In the News - Sul Ross receives $550,000 gift

For Release...February 12, 2013


Larry David (center), Orange, and Julie Lyons, Austin, present a check of more than $511,000 to Sul Ross President Ricardo Maestas.  The gift, from the estate of their uncle, the late Charles B. David, was part of nearly $550,000 bequeathed to the Charles B. David Scholarship Endowment at Sul Ross. (Photo by Steve Lang)



by Steve Lang, News and Publications

The announcement of the late Charles David’s nearly-$550,000 gift to Sul Ross State University stunned some of his Alpine acquaintances.

David (Dah-veed), described as a quiet, unassuming individual, died Aug. 23 at the age of 88 from complications due to viral pneumonia. In his will he bequeathed more than $1 million from his investment accounts to be distributed evenly to Sul Ross and Hillsdale (Mich.) College.

On Wednesday (Feb. 6) Charles David’s nephew, Larry David, Orange, and niece, Julie Lyons, Austin, presented a check for $511,152.89 to Sul Ross President Dr. Ricardo Maestas. Earlier, over $35,000 remaining in a brokerage account with Edward D. Jones had been given to the university.

Larry David – and later several Alpine area residents – remembered his uncle as a man who enjoyed pistol shooting, camping and hiking.

None suspected he was a millionaire. But as his bequests would indicate, Charles David also took a special – and generous – interest in creating higher education opportunities for students.

In 1991, Charles established the Floyd H. Neill, Jr. Scholarship Endowment at Sul Ross in honor of his longtime friend. That endowment has grown to more than $50,000. Twenty years later, he established the Charles B. David Scholarship Endowment that will receive the latest gifts. Interest from the endowments will be used for scholarships for deserving students.

"This money will benefit many of our students," Maestas said. "We’re very excited today to receive this gift....We deeply appreciate Mr. David’s loyalty to Sul Ross, even though he was not a graduate."

Larry David traced his uncle’s life, noting that although Charles was the valedictorian of his Orange High School graduating class, he was not particularly fond of college and left after three years. Charles served in the U.S. Army during World War II and worked for Houston Natural Gas until his retirement.

Charles David was born Nov. 25, 1923 to Mr. and Mrs. Julius H. David, Sr. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Roger Vernon David and Jules David, Jr.; his sister, Dorothy McGrory; and a nephew, Jim David. He is survived by his sister, Miriam Campbell, Novi, Mich., and 13 nieces and nephews.

Charles David moved to Alpine in the early 1980s and had a daily routine of walking one and one-half miles to McDonald’s for breakfast, stopping at numerous places on the way home and driving to Subway for lunch. He also served as a volunteer for the National Park Service and twice a month hiked the trail from the Fort Davis National Historic Site to Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park and back, a round trip of 10 miles. He monitored and maintained the trail, putting in over 3,500 volunteer hours for the NPS while hiking the round trip more than 300 times. In 1996, he was named the Fort Davis NHS Volunteer of the Year.

Larry David also read excerpts from his uncle’s hand-printed accounts of days on the hiking trail, including anecdotes about people he met, humorous moments, assistance rendered and even his own slip-and-fall. A story in a Fort Davis NHS newsletter praised Charles David’s willingness to help others and his joy of meeting people who enjoyed the outdoors.

"Uncle Charles was a unique individual," Larry David said. "I think he would be very proud of this occasion and is watching us today."

Evans Kott, now an Extension agent for Brewster, Presidio and Terrell counties, met Charles in Subway when she was a Sul Ross student. They ate lunch together several times a month and fashioned a friendship that would last a dozen years until his death.

"I loved hearing his stories," Kott said. "He really appreciated people who were nice to him and he was a nice man. He told me, ‘if girls like you who go to Sul Ross, you can’t go wrong.’

"He was one of my truest and best friends and he had no agenda at all," said Kott. "I never imagined he had a million dollars. He was a special person from that generation and I know he will be really happy that someones’ lives will be better because of him."

Jeff Blake, Sul Ross University Center and Campus Activities director and an Alpine neighbor for about five years, said, "he really inspired me to be more active."

Donna Smith, a ranger at Fort Davis NHS, called Charles "a pretty amazing person and a wonderful ambassador for us." She praised his dedication in maintaining the trails between the NHS and Davis Mountains State Park.

"I feel very honored to have known him," she said.

Eve Trook, an Alpine attorney and a longtime friend, cited "details that reflect the reality of the kindness of his spirit," and also noted his concern for Sul Ross students.

Leo Dominguez, in his capacity as associate vice president for Advancement and University Relations, met Charles David several years ago . David told him of his plans to leave some of his estate to Sul Ross.

"He said, ‘we’re not going to live forever and I want to help young people,’" Dominguez said, adding,

"Thank you very much on behalf of the university."

Roy Smith, retired professor of Industrial Technology, met David when he was first contemplating a move to Alpine. They became friends and Smith said he saw him nearly every day until David sustained a fall, was hospitalized and later succumbed to illness.

Smith noted that David had an extensive tool collection and loved repair work.

"Anything that was broken that he could find, he would fix," Smith said, adding a quote about judging a man by the tools he possessed.

According to Smith and others assembled for the check presentation, the quality of Charles David’s tool collection very positively reflected his human traits.