Roat Jr. in Wait Until Dark. His talents and efforts were noted by the theater community and while at The American Dramatic of Dramatic Arts, he received both the New York City Drama League Scholarship Award and the Charles Jehlinger Award for Best Actor. Dave also took his acting to the big screen with a few bit parts in the notable movies Cotton Club and Zelig. During his time in California, he also enjoyed a major part in a low budget Horror Film.

Eventually, Dave returned home to Muskegon where he found various jobs working backstage in local theaters, events, and festivals. Over the years he enthusiastically contributed his time and talents behind and on the stages of the Summer Celebration, Student Showcase, Bike Time, Unity Fest, Muskegon Civic Theatre, Black Sheep Players, Overbrook Players, Cherry County Playhouse, and as the Technical Director for the Westshore Symphony. Dave was also an active member of the Muskegon Jaycees.

One of Dave’s most coveted roles was performing the duties of the Theater Technical Director at Reeths Puffer High School. For ten years he taught, supported, and guided many talented young people. With signature vision, organization, passion, and belief, Dave brought out the best in those he mentored, often inspiring others to take the risks to shine in ways they could not imagine on their own. Actors and crew alike, helping youth discover and courageously embrace their gifts was truly Dave’s heart’s delight.

Dave’s greatest joy was meeting and falling in love with Jacqueline Ford. Married on December 6, 1992, Dave and Jackie enjoyed over 25 years of exploring life in each other's good company. Naturally social, they had many friends with whom they made treasured memories. Together, they built a home in Norton Shores where they happily lived with their cherished animals. Dave was a real dog lover and proved a devoted best friend to many over the years. Dave helped Jackie operate a phone answering company and lovingly tended to their home. Dave could do anything he set his mind to and was quite the handyman. He built his own pool and a huge deck where they spent wonderful hours lounging outdoors together.

Unfortunately, Dave was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2017. Despite a brave fight and daunting chemotherapy, the disease was too advanced and Dave died on May 17, 2018.

Dave’s joy for life, his family, and his community will long fuel the hearts of all who knew him. Though his absence will prove challenging, may it be a deep comfort to know that whether partaking in a local production, sitting by the pool, enjoying the companionship of a pet, or enjoying the gifts of a compelling story we are carrying his legacy forward in our own lives. In so doing, we keep Dave’s spirit in the spotlight where he will continue to inspire others as he has so inspired us.

Mr. David Michael Dressel, age 59, passed away Thursday, May 17, 2018, after a short battle with cancer. He was born in Muskegon, Michigan on May 26, 1958, to Alfred & Helga (Kolbak) Dressel. Carrying Dave’s legacy forward are his treasured wife, Jacquelin; nieces, Andrea & Natalie; many good friends and his beloved pets. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Bernie Dressel.


Friday, June 1, 2018, at 3:00 pm at the Frauenthal Theatre. MEMORIAL: Muskegon Humane Society.

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Clock Funeral Home - Muskegon