David W. Middleton

03/14/1914 — 08/24/2005

From Richland, WA, US | Born in Eagle Grove, Iowa

David W. Middleton

David William Middleton passed away Wednesday, August 24, 2005 at Kadlec Medical Center.

David was born March 14, 1914 in Eagle Grove, Iowa and was the oldest of four sons born to Guy and Hettie Warnes Middleton. The family farmed in the Troy Township area where David’s great-great-grandparents homesteaded in 1855. After spending his youth working the family farm, David put himself through college and graduated from Iowa State University in 1937 with a degree in physics.

The economic hard times led him to the career in high school teaching. He began in Truro, IA teaching science and coaching baseball and basketball. He then moved to Bondurant, IA where he was Principal, science teacher, and basketball coach. Though the hours were long, he established a relationship with the young Home Economics teacher, Helen Jeannette Midgorden, which would last through 64 years of marriage.

David pursued his interest in aviation as a Civil Air Patrol instructor during World War II and obtained his private pilot’s license after moving to Washington State in 1944. He worked at Boeing and then at the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington until the war ended. David and Helen moved to Wapato, WA in 1945 where they raised their two children, John William Middleton and Julia Ann McClelland.

David taught physics, chemistry, and photography at Wapato High School from 1945 until he retired in 1976. He was so well respected as a science teacher that parents who had been his early students expressed gratitude when their children could take his courses. David and Helen moved to Richland in 1998 to be near their daughter Julie.

During the 1950’s David designed the family home and built it with family labor over several summer vacations. This forced him to learn multiple building trades but he was never hesitant to pick up new skills. The home on Aster Lane with its swimming pool and acre of flowers, vegetable gardens, and lawn was a favorite destination for his six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

David worked with Cub and Boy Scouts in Wapato. After retirement, he volunteered with Meals on Wheels and was a SHIBA counselor. He became an avid weaver and builder of looms with which he and Helen created clothing and household items which are much treasured by the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Tri-Cities Chaplaincy or Richland Meals on Wheels.

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David W. Middleton

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  • I wish to express my condolences to the family.

    I was a physics student for the 1952-1953 school year at Wapato High School with Mr Middleton as the teacher. I will always remember him as a kind & helpful teacher, one of the few I truly liked.

    Over the years I have often thought of him. His physics class essentially set me up for my lifes work, an electrical engineer for the Boeing Co. for 36 years.

    I am very pleased that the family shared his life’s story. It all fits with the fine fellow I always believed him to be.

    Lloyd L Crabtree
    November 4, 2014
    Cowiche, WA, US
  • My Grandfather was a great man. Always quick with humor and whit that kept him young and spirited at heart. I will cherish the memories of him even until this final battle, where his remarks made everyone laugh and cry at the same time.

    My best memories of him are from the home in Wapato where we would visit. He was always in the yard working on one thing or another and eager to teach us new things.

    His thoughts will forever be in my mind and he will always be missed.

    Love always,

    Kerri McClelland

    Kerri McClelland
    November 4, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ, US
  • I didn’t identify myself when completing the memorial message which included the informtion that David and I began teaching in Wapato at the same 9/45 time. Memorial greetings extended from all members of the Yakima County School Retirees’Association of which he and Helen were both members. L.B.

    Lois Brown
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • David and I began teaching at Wapato at the same 9/45 time. Even though I married and moved on to teach in Yakima, our paths crossed several times, mostly at the reunions of the Wapato class of ’49. I admired David as a science teacher, and I’m sorry for news of his death.

    Wa.Co. School Emp. Assn
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • So sorry to hear about Mr. Middleton passing away. He was a science and physics teacher in Wapato when I knew him. I still remember very fondly the physics class that he taught in 1973-1974. It was one of the hardest classes that I attended in high school. Mr Middleton made the course even more interesting to me – and I’m sure to my classmates as well. He had a great sense of humor – putting up with us young kids, and was always ready to share his knowledge and experience. I thoroughly enjoyed his class as I did Mrs Middleton’s class too and appreciated his efforts that went into his teaching. He truly cared about his students and had a desire to see us learn. He will be missed I’m sure by all who knew him.

    Paul Merz
    November 4, 2014
    Wapato, WA, US
  • Dave was a wonderful, intelligent, and hard-working inspiration for a grandfather. I will never forget the wonderful visits to their home in Wapato with the huge garden, home to many vegitables, flowers, and trees of all sorts. Always a teacher, and a good one at that, grandpa was quick to give advice and see us achieve our goals. It is clear he is my dad’s father :

    Grandpa lives on in many ways, the most powerful of which are the memories that continue to guide us and bring smiles to our faces.

