What impressed me most about Dave Von Tersch was his dedication and loyalty to fellow veterans, friends, and the members of the community. Dave’s commitment to and passion for the Ahwatukee American Legion Post 64, where he was an active member since 2013, was evident in the long list of volunteer roles and leadership positions he held.
Dave helped to organize and support so many important events including ceremonies for Flag Day, 4th of July, Memorial and Veterans Day, the spring Easter Parade, Evolution of the Flag, the annual Winterfest and Color Guard and Honor Guard for countless school, community and funeral events. He also assisted in the installation and dedication of the new flagpole and flags at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center (ARC).
Dave was a true servant leader who could be counted on to lend a helping hand and served as the Post 64 Sergeant at Arms for many years.
I first met Dave when he was the Color Guard Commander in 2018 and greatly appreciated how he enthusiastically led us with strong and confident “forward, march” “column left, march”, “right face”, “present arms” commands. He was serious and earnest when it came to proper flag protocol and etiquette and took to heart the solemn and crucial obligation to honor and respect our fallen comrades.
Another vivid memory I have of Dave Von Tersch is from Flag Day 2019 when he bravely and tirelessly endured extreme heat and large flames to ensure the proper disposal of unserviceable US flags. This was the first time I had ever witnessed such a ceremony and I was in awe of Dave’s strength, commitment, and respect for our nation’s banner.
On a personal level, Dave was born in Sioux City, Iowa and was one of eight kids. He had a twin sister and his childhood nickname was Dutch. Dave married the love of his life, Jean (Jeannie) and they spent 22 wonderful years together before she passed from Alzheimer’s. He is survived by his two daughters, Lara Clagett and Stephanie Jones, step children Shirley Archuletta, Darci Strang and Toby Ellis, his sister Jeanette (Nettie) Graham, and three brothers, Sid, Tim and James Von Tersch.
Dave loved to dance, play cards, and tell silly jokes. He could often be found dancing up a storm at the many Winterfest and Oktoberfest events at the ARC!
From May 1970 to May 1976 Dave served on Active Duty in the US Navy and achieved the rank of Petty Officer Second Class (E-5) Machinist Mate. He received the Silver Dolphins badge and served on the USS Sunfish SSN-649, a Sturgeon-Class Nuclear Attack Submarine.
After his six years in the Navy, Dave worked thirty years in technical positions such as Test Engineer supporting Agilent 3070 In-Circuit and Takaya 94xx Flying Probe test systems.
Dave was a proud military Veteran and enjoyed serving his community.
In April 2022, Dave attended his last Spring Easter Parade and proudly marched alongside the Post 64 Color Guard for a good portion of the route. Dave was a strong man who took his responsibilities and obligations seriously. He kept active for as long as he was able and he never quit. His fortitude was unfaltering.
Dave Von Tersch embodied the mission and values of the American Legion by continually advocating patriotism, honor, and duty to his fellow veterans. He was committed to selfless service to his friends, family, and community and will always be deeply respected by those who had the privilege of knowing him.
The US Navy motto is Not Self but Country (Non sibi sed patriae) and Dave certainly lived by these words.