David Fischetti
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David Carmichael Fischetti
July 9, 1946 - March 21, 2011
David Carmichael Fischetti passed away at home on March 21, 2011. He was born July 9, 1946 in Brooklyn, NY, in a car on the corner of Albany Ave. and Glenwood Rd. He attended Public Schools 198 and 119 and Hudde Junior High, and he took art courses at Pratt Institute. Dave took The Structural Course at Brooklyn Technical High School and graduated in 1964. He discovered Clemson University because it followed Clarkson Institute of Technology in The College Handbook. He graduated from Clemson in 1969 with a BS in Civil Engineering. He remained an enthusiastic fan of Clemson until his death.
Dave's first job, in 1969, was with Koppers Co. of Pittsburgh, PA where he designed laminated timber structures. He was transferred to their Morrisville facility a year later. In 1973 he began working with Lassiter Hopkins Engineers of Raleigh because he wanted to learn more. In 1975 he opened his own office now known as DCF Engineering, Inc. Dave built a career of solving structural engineering problems using graphic analysis backed up by calculations. He always said, "If you can draw it, you can analyze it." His desire to solve problems, along with his love of art and history shaped his body of work to include structures ranging from contemporary timber structures to fragile historic structures. He was a registered Professional Engineer in nineteen states, and answered the call from far and wide to help with sometimes desperate structural issues. Perhaps he is best known as the Engineer of Record in the Relocation of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a project that spanned twenty years from concept to completion; this project received the 2000 A.S.C.E. Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.
However, he also had a deep love affair with timber bridges, especially covered ones. He worked on many covered bridges, including the Cornish Windsor Covered Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River between Cornish, NH and Windsor, VT, for which he won several awards including a 1991 ASCE Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award of Merit; The Covered Pedestrian Bridge in Old Salem, NC, where he earned a Federal Highway Administration 2002 Biennial Award of Merit for Excellence in Highway Design; the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge in Claremont, NC and most recently finished in 2008, the Will Henry Stevens Covered Bridge in Highlands, NC. He also worked on the Tohickon Aqueduct in Point Pleasant, PA, for he won the 2002 National Timber Bridge Award – First Place for Rehabilitation of an Existing Bridge.
Dave's other love was historic preservation. In 1988 he was honored with the Robert E. Stipe Award for professional achievement in historic preservation by the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina. His many preservation projects included, the Poinsett Hotel, Greenville, SC, for which he received 2005 South Carolina Historic Preservation Award - Honor Award; Eagle Block, Newport, NH, New Hampshire Preservation Alliance 2005 Preservation Achievement Award for outstanding preservation and rehabilitation, and perhaps most notable the Restoration of Market Hall, Charleston, SC for which he won numerous awards including the Restoration and Renovation 2004 Palladio Award, the 2003 South Carolina Historic Preservation Honor Award – The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation SC Department of Archives & History Governors Office, 2003 National Preservation Honor Award National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2002 Samuel Gaillard Stoney Conservation Craftsmanship Award by the Historic Charleston Foundation, 2002 Carolopolis Award presented by The Preservation Society of Charleston.
Dave had many opportunities to serve the ecclesiastical community and worked on approximately 175 churches over the years; including St. Helena's Episcopal Church in Beaufort, SC, which received a 2001 South Carolina Historic Preservation Honor Award.
Along with the prestigious awards and recognition, Dave also wrote many scholarly papers for publication, gave wonderful lectures, and belonged to many organizations through the years, including the Association for Preservation Technology (APT), the Timber Framers Guild, many covered bridge societies, including The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, The New York State Covered Bridge Society, Historic Bridge Foundation, and the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.
He was made a Professional Fellow by the Historic Resources Imaging Laboratory, School of Architecture at Texas A&M University and received the Orthogonal Medal, at The Faculty of Graphic Communications at North Carolina State University in 2000 for notable international contributions as a civil engineer, leadership in the realm of structural design and historic preservation, and continuing support of engineering and technical graphics.
He was just concluding work on Shelburne Farms for which he presented a Paper at ICOMOS in Florence, Italy in November 2007, a collaborative effort with Doug Porter, University of Vermont and Ron Anthony, Anthony & Associates, Inc. and a Preservation Workshop, co-sponsored by Shelburne Farms, the Timber Framers Guild, and the Preservation Trades Network in June 2010.
Dave eventually wrote a book, Structural Investigation of Historic Buildings: A Case Study Guide to Preservation Technology for Buildings, Bridges, Towers, and Mills, Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009, to express his philosophy and share his insights and experiences with the public in the amazing adventure of structural engineering.
Dave leaves behind his beloved wife of 42 years, Joyce, sons John and his wife Denise of Raleigh, NC and Matt and his wife Trisha Fischetti of Alpharetta, GA and grandson, Chris Fischetti, and granddaughter, Jackie Fischetti both of Raleigh and brother, Mike L. Fischetti and wife Sheila of Matthews, NC.
He is predeceased by his parents, Constantine and Rose Fischetti, and his daughter Stephanie Anne Fischetti.
Dave was thoughtful, funny and wise. He will be greatly missed.
A visitation will be held Friday, March 25, 2011, 6-8PM, at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 Southeast Maynard Rd., Cary, NC 27511, (919)-467-8108
Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 26, 2011, 11AM at White Plains United Methodist Church, 313 Southeast Maynard Rd., Cary, NC 27511. Interment will follow at Historic Oakwood Cemetery, Oakwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27611
Donations may be made in his memory to University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dept of Endocrine Neoplasia, 1400 Pressler St Unit 1461, Houston, TX, 77030-3722 Attn: Dr. Naifa K. Busaidy, MD for Endocrine Research and Hospice of Wake County, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607
Condolences and fond memories may be offered at www.brownwynnecary.com

