David Terry Millstein passed away peacefully during the first fall snow, surrounded by his family, on Monday, October 26, 2020 at the age of 75. The cause of death was complications from a three year long battle with Leukemia.
David was born in Kansas City on September 10, 1945 to Tommy and Bertha Millstein. The oldest of two kids, David helped out considerably with the family army surplus business. It was working at the family business that shaped and influenced much of his career later in life as he was surrounded by a variety of gadgets, tools, and machines. “I can’t get this to work” was not something you’d hear from David.
David was a standout track star at Shawnee Mission East, still holding a nearly fifty year old shot put record. After high school he attended the University of Kansas on a track scholarship. It was at the University of Kansas where he met his future wife, Susan, trying to impress her by driving his motorcycle up the stairs of The Wheel. She might not have been impressed at the time but on October 3, 1970 David and Susan were married at the Douglas County courthouse. This year marked their 50th anniversary, and the end of an incredible partnership.
David and Susan started and grew Sunflower from a small surplus and camping store into an all encompassing outdoor sporting goods store. It would be the start of many community inspired businesses.
In the mid-eighties, David started a new project with Charley and Tensie Oldfather to rehab a then dilapidated Liberty Hall. The restoration was a beautiful success: wispy clouds on the walls, murals painted by local artists, elegant chandeliers, and dual Saturns leading all ways. Opening night was a success and showed a play close to David’s heart: the Ballad of Black Jack. The topic at the center of everything that Liberty Hall was, and is, meant to represent.
In addition to David’s professional life, he was an incredible father and husband, always pushing the people whom he loved to keep evolving, work hard, and be compassionate.
At the center of David’s life philosophy was respect. Respect for animals, history, architecture, music, and most importantly his community. To David there was no role too small, no detail too slight. Everything and everyone held equal value to him. He moved through his life with effortless love for what he believed in and made an impact on everyone he met, just as they made an impact on him. From the romantic plains of Kansas to the warm waters of Jamaica, Dave will live on in the electric pinks of the setting sun.
David was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his wife Susan, sister Cydney (Richard), three children Josh, Audrey (Thomas), and Casey (Eric), three grandchildren, Aliyah, Ira, and Ivy, and two dogs, Donnie and Ruby.
A memorial will be planned for friends and family when we can all safely get together.