David Edwin Southall
1945 - 2020
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David Edwin Southall

David Edwin Southall left this world on January 7, 2020. Born in Buffalo, NY, August 21, 1945, David pursued a wide variety of interests with a passion, his entire life. With degrees in Forestry and Biology, and a Masters in Botany, he founded Botanicus, a landscape/nursery/greenhouse operation in Buffalo. This brought him to SW Florida where he created a large nursery in Bonita Springs to supply his northern business. He was VP of Education for Associated Landscape Contractors of America, a Florida State Certified Biologist, and developed the original Master Naturalist Program for the Conservancy of SW Florida.

Boy Scouts of America was a very important part of David's life. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and remained actively involved in many ways. Camp Miles was created for Boy Scouts by a transfer of use of state land, largely through David's efforts. He volunteered in the early development of that camp, building the Nature/Ecology Lodge, and serving as summer camp Nature Director for many years. After getting cooperation from the NRA to build a shooting range there, he developed the Florida Council of BSA Shooting Sports Program. As an NRA Training Counselor, David trained many Certified Instructors within the Scout community, to ensure safe and correct firearm use was practiced by all. Scoutmaster for Troop 38, he led many young people on High Adventure activities such as hiking the Appalachian Trail. Historical reenacting was another passion of David's. BSA Venture Crew 1838 learned lots of Florida history while being involved in events throughout the state.

After volunteering at the Collier County Museum for years, David took what he called his "retirement job" there. The 5 acres evolved into a Florida Native Plant Garden of renown. Old Florida Festival is still held there, bringing history to life. As Curator of Education, he developed programs and special events for all ages and welcomed thousands of schoolchildren and visitors, both local and from around the world, to the Museum. Outreach to the Collier County Library and many other places kept him doing what he loved—talking. David was a true teacher and researched extensively to ensure he had all the facts before making them into fascinating presentations. Florida history, science, astronomy, ornithology, etc. were among his more than 300 Programs.

A Viet Nam Veteran of the First Infantry Division, David attributed his survival skills in combat there to his early Scout training. He led others wisely and helped the local people endure. Three Purple Hearts in just over one year took their toll. He came back home and went right to work helping fellow veterans pick up pieces of their lives.

In recent years David's passion for plants and horticulture led him to the Brazilian jungles, tropical islands like Cuba, Barbados and The Bahamas. His garden and greenhouse occupied many happy hours, as did his shop. He listened to hundreds of books on tape while working on his favorite projects.

David has three daughters, Diana Southall and Devon Southall in Buffalo and Jennifer Southall in Bonita Springs. Four grandchildren are missing Grandpa Dave.

His wife, Suzy Valentine, has three sons, all residing in Brazil. They also miss this wonderful stepfather.

There will be a Celebration of David's Life on Saturday, February 8th from 3-5 PM. Unity Church 28285 Imperial Parkway, Bonita Springs. Donations in his name may be made to Troop 109 at First United Methodist Church, Attn. Mark Cecil, Scoutmaster, 27690 Shriver Ave., Bonita Springs 34135.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Naples Daily News from Jan. 21 to Jan. 26, 2020.
Celebration of Life
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14 entries
February 8, 2020
Suzi, know that you are held in light and love in your time of great sorrow. We will miss Dave, too. AUGIE and Carolyn Fischer, Unity of Bonita Church
Carolyn Fischer
February 7, 2020
Slava and I just found out about David's death. What a shock...and loss. We attended innumerable lectures given by him through the Collier County Museum, Collier County Public Library, and BSTFC. His breadth and wealth of knowledge, his manner of presentation, and his warmth and wit were unmatched by anyone we have ever known. We were also blessed to know him as a friend. He is truly irreplaceable and will be sorely missed.
George Szczerbaniuk
February 7, 2020
Looking back on David's life he learned much and gave back more. His "lectures" were a delight to attend. David delivered them with wit and knowledge. Good bye to a great man! We will remember and miss you.
February 6, 2020
We will really miss David's expertise here at the NRA. He was always a great resource to turn to in Florida, and helped us get the Regional and State Training Counselor Liaison program off the ground in 2019.
Semper Fidelis, Brother.
Fair winds and Following Seas.
Marty Sprick
NRA Training Counselor Program Lead
Marty Sprick
February 5, 2020
David Murphy
January 27, 2020
I was fortunate enough to have known David Southall. He was a giant among men.
Alexandra Sulecki
January 27, 2020
David was, indeed, a great man! For years, he was a significant part of our family; a best friend of my husband and like an uncle to my boys and to so many scouts throughout the years. He was a eloquent scholar of history and botany, and knew volumes about everything else! He had a real talent for teaching youth to be resourceful and capable. David will be greatly missed, but fondly remembered!
Linda Abbott
January 26, 2020
David's passing has meant a sudden and tragic loss of a friend, mentor and collaborator to me and an extraordinary source of experiential knowledge to all he encountered. David's gift was his curiosity that led him to develop his vast knowledge . I often wondered how did David retain so much wisdom, and find time to share it freely with great wit. That David accomplished both was his gift to to us. My sympathies to Suzy and family; may time bring healing and memories to help you through your loss.
JIm Meerpohl
January 25, 2020
Suzy, I'm glad you and David found each other, and that Pat and I had the privilege of meeting him. Our deepest sympathy goes to you, David's family and your family.
Sharon O'Toole
January 25, 2020
David at a recent Troop meeting
I was still learning from David. He had much more to give. I recall a very memorable lesson he gave me just this year. David said, "you are doing a great job of communicating, but are your scouts learning from your instruction? Can they apply it?" I will miss him greatly.
Mark Cecil
January 22, 2020
David gave a series of 16 lectures in the Spring of 2013 about the history of Southwest Florida that changed my life about our part of the state. As a result of his stories, I came to learn more about SW Florida and its growth, development, and culture. Thank you David. I shall always remember you!
Don Meek
January 11, 2020
We are truly saddened by the loss of David. He was always sharing his wealth of Knowledge with others. My son Nilo always looked forward to to talking with him and learning from David at the HS classes. He will truly be missed.
Jorge Diaz
January 7, 2020
Rest in peace, my Brother. You will surely be miss here on earth but in our hearts, you will reside always. P.S. tell my brother Charlie Abbott hello
ralph smith
January 7, 2020
I am shocked and saddened to hear of David's passing and will truly miss him. Few people I knew being able to have such great conversations about most anything. His wealth of history and botany were exceptional.
Christopher Kimball
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