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Published in The News & Observer on Mar. 24, 2011.
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Memories & Condolences
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26 entries
March 21, 2019
John Moore, Dr Gerard Lynch, the late Dave Fischetti and Bill Black on the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge between Cincinnati and Covington in 2006
The photograph above is of a very special time spent with David (R.I.P), who gave a wonderful, wholly impromptu ,talk about John A Roebling and how he built the suspension bridge, which opened in 1866. He also talked about how it influenced the much larger and grander Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883. It was a pleasure to know and be in the company of David as he recounted his stories of the bridges and Roebling. What should have been a 5 minute walk turned into a most pleasurable and educational 45 mins, followed by an enjoyable dinner together on the Cincinnati side. David sent me a copy of his book as a gift in 2009, it is in my personal library and I consider myself blessed to have known him and count him as a friend. The years may pass, but such cherished memories of a man who was greatly admired will never be lost. At this time of his anniversary I am thinking of him, and of his wife Joyce and the family.
Gerard Lynch
March 18, 2019
David's outstanding legacy continues to stand proud and strong.
Linda Edmisten
November 21, 2016
will wescott p e
November 19, 2016
Just now, I was aiming to introduce a student to Dave, as a leader in the field. I am saddened to hear of Dave's passing and his family's loss. It was an honor to work with Dave in the mid 1980s in the context of shared efforts with ASTM, with Dave sharing his insight and best practices. With a smile.
Philip Marshall
June 28, 2011
...just today, while giving a tour of Asheville's Historic Saint Lawrence Basilica, I learned of my Dear Olde Historic Buddy-Engineer Dave's passing.
My sincere condolences to his loving family and to all those Preservationists who enjoyed his Rare talents, dedication, and sense-of-humor
Bill Wescott, P.E.
April 11, 2011
I still remember the days I spent with Dave as we worked on the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse relocation. If they have lighthouses to move in Heaven, wait for me, I'll gladly be part of your team.
George Gardner
March 29, 2011
My condolences to Dave's family and friends. I enjoyed working with him on occasion and regret that I just yesterday learned of his book. I had hoped to ask him to sign a copy. He will be much missed.
Lewis Strong
March 28, 2011
The Executive Board of the Murfreesboro Historical Association would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family.
March 26, 2011
Dave was a great friend and colleague. I find myself wanting to ask him about this problem or detail or wondering what he would do here or over there. I always looked forward to working with Dave on projects over the years. I knew that with him on board, I never had to worry about the structural aspects of a project.
There is now a great void both personally and professionally. He will be missed to say the least.
Don Yelverton
March 26, 2011
Dave was an extraordinary person and engineer. When no one knew how to solve a particular problem, Dave not only knew how, but did so with remarkable ease and skill. It was always fun to work with Dave because of the competence, grace, patience and humor he brought to every exchange, no matter how modest or challenging. The few opportunities I had to get to know Dave outside of professional endeavors continued to reveal his wit, compassion and genuine interest in and engagement with his family and the people and world around him.

I will deeply miss Dave.

