David M. Arterburn

David M. Arterburn
David M. Arterburn

The world lost a legendary man last week.  Born on November 16, 1949, David passed away September 5, 2019 at the age of 69. In January of 2018, David was diagnosed with Mesothelioma – a cancer caused by asbestos exposure during his time in the Navy. David was an avid athlete, running his first of several marathons at the age of 52. A member of the DAV, David was a fighter; unfortunately, this was the one fight he just couldn’t win no matter how hard he tried, and we are all at a loss for it.

Loyal, kind, and always, ALWAYS cracking jokes – once you met David, you weren’t soon to forget him. Even though he traveled the world, his favorite place was his backyard in Amarillo, which he kept impeccable. David was a constant source of laughter and music; his passion for guitar and singing were only surpassed by his love for his one and only girl – Shirley Arterburn.

David met Shirley after returning from the Navy (68-72), and they married in May of 1975. It’s a good thing she liked a man in overalls, because he went to work for the BNSF Railroad for the next 36 years. He began as a Conductor, and before retiring in 2009 he served as Local Chairman and the Texas Assistant Legislative Director for the United Transportation Union. Although he was accomplished in work, his greatest pride came from his three children, Desiree, Dustin, and Katie -his two grandchildren, Daisy and Lilah – and his beloved dog Lilly Bean.

After retiring, David traded in his overalls for jean shorts and Texas Longhorn T-shirts, and he grew out his legendary beard and ponytail. And man, he could rock a good hat like no one else. You’d see David all over Amarillo, loving life and listening to live music. He’d most likely have a Ziegen Bock in hand, and if you went to snap his picture – he’d more than likely throw up the peace sign for you. David knew how to enjoy life, and his energy was infectious. In retirement, he began playing music with his friends, forming the band, “DryLand Dreamers” and had some of the best times in his life.

We won’t say goodbye, just “see ya later”. We know David is at peace exploring the universe with his mom, Delilah Arterburn, his dad William “Dub” Arterburn, and his brother Jimmy. And probably rocking out with Jim Croce or John Lennon.

As Lennon would say, “Count your age in friends not years. Count your life in smiles, not tears.”

Services for David will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 in Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel, 2800 Paramount Blvd in Amarillo, TX. Burial will be in Llano Cemetery.  David was such a colorful person, so colorful clothing is encouraged.

David is survived by his wife, Shirley, and three kids Desiree, Dustin, and Katie. Grandkids, Daisy and Lilah. His brothers Buddy and Tim. His dog Lilly Bean. And countless other friends and family that will miss him dearly.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in David’s name to the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center – one of David’s favorite places.


12 Replies to “David M. Arterburn”

  1. deeply saddened and taken back by the passing of David….we go back to the 70’s playing pool and drinking beer at the local taverns….Adolphs ,Ta Gota on 10 th street…dive bars on 15th to name a few…..we had too much fun
    David never met a stranger….so well liked by all

    I remember him meeting Shirley , his wife…..so taken by her….to say he loved his wife would be an absolute understatement / he was up side down over her / I always admired him for this trait / I wish I could of met his 3 children , now adults

    WOW ! I think to my self where has all the time gone….the time clock is ticking

    so unfortunate for him to leave us…..The SOUL RISES…..THE SPIRIT REMAINS…..my friend I wish you the very best on your new journey…..the heavens
    our paths will cross again one day…..until then GOD SPEED my friend
    Greg Williams (austin tx.)

  2. Katie,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God bless you all. We are here for you if you need us.

    Roger Hudson
    Ben E Keith

  3. I have known David since my brother and sister-in-laws wedding. What a marvelous guy – always thinking of others, always wanting to have fun. How often I have been entertained in his beloved backyard, nights that were so memorable. My prayers are with the family he has left behind. May your focus be on the so many wonderful memories that David has provided for so many of us. Christopher Senk

  4. Shirley, I know that you will miss David terribly. But he is healed now and will be watching over you and your family from up above.

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