David John Fesmire


                                                                                                                                                                    Sept. 23, 1952 to Nov. 20, 2007


Dave "Fezz" Fesmire passed peacefully on Nov. 20, 2007 at home with family surrounding him. Dave and Karen, along with their daughters Kindra, Katti and Mikki made Lucerne their home in 1987. Dave loved and supported his girls and their activities. You could find him on the sidelines at soccer, softball, volleyball and basketball games. He supported his daughters while cheerleading at Upper Lake football games – he knew all the cheers! Dave loved his grandchildren, Dannyelle, Jerry Lee, Johnny and Jason. He enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle, being with friends, hunting, family camping, geocaching and scuba diving. Dave's dedication to the Lucerne Fire Department began as a volunteer medic/firefighter in 1987. He joined the Northshore Fire Authority family permanently in 2002 where he was promoted to Captain. Dave served on the North Coast Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board, contributing to the enhancement of Lake County's Emergency Medical Services system.
Dave loved his family and was committed to his community, but his proudest accomplishment was serving his country. He served two tours with the United States Army in Vietnam as a Helicopter Crew Chief and Door Gunner January 1971 to January 1973. He was assigned to the 271st Assault Helicopter Company then transferring to C Troop 16th Cavalry Darkhorse Unit and proudly serving in the Fourhorsemen Aero-Lift Platoon. Honors earned include two Bronze Stars, one Purple Heart, and 34 Air Medals for combat flight time, one with Valor for the rescue of a downed helicopter crew.
Dave was a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Member Association. This evolved into what became his passion – reuniting brothers from the Darkhorse unit. Dave became Unit Organizer and Reunion Director (or Mother Hen and Chief Herder of the Darkhorse Flock). He and "son" Russell were responsible for reuniting hundreds of brothers. The Darkhorse Family continues to grow and thrive and will be forever grateful to Dave. Dave was an Honorary Aero Rifleman, a Distinguished Trooper of the 1st Squadron, 4th U.S. Cavalry, Quarter Horse Association, member of the Vietnam Pilots Association. He was also a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America Lake County Chapter 951. For those who attended the Celebration of Life at Fezzy Fest-what an honor.
A memorial procession will begin at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 at the intersection of 11th and Country Club in Lucerne, past Lucerne Elementary School to Hwy 20, to 7th Street. Military and Fire Services will commence at the Lucerne Fire Station following the procession. Dave was a husband and best friend, a great Daddy, a fun Poppa Pie, a kind son, an amusing brother, a respected comrade, a spirited co-worker, a true friend, a loyal employee and an honest neighbor. We miss you so much. You will forever be in our hearts. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fesmire Trust Fund at any Westamerica Bank branch.

                                                                                                       From the Legacy Guestbook
February 06, 2008
Most people in this country have no idea what it means to sacrifice. Thank God that we have great Americans like Dave Fesmire that know what it is like to offer selfless service. I doubt that I would have been able to strap into a Huey with confidence in Vietnam if it were not for men like Dave. Dave was special and I am sure that it was divine intervention that Dave took a young inexperienced lLT under his wing and taught him everything he knew about surviving in combat. I have no doubt in my military mind that you will be at the gates of heaven when I pull pitch for the final time Dave, keep a cold one in the cooler buddy, I love ya.
Ronald Shippee,
Severn, Maryland
February 05, 2008
Dave was a friend of mine that I sorely miss. I will remember him always.
Each Vietnam Veterans reunion will not be the same without him. He was a solid,stand up man. I am honored to call him my friend and my sinceret sympathies to the entire families of Dave. RIP Buddy, You have no more battles to fight.
Doug Ward,
Silver Springs, Florida
January 23, 2008
My deepest sympathy and appreciation to the Fesmire Family. I met Fezz at the San Antionio reunion, he went out of his way to welcome me and connect me with others that served in '69-'70. It was my real "welcome home". The time Fezz spent bringing brothers like me together had to be at expense to his family. Thank you for sharing him with us!
Sam Scott,
Waldron, Indiana
January 18, 2008
Although we only met once we have wonderful memories of your father and extend our sorrow to all the family at this time.

