David Ray Van Cleave, 59, passed away peacefully after an extended illness, on September 25, 2020 just two months after he lost his loving wife, Debbie Bruce Van Cleave. David was born on November 17, 1960 to Dennis and Lois Van Cleave in Three Rivers, Tx. He graduated in 1979 from Flour Bluff High School. He married Debbie Bruce on June 4, 1983. He was a doting father to their only daughter, Darla Raye Van Cleave.
David was hired at Valero Refinery in 1981 and moved up to become Area Superintendent of Operations before he had to leave work due to a massive stroke on July 28, 2010. David was well-liked and well-respected by his co-workers. He was a very hard worker, a quiet leader and a loyal employee. He retired on June 1, 2020 with 39 years of service.
Since David's stroke, his wife, Debbie, took excellent care of him all day, every day. Their daughter, Darla, was by his side every step of the way as well. It was amazing to see them care for him, meeting every one of his needs. They were a true testament to how a family cares for one another and how to love unconditionally. Unfortunately, as time passed, David had more and more complications from his stroke. He was unable to speak so he would communicate with a smile or a thumbs up and sometimes we even got a thumbs down. Nonetheless, he could usually get his point across.
His loving wife and caretaker, Debbie, was diagnosed with cancer in October 2018. David cried when Debbie told him the news of what she would be facing. He understood everything but was unable to speak his feelings but his tears spoke volumes. He couldn't bare to think of the inevitable pain and suffering that was to come but mostly, he couldn't imagine his life without her. So he held on knowing that Debbie needed his strength despite his failing health. Debbie came home from treatments to David everyday which is what kept her going. This is the kind of man David has always been. He always put others first. He was a loving husband and father, a great provider, he was tough as nails yet had a heart of gold and he would give anyone the shirt off his back. That was David. He was so loved by his family and friends and he will never be forgotten.
David and Debbie were due to be first time grandparents this December 2020. Their daughter, Darla gave this gift of a granddaughter to her parents. She will be named Davina Rhea after her grandfather. Sadly, neither one will ever meet her here on earth but they will have a front row seat to watch over her and we will all make sure that Davina knows her grandparents and what special people they were.
After Debbie's passing on July 25, 2020, David was diagnosed with cancer and treatment wasn't an option. His health declined rapidly but Darla picked up right where her mom left off and took wonderful care of him. There is no doubt that she made her mom very proud as she watched from above. David lost his long battle of health issues at home surrounded by his loved ones exactly 2 months after he lost his loving wife. They are now together again, free of pain, watching over their loved ones.
David was preceded in death by his loving wife, Debbie Bruce Van Cleave; his father Dennis Van Cleave; his brother Dennis Van Cleave and his sister, Dena Van Cleave.
He is survived by his daughter, Darla Van Cleave; future granddaughter, Davina; his in-laws: Billy and Connie Bruce; his sisters-in-law Tammy (Pat) Copeland and Sharon Bruce, all of Three Rivers. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews who loved him dearly; Matthew (Elle) Muniz, Logan Muniz, Lorissa Seal, Kristen (Cody) Ruiz, Ryan (Samantha Tadlock) Saenz, Alexis Saenz, Tara (Robbie) Stephenson, Ashley Thomas, Lyssa Van Cleave and Joe Arzola, and Mallori (Dason) Osmond; numerous great-nieces and nephews as well as many cousins. David also had some very special friends, Maria, Regina, and Billy, who became a part of our family. We cannnot thank them enough for being so good to David. We would also like to thank Christina and Exclusive Hospice for their extra special care of David.
A sunset service was held at the Simmons Cemetery on Friday, October 2, 2020, at 6:30 PM.
Under the direction of Roberson Funeral Home, Three Rivers.