Ret. SGT David Edward Estep, 59, formerly of Fort Drum

David Edward Estep, 59, of The Dalles, Oregon was taken to his final Permanent Change of Station on June 23, 2020.
David Edward Estep, 59, of The Dalles, Oregon was taken to his final Permanent Change of Station on June 23, 2020. (Source: Funeral Home)

THE DALLES, O.R. (WWNY) - Ret. SGT David Edward Estep, 42nd Infantry Division, Fort Drum, New York 1960 – 2020

David Edward Estep, 59, of The Dalles, Oregon was taken to his final Permanent Change of Station on June 23, 2020. He takes with him his faithful dog of fifteen years, Zoey, who decided Dave needed company and passed away the same day.

Dave was born August 20, 1960 in Ilion, New York. He was the middle child, and only boy of David and Charlotte Estep. Growing up with three sisters in a small New York town, Unadilla Forks, Dave needed to find an outlet, and with the help of Pete’s Garage in Leonardsville, New York, Dave started his automotive career at age 14.

After graduating from Mount Markham Central, Dave join the Army National Guard on October 1, 1985. He continued to use his automotive skills by taking a full time position with the Army National Guard as a Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic, at Fort Drum, New York. Working on Army vehicles and yes, M1 Tanks, a boys dream job, at least if you loved being a mechanic and a patriot. During Dave’s time with the Guard he served in Iraq from 2004-2005 and upon his return he received an honorable medical discharge on November 25, 2005. Dave was a true patriot and was proud of his military service.

Dave’s life really started when he met his soulmate and love of his life, the woman who would stand beside him through thick and thin, Jennifer. Dave made sure to stick around long enough to celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary on June 18, 2020. Dave actually managed to get a gift for Jennifer this year without her knowing, it only took him 31 years. Dave created great memories and stories for his beloved children, Justin and Brandy, and believe me when I say “Daddy’s Girl” was “Daddy’s Girl” when it came to Brandy. His son, Justin made him so proud by following in his footstep and joining the Army National Guard.

Dave was a true story teller and loved to talk, his wife would always ask him “Dave is this going to be a short story or a long one?” Not sure why she always asked him that question because no matter what she was there and was always listening.

Dave loved cars, he enjoyed spending most of his spare time working on cars, but more specifically, race cars. Two of the race cars he worked on and also was a member of their pit crew were Ted King and Todd VanTassel. Brett VanBrocklin’s dragster was another car Dave loved working on and he also became part of that pit crew too. Racing was Dave’s biggest hobby whether enjoying being part of a pit crew or just watching the races. NASCAR would have been lucky to have him, he was definitely one of their biggest fans.

Waiting on the other side to hold Dave’s hand and carry Zoey are his loving parents David and Charlotte Estep, his father-in-law, Fred Merritt and brother-n-law, Martin Merritt.

In addition to his wife, Jennifer, and his two children, son Justin (Mary LaTray), daughter Brandy, he is survived by his three sisters, Darleen (Frank) Husson, Doreen (Keith) Bellamy, Danelle (Derrick) LeBarge, brother-in-law’s', Robert (Jean) Merritt, Charles Merritt, John (Dianna) Merritt, Patrick Merritt and Paul (Christine) Merritt and several nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. He was their protector and faithful supporter. If you were in his circle, he would do anything to help you.

A graveside funeral will be held at Unadilla Forks, Cemetery located in Ostego County on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at twelve o’clock, post meridiem. Burial will be with full

military honors. Local Arrangements are with Johnson Funeral Home, Dexter. Online condolences may be sent to

Come help us celebrate this loving husband, father, brother, and friend at a celebration of life to be held at 309 Stone Street, Watertown, New York on July 4, 2020 at twelve o’clock, post meridiem.

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