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Proudly Serving the South Branch Valley Since 1969

David Lee Ohman

David Lee Ohman died of cancer in Purgitsville, WV, on Friday, April 8, 2022. He was 68 years old. He is survived by his son, Glenn Carl Ohman II of Salem, OR; his daughter, Olivia Ohman of Libertyville, IL; his fiancé, Maggie Baker of Purgitsville, WV; his brother, Lance Ohman of Claire, IL; his sister, Jill Ohman Hillner of Waterford, WI; and the mother of his children, Wendy Ohman of Libertyville, IL. Dave was born on October 2, 1953, and grew up in Deerfield Illinois, which is a northern suburb of Chicago. He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Betty Lorraine Muhlke Ohman and Glenn Carl Ohman; and, his grandparents, Dorothy and Harry Muhlke.

Dave graduated from Deerfield High School in 1971, where he was a track team standout in varsity shot put and discus events. In 1973 he graduated from Harper Junior College, and in 1976 he graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology.

In 1982, Dave enrolled in the joint History/Anthropology program in historical archaeology at Illinois State University. He was a stellar student and stood out among his colleagues for his intelligence and intellectual curiosity. Dave was big and strong and was a master at arduous fieldwork, but he also loved to plunge into the archives and research original source documents. In 1984, he successfully defended a brilliant Master's Thesis, “Excavations in Old Bottom,” which focused on a nineteenth-century homestead situated in a remote “holler” of Hampshire County, West Virginia. He was awarded a Masters degree in history and archeology by Illinois State that year.

Dave initially worked as an archeologist, but circumstances led him to devote his income-earning hours to other pursuits. He went on to create Ohman Brothers, a successful furniture-moving business. He worked as a furniture mover for most of his adult life, until his retirement. He enjoyed the travel, the places he saw, the people he met (usually), and the comradery of the moving crew. 

Dave’s interests were many and varied. He maintained an active interest in anthropology and American history throughout his life, collecting hundreds of books and artifacts relating to those interests. He was always on the lookout for potential archeology sites and rare books. He also was a martial arts practitioner of Shodan Shotokan and earned a black belt in Shotokan karate. In his teen years, he learned to sail and continued to sail and maintain the skiff that he inherited from his father. For decades he also had a passion for raising tropical fish, a productive operation that at times filled a room full of large indoor tanks in addition to outdoor ponds. He was an avid gardener, had great intelligence and a good sense of humor, and he loved the outdoors.

He was a strong, good man and was devoted to his family and friends. Dave always navigated the world with humor and intelligence -- regardless of how good or bad the situation.  He was truly a renaissance man, who exposed his children to his many interests and passions, including sports, travel, his favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, archaeology, the natural world, and much more

Dave’s historical and archeological research in West Virginia led to his long love affair with the State and its people.  He spent much of the last 30 years of his life in the Hampshire/Hardy counties area. He owned forested land in Hardy County, where he spent much of his time working on a traditional stone house of his own design, constructed by his own hands, primarily from materials found on the land, and almost entirely without the benefit of modern tools or power sources. It was decades-long labor of love that he nearly finished before he passed away.

His partner for the last five years was Maggie Baker, and they were a generous team that loved to work together and cook together, for themselves and for their many friends. Dave’s most beloved view was of the Trough of the South Branch River, which, gratefully, was the last thing he saw before succumbing to cancer. He will be missed by all.

According to his wishes, David will be cremated and no services are planned at this time.

Elmore Funeral Home is honored to be assisting with his cremation arrangements.