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Heaven’s gates opened wide to welcome its faithful servant, David C. Hafer, 88, of Wilawana Rd., Sayre, Pa., on March 29, 2021. He was greeted by his beloved daughter, Carol Hafer Amark, who went to be with the Lord in 2008.

Born in Woodward Township in Linden, Pa., on April 15, 1932 to Harry and Bessie Gilbert Hafer, David grew up on the family farm where he learned the importance of hard work. As a child, he attended a one-room schoolhouse at Forest Glen, Lycoming County. Upon graduation from Williamsport High School in 1950, David began employment with Hurr’s Dairy as a milk processor and then moved on to become a milk tester for Lycoming County.

In 1953, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed aboard the USS Mississippi, whose mission was conducting top secret experiments with guided terrier missiles off the coast of Norfolk, Va. It was while on leave from the service that he met Doris Gibson, the woman who would become his wife. The couple was married on June 5, 1954 and were looking forward to celebrating their 67th anniversary this year.

David left military life in 1956 and settled in Jersey Shore, Pa., to raise his family. While employed with Piper Aircraft in nearby Lock Haven, he attended evening classes in drafting and tool design at Williamsport Technical Institute. He and his family moved to the Valley in May 1962 when he accepted a job as tool designer at the Athens Ingersoll Rand plant. He continued his education at Elmira College, earning his Associate Degree in Applied Sciences in 1973. Dave retired from the IR in 1991 after nearly 30 years of service.

A devout Christian, Dave was a longtime member of Wilawana United Methodist Church, where he served in many leadership roles, including Board of Trustees, Church Council (past president), Lay speaker, and Pastor Parish Relations Committee. He was a daily reader of his Bible and other devotional literature.

An avid hunter, Dave especially enjoyed his expeditions to Colorado for mule deer and elk and to Hudson Valley, Ontario, Canada, where he and his son hunted caribou. Dave shared his love of the sport with area youth. Training future hunters in firearm safety, sportsmanship, and ethics, Dave volunteered as a Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Hunter/Trapper Education instructor for nearly 50 years. He was also instrumental in developing programs for young hunters and coached competitive shooters in the IR Junior Rifle League and Valley Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). His YHEC squads garnered many state and national individual and team titles. Hundreds of area sportsmen can attribute their knowledge of safe firearm usage to his tutelage. David was a proud supporter and member of the National Rifle Association and held memberships in Sayre and Towanda Sportsmen Clubs. He attained his Federal Firearms License (FFL) and, until his death, was owner and operator of Hafer’s Gun and Ammo Shop.

Serving one’s community was instilled in Dave at an early age, and as he once stated, “Helping those in need is part of my nature.” David was a Charter Member of the Athens Township Volunteer Fire Company and served as Fire Chief in 1983. He was also honored as a founding member of the Athens Township Parks and Recreation Committee, having resigned in 2020 after 52 years of service. As a result of his military service to his country, Dave was a proud lifetime member of the Marine Corps League in Towanda where he also assumed chaplain duties.

When he wasn’t busy serving others, Dave enjoyed solving puzzles, especially Sudoku, watching Jeopardy, attending gun shows, working in his fields, and making apple butter with his family. Camping was also a favorite pastime, and he and his family were members of the former Roundtop Camping Club. He and his wife were also past square dancers with the Penny Promenaders. In his earlier years, he was a competitive Bridge player.

In addition to his parents and daughter, Carol, Dave was preceded in death by a sister Sarah Jane Metzger, and brother Robert Hafer, both of Salladasburg, Pa.

Surviving are his beloved wife, Doris, sister, Margaret Drayer of New Jersey, a son, Duane Hafer (Laurie) of Sayre and a daughter, Lucinda Mack (Terry) of Waverly, four granddaughters: Mallory Hafer Sample (Brent), Morgan Hafer Lucente (John), Meredith and Mackenzie Hafer; and two great-grandchildren, Rhett and Delilah Sample.

A period of visitation will be held on Monday, April 5, 2021 from 1-3 p.m. at the Lowery-Urban Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 225 South Main St., Athens, Pa. Funeral services will follow at the funeral home at 3 p.m. with CLM Virginia Pantle officiating. All COVID-19 precautions will be strictly observed.

Burial will be in the Hanlon Hill Cemetery, Gillett, Pa.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in David’s memory to Wilawana United Methodist Church, 1192 Wilawana Road, Sayre, PA 18840 in care of Pamela Secrist, or to the Valley YHEC, P.O. Box 156, Rome, PA 18837.

For those wishing to sign the e-guestbook, or send condolences, you may do so by visiting www.loweryfuneralhome.com.