Your cousins from Australia
George and Rosemary Goodsell,
January 17, 2008
I will always remember Dave as the man who was able to reunite the ARPS and get us to the reunions. Our prayers are with his family and our thanks to Dave for his service to our country and for always being "Prepared and Loyal".
Russ Clark, Darkhorse 44
ARP 1969
Troop D air, 1/4 Cav.
Russ Clark,
Peoria, Arizona
January 13, 2008
I was the downed pilot he pulled from the wreckage.
Chuck Chadwell,
Lancaster, South Carolina
January 12, 2008
Dear Karen I was very sad to hear that Dave had passed away. Because of his efforts hundreds of us have been able to find our lost brothers.It was an honor and pleasure to get to see Dave at the reunions. I also want to thank you and Russel I'm sure without your love and support Dave could never have accomplished so much. THANK YOU. I also lost my wife to cancer I know how tough things are. But its up to us to continue to live our lives and keep them in our hearts forever. May God bless you and your family Sincerely SP5 George Gardiner CE 66-67 1/4 Trp D
George Gardiner,
Middle Island, New York
January 12, 2008
Dave was one the greatest guys I ever knew.What he did for the Darkhorse family will never be equalled.I know when I get to Heaven he will be waiting to shake my hand.
Glenn Lee,
Fouke, Arkansas
January 11, 2008
It is an honor to have served in C/16 Cav with a hero like Dave. A true patriot, great American and a genuine human being in every respect. Peace be with you, Dave.
Darkhorse 5 '71-'72.
Dan Snell,
Franklin, Tennessee
January 11, 2008
Karen and family, I send to you my deepest sympathy and much love. Dave(Uncle Fester) will be missed greatly. I am thankful for the time that I have had with Dave and the rest of the family. He meant a lot to me, my brother Eric, and my father Royden. Rest in Peace Dave!
With deepest sympathy,
Tracy Mohr and family
Tracy Mohr,
Santa Rosa, California
January 11, 2008
Please accept my condolences. I first met Dave in Atlanta and was impressed by his ability to organize our group and maintain such a pleasant attitude. He made me feel as though I had known him for many years. He will be missed by all those who knew him.
Bill Capehart,
Daytona Beach, Florida
January 11, 2008
If I waited to find the right words I'd never get this written. Dave was a friend of the highest order. Coming in as a "Fan" to the Darkhorse Group - he welcomed me with open arms and always supported my efforts in building the Vietnam Helicopter Museum website. I was never treated like an outsider. His loss is a stunning reminder of how precious our time is on this big Rolling Rock we call home. May the Good Lord's blessing be with Family and many, many friends at this time of great loss. You are one never to be forgotten.
John Conway,
Kansas City, Missouri
January 11, 2008
Although I never met Dave personally, he was a great source of healing for my family when he started the Darkhorse reunions. My brother, John Stephen "Bernie" Satterfield, was killed in Vietnam and getting in contact with some of his companions from that period was wonderful for us. I will be forever grateful to Dave for his effforts.
My deepest sympathies to the family; he must have been a wonderful person whose legacy will live on.
Sue Satterfield Poor,
Wharton, Texas
January 11, 2008

can only echo what has already been written in these pages. Dave will truly
be missed by all who knew him. Thank you Karen and Family for sharing him
with all of us.

Darkhorse 37 (69-70)
John Loftice,
Verona, Kentucky
January 11, 2008
My condolences to the Fessmire family. I served with Dave in Viet Nam C/16th. in Can Tho. We feel sorry to have lost yet, another good Brother.
Jordan Denson,
Salinas, California
January 11, 2008
I love your family. I loved Dave's fantastic personality. It is so very sad this kind of thing happened to such wonderful people. He will be so truly missed. Marsha Schefcick (aka Wheeler)
Marsha Schefcick,
Lakeport, California
January 11, 2008
Karen and Family my deepest sympathy for your loss i served with fezz at cantho with c troop in 1972, he was one of a kind none better i was proud to have served with him my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family god bless you dave we will meet again.
Bob Hogga,
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
January 11, 2008
Karen, can not imagine your pain, but there is comfort in the Word of God.

I don't think anyone will ever know what Fezz meant to Doc Morgan. Dave's efforts to put the Darkhorse brothers back together has earned him a place in all of our hearts. I can say that my dad is a happier person since he was reunited with his comrades.

We love you guys.
Paul Morgan,
Athens, Tennessee
January 11, 2008
Thank You, for being such a inspiration and shinning individual to all people you could. A true example to anyone. Your forever in our hearts.
David Kawelmacher,
Woodland, California
January 11, 2008
"To memorialize is not to feel the depth of your sadness but, the depth of your love."

Dave was truly one of those "larger than life" kinda guys. Someone who instantly made you feel as though you'd known him for years. A man who defined "friend" in so many ways. Friend to his country, to his community and to everyone he met. He WILL be missed but, oh, we are so lucky to have had him touch our lives! God, bless his spirt and those of Karen, the girls and the grandkids who were the center of his heart.

Dori and Rick Falmoe,
Martinez, California
January 10, 2008
Have you ever considered how many of us wouldn't be in touch were it not for our Brother Dave. Few people have had as great an impact on as many lives as has Dave. I am so glad I got to know him even tho it was only 3 times, Dallas, Colorado, and Atlanta. Thank you Fesmire family for sharing your husband and dad with the rest of us.

