On the evening of February 13, 2021, David Anthony Maddox went home to be with Jesus in his home of 35 years with his beloved wife nearby. It was a peaceful, ordinary ending to a truly
extraordinary life. He was 74 years old.
David was born on August 19, 1946, to Robert and Virginia Maddox of Jackson, Georgia. With his father off to war most of his childhood, he was cared for not just by his mother and grandmother, but a whole handful of relatives, David was the oldest cousin, the protector, and the “teddy bear.” He fought through his humble beginnings,
determined to see the world. He was resilient, confident, and optimistic, overcoming all obstacles with his intelligence and sheer force of will. His motto was, “whatever it takes.”
After quitting high school and lying about his age to join the Air Force, he managed to land in France, at age 19. David fought through Vietnam as an air rescue medic and traveled the world, picking up a handful of languages along the way. The last count, he was fluent in French and Arabic, plus parts and pieces of Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and probably more we don’t know of. David had an insatiable thirst for books, beauty, music, experiences, weaponry,adventure, and people of any race, age, nationality, or station in life. He jumped from airplanes, rappelled off mountains, and was an avid caver. He was a lion of a man, living in each moment with passion, humor, and wit.
His great talent and vocation was in the medical field, both military and civilian. After receiving his post-graduate certification in respiratory therapy, his positions included hospital
management, home respiratory care, and college professor. He rounded out his career as a staff respiratory therapist at Dekalb Medical Center for many years. His awards include nationally recognized Respiratory Therapist of the year and the inaugural Employee of the Year for Dekalb Medical Center.
But this alone is not the sum of a man. Affectionately known as Papa Bear, he would tell you himself he considered his greatest accomplishment to be his children and grandchildren. And
truly, loving well was his greatest gift. He took great joy in mentoring young men and women, both personally and professionally. He was a loyal friend, proud dad, and boisterous storyteller, regaling everyone around him with tales of his adventures, obscure weaponry facts, and the achievements of his loved ones. His generosity knew no bounds, and he loved us all relentlessly. He first met Jesus in Knoxville, TN in 1981 and trusted with a childlike faith, remaining active in church for the rest of his life. We will miss him for every moment we have left this side of heaven.
David was preceded in death by his parents, John Robert and Virginia Catherine nee Tillery. He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 45 years, Judith Ann nee Irvine, son John
(Rebecca) Maddox, daughters Liev (James) Wheeler, Molly (Pete) Huggins, Georgia Landis, his sister Monique (Paul) Noble, sister-in-law Janet (Gary) Emerson, and his grandchildren, Lily and Zoe Maddox, Jake, Charlotte, Sam, and Judah Wheeler, Jaime, David, Jack, Hannah, and Charlie Huggins, and Logan, Jackson, and Carolina Landis, along with his cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
David’s Celebration of Life is 2 pm, on Saturday, February 20, at Westminster Church, PCA—1397 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA—with Senior Pastor Stacey Cox officiating.
A public visitation with family and friends will be held prior to the service from 12-2 at Westminster.
David worked tirelessly his entire adult life to help repatriate the remains of missing Vietnam POW and MIA soldiers in honor of his boyhood friend MAJ Bobby M. Jones. In lieu of flowers,
memorial donations in memory of David can be made to The National League of POW/MIA Families or Operation Kingpin: 27 Minutes at Son Tay, a documentary film project and first-
person account of the planning and execution of a never before attempted POW rescue mission into the heart of North Vietnam.
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