David E. Laird, age 87, of Whitefish, MT was called home by our Lord April 26, 2023. He was born April 19, 1936 in Bonita, LA to the late William Elmo Laird and Etta L. Laird (nee Armstrong). David lived in many cities and states throughout his life (more than 16 that we can recall) and was an avid fan of sports, always rooting for his newly adopted hometown heroes, unless it pertained to baseball. There was only one team in the MLB for him no matter where he lived; The St. Louis Cardinals. His beloved Cardinals occupied the 2nd top spot in his heart after Jesus Christ. He learned to love the Cardinals when “Stan the Man” Musial was hitting dingers in the early 40’s and in 1969 he had the serendipitous encounter of picking up a hitchhiking Ted Simmons, whose car broke down, and gave him a lift to the recently built Busch Stadium.
David answered God’s call to go into full-time ministry at the age of 17. Despite his father’s opinion that he would ‘starve to death’ in that vocation, David pushed forward graduating from SW Baptist College and Oklahoma Baptist University before entering his first full-time ministerial position at First Baptist Church in Rolla, MO in 1958. A family at the church owned a local diner and David ate there regularly, particularly for the coconut cream pie. He was introduced to the owner’s daughter, Janne and less than a year later they were married, securing free pie for David until the restaurant closed in 1973. Disappointed to learn that his new wife did not inherit her Mother’s pie making ability, he stuck with her anyway for the next 63 years, finding other things to deeply love about her. Together they had three daughters and many moves throughout the south as he completed his Masters in Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as well as in the midwest, trying never to stray too far from KMOX Cardinal Broadcasts.
David’s lifelong endeavor was to live his life in a manner that glorified God and pointed others to the saving grace found in Jesus Christ his Lord. He was a man who pursued integrity in every aspect of life and strove to be gentle and loving in every relationship he was blessed to have. He served in many churches, as well as the Illinois Baptist State Association in Springfield, IL and the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway) in Nashville, TN. He wore many hats as a minister but his passion was Christian Education and Sunday School. After retiring from full-time ministry he continued to teach Sunday School classes and bible studies in his local church, teaching his last class this past April 2.
Beside Jesus and Cardinal Baseball, David was passionate about cycling. He achieved many long bike rides with friends, daughters and his son-in-law. He completed innumerable “centuries”. A leisurely Saturday ride for him was 50 miles, with a piece of pie at the halfway point. He cycled in Nova Scotia, Scotland, The Netherlands and France. Last summer, at the age of 86, he bought an e-bike and cycled the Going-to-the-Sun Road and would have made it to the top if not for a fellow cycler’s malfunctioning bike. He loved music and especially loved to play the harmonica and Ukelele. His diminished hearing made these less enjoyable hobbies for his family with whom he lived. He had a dry, quirky sense humor which he unleashed on servers at his favorite restaurants, the staff at Big Mountain Chiropractic, as well as the nurses & doctors in ICU the last days of his life.
His family would like to extend their deep gratitude to the wonderful staff at Logan Health ICU in Kalispell for their incredibly skilled, patient, and kind care to David as he fought to recover and their loving compassion when he decided to go home to heaven. A special thanks to Trisha, Kendra, and Dr. Fessler.
David was predeceased in death by his parents and his sister, June Gooding. He is survived by wife his of 63 years, Janne Laird; daughters Alysen Dirks, Elizabeth Laird and Tracy Suhre (Todd); six grandchildren and spouses; two greatgrandchildren plus one on the way; and numerous nieces and nephews. He did a great job raising his family with love, kindness and respect and regardless of the prediction, we never did starve. He fought the good fight and finished well.
A celebration of David E. Laird’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 2, 2023 at North Valley Baptist Church, 1750 Talbot Rd, Columbia Falls, MT 59912. Family and friends may begin to visit on Tuesday starting at 10:00 a.m. Interment to follow services at Fairview Cemetery, 1225 Fairview Cemetery Road, Columbia Falls, MT 59912. To send online condolences, please visit www.columbiamortuary.com
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