David Rosser • March 14, 2022
David Jere Rosser, 87, former Navy aviator, retired fundraiser, and devoted Christian, died March 14, 2022, at home in Milton, Florida. He was born January 4, 1935, in Century, Florida, to Richmond Judson Rosser and Mabel Claire Rosser. He is survived by former spouses Dina Rosser Smith and Pat Canady; four children, Barbara Hyde (J.R. Hyde III) of Memphis; Jennie Achuthan (Ashoka) of Chicago; Michael Rosser (Jane) of Atlanta; and Kevin Rosser (Wendy) of Red Bank, California; 10 grandchildren, Susannah, Claire, and Alex Hyde; Arman and Nicholas Achuthan; Will, Brooks, and Elizabeth Rosser; and Kayla, Haley, and Quinn Rosser; and a sister, Judy Teutsch of Pensacola, Florida and her children, Theresa Ward and Wesley Teutsch, their children, and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his adopted daughter, Jan Jendrynski-Rosser.
His deep patriotism was rooted in World War II when he grew up in Pensacola and wherever his father’s Navy ship was docked along the East Coast from Maine to Florida. As a child, he sold war bonds and acted as head of the family while his father served as Chief Boatswains Mate. In 1953, he received an appointment by President Dwight Eisenhower to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he became the first person in his family to attend college and where he received a bachelor of science degree in engineering. Following graduation in 1957, he became a Naval Aviator as an attack pilot, flying A-4D fighter airplanes in Attack Squadron 155 off the USS Coral Sea, in the Pacific Ocean until 1962. His Navy years were a particularly happy chapter in his life. His Catholic education and his Eagle Scout badge had motivated him to set a goal for his life and to be the best that he could be. In keeping with the Navy March, his life’s foundation was “Faith, Courage, Service True, with Honor Over All.”
After his discharge from the Navy, he became a sales representative for Dupont Company (Wilmington, Delaware) from 1964-1970; the director of Medical Center Development for Emory University (Atlanta) in 1970-1972 where he established its first capital campaign; Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville) where he developed a comprehensive giving program; from 1978-1993, he was president of Morton Plant Hospital Foundation (Clearwater, Florida) which he led to become one of the top 10 hospital foundations in the U.S.; and from 1993-1997.
David was a devoted husband and a strong and loving father who enjoyed his children and revered his role in their lives. When he was 50 years old, he had a spiritual rebirth, which led to the recommitment of his life to Jesus Christ. As he deepened his faith, he became a serious and voracious reader of theological books and essays. Favorite Bible verses in Proverbs 31: 10-31 became his roadmap for the life of a righteous man: “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness…the way of the Lord is strength to the upright.” That strength led him to volunteer for multiple Christian ministries and serve as a Boy Scout Master. He and Pat were foster parents for two school-age children, Taylor and Shay, and mentored numerous teens.
His instructions for his homegoing service called for a “joyous occasion” because he will now be with God, Jesus, his parents, his adopted daughter Jan, and his pets. He also asked for the service to have a military tone because the Naval Academy was so important to his life. The Midshipman Prayer, a favorite of his, describes him well: “Give me the will to do my best and to accept my share of responsibilities with a strong heart and cheerful mind. Make me considerate of those entrusted to my leadership and faith to the duties my country has entrusted in me.”
Private graveside services with the Navy Color Guard will take place on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at Memorial Gardens in Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to any of the following organizations: Santa Rosa County Pet Shelter, Wounded Warrior Project, and the United States Naval Academy.
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