My sincere condolences to the Fischetti family.
Mark Robinson
March 25, 2011
March 24, 2011

We in the historic preservation community will miss Dave's expertise and the personal touch that he brought to all his projects. His body of North Carolina work will be a lasting monument to his life here. And on a personal note, every time my husband, Rufus, and I look at the chimney standing straight and tall on our house, we will gratefully remember Dave and his wonderful problem-solving skills.
Linda Edmisten
March 25, 2011
Joyce, John and Matt,
I am so sorry to hear of David's passing. He was a great man and great dad and husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you all....
March 25, 2011
Joyce, we are so sorry to learn of Dave's death. Our sympathy to you and all of the family during this most difficult time in your lives. Our prayers will be with you in the days ahead.
Terry and Barbara Hackney
March 24, 2011
To the Fischetti family,
I am so sad to hear about the death of Dave Fischetti. As part of the Colonial Williamsburg staff for 17 years, I participated with Dave in many APTI conferences. I admired Dave as perhaps the most brilliant structural engineer in America. He had a innate sense about the engineering of historic buildings. As a public speaker, Dave's terrific sense of humor made the difficult task of complex engineering projects fun to hear. He was proud of his family, always speaking highly of them. The preservation community has lost a vital contributor, now to become a great legend.
Roberta Laynor
March 24, 2011
Fischetti Family -
Please accept our deepest condolences for your loss. We never had the pleasure to meet David, but knowing how good of a man and coach his son John is, gives us an appreciation for how good of a man David had to have been.

That was a very lovely tribute to him in his obituary. Keep the fond memories of him close to your heart and know that he will always live on.

With sympathy for your loss and heartache,
The Blandfords (Todd, Maureen, Connor, Callie)
March 24, 2011
Dear Joyce and Family,

After working with Dave at Montpelier, UVA and at the Frank Lloyd Wright campus at Florida Southern College, I came to understand that Dave was no ordinary engineer. His analytical and creative mind was a godsend for us and I always enjoyed our frequent conversations, which were always sprinkled with anecdotes from his fascinating life. Your loss is keenly shared by us and I will always remember the fact that he was not only a great engineer but a great and kind man. You and your family are in our prayers during this difficult time.
Jeffrey Baker
March 24, 2011
Dear Joyce and Family, I am very sorry to hear about David's passing. I was very honored to work with David at Koppers in Morrisville (way back in the old days) and I have never forgotten him.
My prayers and thoughts are with you.
Marye LeMunyan Badgett
March 24, 2011
I never had the pleasure of meeting David but as they say "the acorn never falls far from the tree" and, as a friend of Matt, that certainly attests to his strength and character. My sincere condolences to the entire Fischetti family.
Phil Vinyard
March 24, 2011
Dear Joyce and family, David was a treasured friend and valued colleague. I have so many happy memories of his willingness to share his expertise and humor with students at our program in Vermont. I think of him fondly everytime I drive over the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge and will continue to do so. My heart goes out to all of you. Judy Hayward
Judy Hayward
March 24, 2011
Dave was a great teacher, mentor, guide, colleague, and always a friend. We will all miss him deeply.
Craig Bennett
March 23, 2011
I will always remember David as a real Fischetti. Like his father Gus and his uncles Dave, Mikey, Patsy, and Rocco, Dave had the good looks and a sense of fun. He could start telling a story in a serious vein and then suddenly, with a laugh and a twinkle, have you laughing until it hurt. My sister Pat and I really enjoyed our younger years with David and his brother,Michael. "Ave Atque Vale," (Tennyson), beloved friend.
Katherine Dick
March 23, 2011
I am very sorry to hear of the loss of David. I was honoured to both know him and to consider him a friend. He was also on of America's great structural engineers with a pragamtic understanding of historic buildings and how to stabilise them with minimal interference.

We are all the poorer for his passing. He will be missed. May he rest in peace, and his family, friends and colleagues, be comforted during this very sad time.
Dr Gerard Lynch ('The Red Mason')
March 23, 2011
I am so very sad to hear of David's passing. Working with him over the past 20-plus years on various historic preservation projects, I valued his knowledge, discernment, forthright manner and his sense of humor. I always smile when I recall David showing up on a project site, predictably wearing a white dress shirt, tie and blue blazer, even when the sole purpose for the site visit was to examine a moldy crawl space or dusty attic. "That's why they make coveralls," he would reason. He was a man of great integrity and an engineer of exceptional talent. He will be greatly missed. May God bless your family in this time of sorrow.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)
John Horton
March 23, 2011
Very sorry to hear of David's passing. I enjoyed working with him while I was at Phillips & Oppermann from 1990-97. A great engineer and wonderful teacher. He will be greatly missed.
David Clement
March 22, 2011
Joyce and Family,

It was so startling to hear of David's death.

I always looked forward to getting David into another one of our clients' older church buildings. David had an amazing understanding and love of historic structures. It was such a pleasure to work with a colleague with such integrity and talent.
Terry Eason
March 22, 2011
My sweet Uncle David,

I've always bragged about you and still do to this day. I've always looked up to you and am so proud for all that you've accomplished throughout your life. Thank you for being such a great role model and kind hearted uncle. I love you and will miss you always! May you rest in peace.

My love to all of Uncle David's friends, co-workers, and to the rest of my family.
Leslie Fischetti-Young
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