May God richly bless all of you

Larry (39 in 69/70)Kauffman
Larry Kauffman,
Arlington, Texas
January 10, 2008
Thank you all for loving my father as much as we did! Hope to see you all at the service!
Kindra Fesmire,
Rancho Cordova, California
January 10, 2008
Karen, and Family. I met Dave, "Fezz", for the first time at Orlando, Fla. Reunion in 2007. I immediately felt drawn to this man of courage, compassion, and respect for his fellow man, and especially "Darkhorse". I was in 1/4 Cav. "D" Troop, ARPS in 69', with "Doc" Morgan, and Henry, "Doc" Gray, Gratton, Fisher, and all the other 69' ARPS. Everyone I have ever talked with from "Darkhorse", couldn't say enough about the "FEZZ". Now, I can't say enough about him. I loved him as a "Darkhorse" brother, a comrade, and a fine human being. If I can EVER be of any assistance to you, or your family, please contact me. Dave, we will ALL ride together again someday my friend. Rest in Peace, and keep on smiling. Larry
Larry Gray,
Smyrna, Tennessee
January 10, 2008
Meeting you and your family during my first ever Darkhorse reunion was a highlight of my life. My very personal journey of discovering my Father was made so sweet by our meeting and your contact, love and support over the years that followed.
Love you always, Lisa xo
Lisa Vad,
Windsor Junction, Nova Scotia
January 10, 2008
I will always cherish my association with Dave Fesmire and his family. I appreciate the hard work he put in organizing reunions.I feel so sorry for the Fesmire family for their loss.I know all of us old veterans will mourn his loss. He will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers
Bob Haley, Troop D Air 1/4 Cav 1965-
66 and 1968-69.
Bob Haley,
Abilene, Texas
January 10, 2008
I regret I could not be there to see Fezz. I admired Fezz from the day I meet him at Can Tho. I remember my first thought of him was, "He's got to be from California." He just looked the part. Fezz will be missed, He has just gone on to a larger mission. Good Bye Dave.
SFC Levi B. Saucedo Jr. USA Retired,
Sierra Vista, Arizona
January 10, 2008
As already stated, Dave, your job here is done and you have more than earned your place with God. You were a true friend and brother. You served your friends and country well through the military and community service as a brave warrior and fire fighter. You brought back together many of your combat brothers. Through your efforts you caused much needed healing and support for many. I/we will be forever grateful.
David Smith, CE, Darkhouse a/c 396 1972
David Smith,
Tehachapi, California
January 10, 2008
The Darkhorse is sure going to miss you taking care of us!
God be with you brother,
Darkhorse 1
Jim Adamson,
January 10, 2008
Dave, I will be ever grateful for your diligent work in finding me and getting me once again among my Darkhorse unit fellow solders. You will always be in my prayers and thoughts and I salute your inspired and dedicated service to our great country and your community. Rest easy my friend!
Frank (Outcast 2) Barolet,
Heidelberg, Germany
January 10, 2008
Dave, Rest in pease your work here is finished and you will be missed.
Darkhorse 11
Vic Wisser,
Raleigh, North Carolina
January 10, 2008
January 10, 2008
Karen & Family
Very sorry for your loss. It was an honor to have known Fezz, he was a grear man. He will be missed tremendously, he has touched so many lives, we all loved him! God Bless. Sgt Mack.
Thomas McDevitt,
Wellington, Florida
January 10, 2008
I guess you, Dave, and my brother, Dave, will have a good time talking in eternity. Thanks for being a friend to him while my brother was here. Both brave men of war,(same unit) always doing the brave thing for someone else. You were a good man.
Douglas Decker,
Steilacoom, Washington
January 10, 2008
Rex Jones,
Lakewood, Washington
January 10, 2008
Glad to have had the honor of meeting you. You will be greatly missed but never forgotten. God Be With You Until We Meet Again.
C Co. 16th Air Cal Soc Trang 1970
Donald Miller,
Anderson, South Carolina
January 10, 2008
Dave accomplished positive life experiences after being exposed to mankind at our lowest levels. The book on his life may have closed but I would doubt it is entirely written, he started something that makes this CAV brother remember that there is a pinch of good in all you just have to dig deeper in some.
I will miss him and his perserverance to keep the memories alive. God bless and may the hereafter be all that we hope for.
John Hoyer,
Lyman, Washington
January 09, 2008
I only met you once David for a short time when visiting USA in October 2004. I thank you for the honour and privilege of this occasion and only wish we had been able to meet again.
Joanne McNamara,
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
January 09, 2008
Thanks Dave for all that you have accomplished, the friends you have made and the many that you served in a distinguished life amongst us. You have now moved on to a greater place where you will continue to shine. You will long be remembered. God Bless your family.
Warren R Acker,
Vidalia, Georgia
January 09, 2008
"Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell."
You touched so many lives, Dave, and left so many reasons for Karen and the girls to be proud of you.
Thanks for that final big hug at Fezzy Fest, and for bringing so many of us ARP's back together. We will always be in your debt.
Daryl Fisher,
West Sacramento, California
January 09, 2008
Rest easy Dave, we'll meet again in Fiddlers Green. Have a cold one ready for me.

Larry Eads
335th AHC "Cowboys"
Larry Eads,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
January 09, 2008
Dave and Karen,
A couple of years ago I received a letter from "Darkhorse", Dave Fesmire. I didn't know who Dave was but the name Darkhorse I remembered. I hadn't heard it in 35 years. It took me awhile but I answered Dave's letter. The rest as they say "is history". Dave is responsible for bringing me "home"- a debt I will never be able to repay. I finally met Dave in Phoenix. With the hugs and tears I knew I had just met a very special man, friend forever, not just because of Darkhorse but because of Dave.
Karen- I know Dave could not have accomplished what he did without you and you're support. You're one Very Special Lady. Thank You for sharing Dave with us.