Dr. David Carl Mussleman, Jr., departed this life on February 9th, 2018 surrounded by his loving family. David was born in Wetumpka, Alabama to Carl and Ruby Mussleman. After Carl completed his work on Jordan Dam, the family returned to St. Florian, where David attended St. Michael School and later graduated from Coffee High School in 1948.
Shortly after, David joined the National Guard. Upon learning he would be stationed in England, he expedited his wedding proposal to the love of his life, Jean Gay Lindsey. They were wed on December 29, 1951. Their love and dedication to each other was seen by family and friends as an inspiration in their own lives.
Upon their return from England, David and Jean Gay lived in 1953 , they moved to Auburn, AL where David attended and graduated from Auburn University with a doctorate of veterinary medicine. After his graduation, they returned to Florence, where David practiced veterinary medicine for more than 50 years.
Through his decades of practice, David was beloved as a skilled and compassionate veterinarian always seeking cutting edge technology to better serve his patients. In later years, he opened an emergency veterinary clinic serving patients in crisis after hours. Many a patient received a note from David after their treatment there.
David’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to pursue real estate development, including Wildwood on Cypress and helping Jean Gay launch ElderCare Services.
David was also a dedicated athlete. A passionate runner, he could often be seen running in downtown Florence or along Cypress Creek, even on the hottest summer days. He was also a skilled tennis player, a sport which he shared with his children and grandchildren. His competitive spirit lives on in them.
A chance meeting in the Muscle Shoals airport in 1980 with Yale professor, Willie Ruff subsequently brought us the W.C. Handy Music Festival. As with David’s approach to life, his infectious inspiration and encouragement along with his admiration of W.C. Handy planted the seeds of the present day festival enjoyed by the Shoals area.
David was dedicated to his faith, assuming various roles at First United Methodist Church of Florence. Most recently and his most beloved position, however, was on the crisis management team, an outreach program which addresses crises confronting the less fortunate in our community. His gift of making those whom he attempted to assist feel as though they were the most important person in the room was truly an inspiration to those he served as well as those who served with him.
In recent years, he became a devoted follower of his grandchildren’s athletic pursuits, particularly at Florence and Collinwood high schools. Whether tennis, football, baseball, cheerleading or soccer, G’doc, as his grandchildren, as well as most of the players called him, was a loyal fan he was frequently seen cheering on his grandchildren’s team with unequaled enthusiasm.
David blessed his family and friends with loyalty, dedication and love. His weekly visits to friends in the nursing homes, his notes of encouragement, his love of Auburn football and his calls of support are treasured memories which we will all hold dear as we say goodbye.
David is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Jean Gay; children Lindsey Davis (Butch) , Dee Mussleman (Amy), Matt Mussleman (Deanna), Janna Childers (Blaine) and Laura Hillhouse (Jim); grandchildren Rebecca Davis, Forrest Davis, Lauren Feury (Matt), Anna Beth Greenhill, Alex Mussleman (Cassidy), Macie Mussleman, Sydney Childers, James Hillhouse, Liles Hillhouse, Laura Alice Hillhouse and Mary Hillhouse.
David was preceded in death by his parents, Ruby and Carl Mussleman, and his sister Mary Ellen Stansbury.
Visitation will be Sunday, February 11th, 4 to 6 PM and Monday, February 12th, 12 to 1:45PM in McDowell Hall at First United Methodist Church of Florence. Funeral services will follow in the sanctuary at 2 PM, with Reverend Robert Sparkman officiating.
Pallbearers are Alex Mussleman, James Hillhouse, Forrest Davis, Liles Hillhouse, Ed Yielding and Ed Garner. Honorary pallbearers are James Clay, Mark Beumer and the Mussleman Sunday School Class.
David was blessed by the medical care of Dr. Lyman Mitchell. In recent months, he was fortunate to be cared for by ElderCare Services, and in these last weeks the compassionate care of the Palliative Care unit and Dr. Robert Webb at ECM hospital.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to First United Methodist Church or your charity of choice.