Tuesday, September 28, 2021
DAVID BATES VETTER
David Bates Vetter, 84, of Urbandale, Iowa, passed away on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale. Dave was born to Frank S. and Margaret A. Vetter on November 4, 1936 in Waukon, Iowa, then moved with his family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he grew up. After graduating from McKinley High School in 1954, Dave attended Stanford University before transferring to the University of Iowa, where, as a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, he graduated in business administration in 1958. He then joined the family lumber business. , Vetter-May Lumber, overseeing operations at the Stanwood, Iowa site. Meanwhile, Dave married Carole A. Prather, the mother of his two sons, Jim and Joe.
Dave had studied clarinet from a young age, and after three years in the woodworking business his passion for music was too much to overcome, so he and Carole packed their bags and headed to New York. There, Dave attended Mannes College of Music, where he received a second degree, a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet, in 1968. In 1972, he and his family moved to City Island in the Bronx, which will remain home well. – loved by Dave for almost 50 years. While Dave and Carole divorced in the mid-1990s, they remained friends.
After graduating from Mannes, Dave began a career in music education, teaching a high school band at several schools in the New York City education system until his retirement in 1993. While the career Dave’s official was in teaching, his musical life didn’t end there. Over the years, he has regularly performed with and conducted numerous jazz and concert orchestras throughout the New York City area, and has been admired by fellow musicians for his mastery of the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Dave passed on his love of music to his sons and grandchildren.
Dave also had many hobbies. He was an avid swimmer, swimming daily in Long Island Sound (with a memorable appearance in the movie “City Island”), and an avid gardener. After retiring from teaching, Dave turned his love of gardening into a second career at the New York Botanical Garden, where he worked at the Family Garden for almost 25 years.
Dave’s life has been defined above all by an unwavering dedication to his family and an unwavering loyalty to his friends. As a longtime friend said, speaking for so many people, “Everyone loved Dave.” All who knew him will remember him for his irresistible kindness and generosity.
Dave is survived by his sons, James D. Vetter (Marcia) of Urbandale, Iowa, and Joseph K. Vetter (Lisa) of Bethesda, Maryland; sisters, Peggy Parks (Frank, deceased) of Denver, Colorado, and Martha Vetter of City Island, New York; granddaughters, Rachel Davis (Tim), Kirsten Gannon (Dan) and Emily Vetter, all of the greater Des Moines area; nine great-grandchildren; three nieces; and a nephew.
The funeral will be on Thursday, September 30 at 11 a.m. at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway, 3601 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, with visitation one hour before service time. The service will be broadcast live. Interment will follow at Cedar Memorial Cemetery in Cedar Rapids.
Memorial contributions can be directed to the nominated family at Mannes College of Music and the New York Botanical Garden.
Online condolences can be expressed at www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.