    All my love,

    Maren Middleton

    Maren Middleton
    November 4, 2014
    Walnut, Creek, CA, US
  • I have such rich memories of my father throughout my childhood; then of my Dad loving, teaching and playing with my children and grandchildren; and in the last few years, of moving to Richland where I could help him and Mom out more I think he helped me more than I helped him. He was a true life long learner. His doctor was amazed at his level of mentation even as his heart fought to continue life . Dad asked the ICU nurses to swing his bed around so he could see the monitors everyone was watching and asked to have it all explained to him. How blessed we all were to have this man in our lives for as long as we did and that he was aware and able to visit with us to the end of his earthly life. I’m so thankful that my last memory of my Dad will be of sharing endearments with him. He was truly a dignified, gracious, special man and he is missed greatly. Dad, I know you are in the arms of the Almighty and are seeing and learning much greater things now. I love you. Julie

    Julie Middleton McClelland
    November 4, 2014
    Anthem, AZ, US
  • I was very sorry to read about Mr. Middleton’s passing.

    He was one of the most influential teachers that I had through out my life. I very much enjoyed the classes that I attended, but it was only after I had moved on to college and my career that I realized how much I had learned from this wise and patient man.

    I know that he will be missed by all who where lucky enough to know him.

    Lynnell Brandt
    November 4, 2014
    Wapato, WA, US
  • As we lived in the midwest, I first met Dave & Helen at Midgorden family gatherings in Iowa. However, through the years we had the opportunity to get better aquainted–with a few visits to each other’s homes.

    I learned to appreciate his dry wit and to listen when he talked, because one could learn something. I know of his love because of how he lived his life–helping others, caring for their children, sharing home tasks, and later giving support to his dear wife, Helen.

    It is difficult to think that we won’t see his wry smile & twinkling eyes when his humor showed, be I’m thankful to have shared even the little time I had to know Dave. Like the rest who knew Dave, I treasure his memory.

    Judy & John Midgorden
    November 4, 2014
    Castroville, CA, US
  • We were saddened to hear of the passing of Uncle Dave. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family.

    My memories of Uncle Dave are punctuated by his dry wit and unassuming smile. He did not seem prone to flamboyant expressions of affection, but I always knew he had a deep caring for friends and family, extending to our human family. There was an everpresent purposefulness to his being that seemed “in the moment” and rarely got frustrated, at least from my brief time in his presence.

    Lucinda and I feel blessed to have had what little contact we did have with him and will always remember the light he brought to the world.

    Barry Midgorden
    November 4, 2014
    Sierra, Vista, AZ, US
  • Mr. Middleton was my WHS chemistry and physics teacher, and I remember those days fondly. His quiet demeanor and dry wit facilitated our learning. He was the logical and rational person I would expect to live to 91! I remember Helen, too. They were fine people, a sentiment shared by my mother, Mabel, another Wapato teacher. Tom Heuterman, WHS class of 1952

    Tom Heuterman
    November 4, 2014
    Mount, Vernon,, WA, 98273, US
  • I was saddened to hear of your loss and my heart goes out to you. I have fond memories as children and spending time in your home. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sending along a hug! Janet Sherbahn/Smith

    JANET M. SHERBAHN/SMITH
    November 4, 2014
    TACOMA, WA, US
  • With deep sympathy to his family I share the passing of my wise and wonderful teacher. I took all of his classes at Wapato High and learned more than he or I realized. He gave me the basics to become Professor of Microbiology and Chair of Biology at CSU, Northridge. I have used the chemistry and physics, and I have never forgotten his message in my senior yearbook: “Congratulations. Your vacation is over. Good luck. D.W. Middleton” In our last conversation in 1996, he discussed recombinant DNA techniques and applications with me. He was both teacher and inquirer his entire life. He was the best! Thank you and godspeed, Mr. Middleton. Nancy Bishop

    Nancy Horschel Bishop, Ph.D.
    November 4, 2014
    Camarillo, CA, US
  • My Son Don & I had Mr Middleton as a teacher @ Wapato. He was the most influential instructor we both had. I thank him for all his efforts with me in chemistry, physics, and photography and all the support he gave us in sports. He was by far Don’s favorite teacher. Please extend our condolences to Helen and the family. He will always be missed. Ted, June and Don Cummings

    Ted&Don Cummings
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • David Middleton was one of my best and favorite high school teachers. I took all of the science classes offered which he taught. I appreciate things I learned to this day.

