David “Dave” Ireland passed away on Friday, December 27, 2019. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Frances P. “Polly” (Whitfield) Ireland; brother, Bill Ireland; daughter, Terri (Ireland) Long; grandchildren, Austin, Sara and Jennifer; great-granddaughter, Olivia; many nieces, nephews, family and friends. Dave was preceded in death by his brother, Anthony Ireland, and daughter, Paula Jo (Ireland) Flowers.
Dave was born August 9, 1936, to the late Christina Ireland and Noble H. Ireland, the oldest of what would be three boys. Dave spent his childhood in Hapeville, Georgia, and his family moved to Fort Walton Beach, FL, in 1951. Dave attended Choctawhatchee High School where he played football and baseball. After high school, Dave joined the Navy and served as a radio operator. His stories of his time in the Navy would entertain family and friends for years to come. After his time in the Navy, Dave attended the University of Florida. He loved his time at UF and remained an avid Florida “Gator” fan throughout his life. Dave met his future brother-in-law, Jim Whitfield, while working with Federal Electric. Jim brought Dave home to Barrydale, FL, where he first met his wife, Polly. Polly and Dave married and settled in Valparaiso, FL, where Dave worked for the United States Postal Service as a walking mail carrier and retired as a Postal Supervisor.
Dave and Polly had two daughters, Terri and Paula Jo. Dave worked with young people and served as a deacon at First Baptist Church in Valparaiso for over 35 years. He had a green thumb and a passion for nature and nurturing and growing his plants. He was a man of God, loving the Lord and lifting up His name for many years. Dave never met a stranger, he often would make friends in the most unlikely places and situations, leaving all those he met feeling better about themselves. He was gentle and kind, yet courageous and strong. Anyone who knew him was better for having known him. He was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather.
There will be a time for visitation on Tuesday, December 31, at 11:00AM at Heritage Gardens Funeral Home, 2201 Partin Drive, Niceville, FL 32578. The funeral service will begin at 12:00PM with interment to follow in Heritage Gardens Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Florida Baptist Children’s Home, P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802, will be appreciated.
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