David R. Hittle, Ed.D, went to be with the Lord on May 10, 2021. “Doc Hittle”, as he was known by thousands of students, grew up on dairy farms in Mooresville and Martinsville, Indiana. The son of Reverend Richard R. Hittle and Mrs. Clara Lena (Noffke) Hittle, he was born on April 30, 1943 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and moved with his family to the Bloomington area when his father answered the call to ministry and became the minister at Clear Creek Christian Church. He met the love of his life, Vonda, in youth group at Clear Creek when he was fourteen; they dated throughout their time at Bloomington High School, attended Indiana University together, and married in 1964 shortly after their baccalaureate graduation. He continued his studies at IU, attaining his Doctorate in Science Education.
David accepted a faculty position at Bay de Noc Community College and the family moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. During their time in the UP, David and Vonda’s family grew with the addition of three more children. He loved to play basketball at the college, and also learned to love long distance running; on more than one occasion challenged his students at Bay de Noc to join him for extra credit (contingent upon their completing the full ten miles or more.) His father and mother had instilled in him the belief that he could do anything he put his mind to, and he eventually moved the family from a small 120 acre farm into a two-story, eight bedroom home which he designed and built almost single-handedly. He inherited a knack for mechanical matters and automotive repair from his father, but also a love for music – singing and playing the guitar – from his mother. He loved playing golf and spending time outdoors.
A voracious reader and brilliant thinker, Doc Hittle constantly sought to connect his understanding of the scientific world with his biblical knowledge and faith in Jesus, and was fearless and confident in sharing the Good News to his last days. During their time in the UP, David and Vonda were devoted members of Lakeside Christian Church. David served as interim pastor and elder, and was a core member of the team that designed and built a new church building for the congregation. He and Vonda devoted themselves to their church family, spending their summers with the youth at summer camp and vacation bible school. David’s final teaching assignment brought the family to Mishawaka, Indiana, in 1982, where he served as the Science Department Chair for Penn High School for several years, teaching Chemistry and Physics until his retirement in 2006.
During his 24 years at Penn, he built a legacy of brilliant young students in chemistry and physics who are today leaders in many different fields, both public and private. These future doctors, lawyers, academics, researchers, military leaders, business men and women, all knew him simply as “Doc”, and benefited from his positive thinking and the books he gave them to read for extra credit. Every one of his children had the honor to have him as a teacher, and he took immense pride in their accomplishments – each distinctly unique, and each achieving success in their own way as a direct result of his counsel, guidance and encouragement. He continued to challenge his family and students of all ages even into his retirement, readily sharing ideas from his latest reading. Whenever you met Doc, if you asked him how he was doing, the answer was always, “Good and getting better!” In recent years, if you asked him why that was – he would tell you, “Because that’s one day closer to meeting Jesus!”
David was predeceased by his father and mother, Richard and Clara; his beloved older brother Larry; and his daughter Monica. He is survived by his loving sisters Phyllis Joiner and Carla Wilson (both of Pentwater, Michigan) and their families; and many cousins, second cousins and friends who became like family over the years. He and Vonda are loved by their children Lorinda (David) Ivey, Doctor Lucinda Hittle, Colonel (USMC retired) Patrick (Amy) Hittle, Larissa Luck, and Timothy (Aubrey) Hittle, and their twelve fantastic grandchildren (Mark, John, Eric, Alexander, Gabriel, Grace, Atticus, Samuel, Ella, Laura, Ozwald, and Adam) who reside across the Midwest and the East Coast.
Visitation will be held from 3-7pm Friday, May 14, 2021 at the Ireland Road Church of God, 16555 East Ireland Road in Mishawaka. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church prior to the 2pm funeral service on Saturday, May 15, 2021 with Bishop CB Wiseman officiating the ceremony. Cruz Family Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Osceola has been entrusted with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, and to continue his legacy of learning, his family has established the David R. Hittle Scholarship Memorial Fund to benefit deserving students. To make a donation to the scholarship fund, share a story of David’s life, view his online video tribute or light a virtual candle in his memory, please follow the links provided on the tribute wall tab above.