    Through the years I returned to Wapato to visit family. It was always good to see the Middletons on those visits.

    I join in celebrating the life of David Middleton, one well lived and one who modeled servanthood.

    Margaret Wilson Clark
    November 4, 2014
    Spokane,, WA, WA, US
  • Both Norm and I enjoyed a year of high school Chemistry under Mr. Middleton 1959-1960. Norm remarked that after high school chemistry with Mr. Middleton chemistry at WSU was easy. He was a great teacher and role model for young people. We are honored to have known him and share your grief in his passing from this life. God Bless your families.

    Norm & Kathy Lynch Hilbert
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • I wish to express my condolences to the family.

    I was a physics student for the 1952-1953 school year at Wapato High School with Mr Middleton as the teacher. I will always remember him as a kind & helpful teacher, one of the few I truly liked.

    Over the years I have often thought of him. His physics class essentially set me up for my lifes work, an electrical engineer for the Boeing Co. for 36 years.

    I am very pleased that the family shared his life’s story. It all fits with the fine fellow I always believed him to be.

    Lloyd L Crabtree
    November 4, 2014
    Cowiche, WA, US
  • My Grandfather was a great man. Always quick with humor and whit that kept him young and spirited at heart. I will cherish the memories of him even until this final battle, where his remarks made everyone laugh and cry at the same time.

    My best memories of him are from the home in Wapato where we would visit. He was always in the yard working on one thing or another and eager to teach us new things.

    His thoughts will forever be in my mind and he will always be missed.

    Love always,

    Kerri McClelland

    Kerri McClelland
    November 4, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ, US
  • I didn’t identify myself when completing the memorial message which included the informtion that David and I began teaching in Wapato at the same 9/45 time. Memorial greetings extended from all members of the Yakima County School Retirees’Association of which he and Helen were both members. L.B.

    Lois Brown
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • David and I began teaching at Wapato at the same 9/45 time. Even though I married and moved on to teach in Yakima, our paths crossed several times, mostly at the reunions of the Wapato class of ’49. I admired David as a science teacher, and I’m sorry for news of his death.

    Wa.Co. School Emp. Assn
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • So sorry to hear about Mr. Middleton passing away. He was a science and physics teacher in Wapato when I knew him. I still remember very fondly the physics class that he taught in 1973-1974. It was one of the hardest classes that I attended in high school. Mr Middleton made the course even more interesting to me – and I’m sure to my classmates as well. He had a great sense of humor – putting up with us young kids, and was always ready to share his knowledge and experience. I thoroughly enjoyed his class as I did Mrs Middleton’s class too and appreciated his efforts that went into his teaching. He truly cared about his students and had a desire to see us learn. He will be missed I’m sure by all who knew him.

    Paul Merz
    November 4, 2014
    Wapato, WA, US
  • Dave was a wonderful, intelligent, and hard-working inspiration for a grandfather. I will never forget the wonderful visits to their home in Wapato with the huge garden, home to many vegitables, flowers, and trees of all sorts. Always a teacher, and a good one at that, grandpa was quick to give advice and see us achieve our goals. It is clear he is my dad’s father :

    Grandpa lives on in many ways, the most powerful of which are the memories that continue to guide us and bring smiles to our faces.

    All my love,

    Maren Middleton

    Maren Middleton
    November 4, 2014
    Walnut, Creek, CA, US
  • I have such rich memories of my father throughout my childhood; then of my Dad loving, teaching and playing with my children and grandchildren; and in the last few years, of moving to Richland where I could help him and Mom out more I think he helped me more than I helped him. He was a true life long learner. His doctor was amazed at his level of mentation even as his heart fought to continue life . Dad asked the ICU nurses to swing his bed around so he could see the monitors everyone was watching and asked to have it all explained to him. How blessed we all were to have this man in our lives for as long as we did and that he was aware and able to visit with us to the end of his earthly life. I’m so thankful that my last memory of my Dad will be of sharing endearments with him. He was truly a dignified, gracious, special man and he is missed greatly. Dad, I know you are in the arms of the Almighty and are seeing and learning much greater things now. I love you. Julie

    Julie Middleton McClelland
    November 4, 2014
    Anthem, AZ, US
  • I was very sorry to read about Mr. Middleton’s passing.

