David Homan Ochander, 80, of Lake Isabella, Michigan, died Thursday, June 27, 2019 after complications arose from a head injury he suffered after a fall on June 7, 2019 in Bend, Oregon. He is survived by his loving wife, Kathleen (Larry) Ochander, son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Amy Ochander (Bend, Oregon), and daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Albert Apsitis of (Oscoda, Michigan), along with 4 grandsons, Noah and Austin Ochander, and Brendan and Alec Apsitis. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer B. and Marjorie (Homan) Ochander, his in-laws, Charles G. and Kathryn (Rogers) Larry and other aunts and uncles as well as his close first cousin, Jack Homan.
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David was born September 8, 1938 in California and adopted lovingly by Marjorie and Elmer Ochander who moved from the plains of Nebraska and Iowa to California for the entirety of David’s childhood in and around the Berkeley area. As a teenager, David traveled across the country with his Lutheran youth group to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he returned a few years later for his initial university-level study at Suomi College (now Finlandia), ultimately receiving his bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University. After his college graduation, David remained in Michigan to work and eventually moved to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to further his education where he met and married his beloved wife, Kathy (Larry) Ochander originally from Ithaca, Michigan in 1967. The couple adopted Scott in 1972 and gave birth to Kimberly in 1973 and celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary on June 11, 2019. David and Kathy lived in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for 30 years before moving to Lake Isabella, Michigan in 1998.
David began his career teaching in Roscommon for two years before coming to Central Michigan University (CMU) to pursue his master’s degree in media services. He then taught in two Detroit area school districts before finding his career home as a leader and educator for the Mt. Pleasant Public Schools. During his three decades of service, David served the district as an administrator and pioneer in the onboarding of personal computer and multi-media technologies. He also continued his studies at CMU earning his specialist degree (Ed.S) in administration. Before retiring from MPPS in 1995, he served as an assistant principal for both Mt. Pleasant High School and West Intermediate. He then supervised student teachers for CMU for a few years until Kathy retired.
David enjoyed golf and loved to play with friends in weekly leagues and day trips. Throughout his life, he was known as a hard worker and collector of things and was quite often found working on various projects around the house. He was very curious and discerning person and liked to search for information about a topic that he was particularly interested in or felt others would benefit from. He would often become the master of a particular subject matter and share his newfound knowledge with his friends, family or colleagues which they found endearing.
Throughout his life, David enjoyed traveling and did so extensively. He had a passion for the mountain west, particularly Yellowstone Park and the Grand Tetons to which he traveled numerous times with his family by car in route to visit his parents in Hemet, CA during the school summer breaks. In recent years, he and Kathy frequently cruised taking trips to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Alaska, Hawaii, Northern Europe, Germany as well as Australia and New Zealand. He also enjoyed spending the winter season in Fort Myers, Florida as well as making frequent trips to visit his children and grandchildren where he particularly enjoyed attending musical performances and sporting events.
David deeply loved his friends and relished in the times he spent with them. He had an active sense of humor and showed his love and compassion with others through his sharing of knowledge. His ultimate superpower was his ability to be a true champion to those he cared for. He rooted for and invested his strength into his family and friends with quiet passion and celebrated their successes big and small.
A celebration of life service is planned at 12:00 PM on Saturday, August 3, 2019 at Clark Family Funeral Chapel in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, with Deacon Jim Damitio officiating. A luncheon will follow in the Reflections Reception Center. The family will receive friends from 10 AM until the time of service. Any honorarium or memorial wishes can be directed towards Mackinac Associates Educational Fund, P.O. Box 567, Mackinaw City, MI 49701-9987 or mackinacassociates.com/donate. Envelopes will be available at the funeral chapel.
A special thank you to the medical team at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon who provided their expertise and care for David during his final weeks.