    He was one of the most influential teachers that I had through out my life. I very much enjoyed the classes that I attended, but it was only after I had moved on to college and my career that I realized how much I had learned from this wise and patient man.

    I know that he will be missed by all who where lucky enough to know him.

    Lynnell Brandt
    November 4, 2014
    Wapato, WA, US
  • As we lived in the midwest, I first met Dave & Helen at Midgorden family gatherings in Iowa. However, through the years we had the opportunity to get better aquainted–with a few visits to each other’s homes.

    I learned to appreciate his dry wit and to listen when he talked, because one could learn something. I know of his love because of how he lived his life–helping others, caring for their children, sharing home tasks, and later giving support to his dear wife, Helen.

    It is difficult to think that we won’t see his wry smile & twinkling eyes when his humor showed, be I’m thankful to have shared even the little time I had to know Dave. Like the rest who knew Dave, I treasure his memory.

    Judy & John Midgorden
    November 4, 2014
    Castroville, CA, US
  • We were saddened to hear of the passing of Uncle Dave. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family.

    My memories of Uncle Dave are punctuated by his dry wit and unassuming smile. He did not seem prone to flamboyant expressions of affection, but I always knew he had a deep caring for friends and family, extending to our human family. There was an everpresent purposefulness to his being that seemed “in the moment” and rarely got frustrated, at least from my brief time in his presence.

    Lucinda and I feel blessed to have had what little contact we did have with him and will always remember the light he brought to the world.

    Barry Midgorden
    November 4, 2014
    Sierra, Vista, AZ, US
  • Mr. Middleton was my WHS chemistry and physics teacher, and I remember those days fondly. His quiet demeanor and dry wit facilitated our learning. He was the logical and rational person I would expect to live to 91! I remember Helen, too. They were fine people, a sentiment shared by my mother, Mabel, another Wapato teacher. Tom Heuterman, WHS class of 1952

    Tom Heuterman
    November 4, 2014
    Mount, Vernon,, WA, 98273, US
  • I was saddened to hear of your loss and my heart goes out to you. I have fond memories as children and spending time in your home. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sending along a hug! Janet Sherbahn/Smith

    JANET M. SHERBAHN/SMITH
    November 4, 2014
    TACOMA, WA, US
  • With deep sympathy to his family I share the passing of my wise and wonderful teacher. I took all of his classes at Wapato High and learned more than he or I realized. He gave me the basics to become Professor of Microbiology and Chair of Biology at CSU, Northridge. I have used the chemistry and physics, and I have never forgotten his message in my senior yearbook: “Congratulations. Your vacation is over. Good luck. D.W. Middleton” In our last conversation in 1996, he discussed recombinant DNA techniques and applications with me. He was both teacher and inquirer his entire life. He was the best! Thank you and godspeed, Mr. Middleton. Nancy Bishop

    Nancy Horschel Bishop, Ph.D.
    November 4, 2014
    Camarillo, CA, US
  • My Son Don & I had Mr Middleton as a teacher @ Wapato. He was the most influential instructor we both had. I thank him for all his efforts with me in chemistry, physics, and photography and all the support he gave us in sports. He was by far Don’s favorite teacher. Please extend our condolences to Helen and the family. He will always be missed. Ted, June and Don Cummings

    Ted&Don Cummings
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • David Middleton was one of my best and favorite high school teachers. I took all of the science classes offered which he taught. I appreciate things I learned to this day.

    Through the years I returned to Wapato to visit family. It was always good to see the Middletons on those visits.

    I join in celebrating the life of David Middleton, one well lived and one who modeled servanthood.

    Margaret Wilson Clark
    November 4, 2014
    Spokane,, WA, WA, US
  • Both Norm and I enjoyed a year of high school Chemistry under Mr. Middleton 1959-1960. Norm remarked that after high school chemistry with Mr. Middleton chemistry at WSU was easy. He was a great teacher and role model for young people. We are honored to have known him and share your grief in his passing from this life. God Bless your families.

    Norm & Kathy Lynch Hilbert
    November 4, 2014
    Yakima, WA, US
  • Our deepest sympathy to the family of this wonderful person.How well we remember his dedication to anything he worked at. His sense of humor was always remarkable.

    Al & Helen Hanson
    November 4, 2014
    Shelton, WA, US