David’s Story

Site created on August 12, 2019

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. 

David was on a work trip in Milwaukee on Sunday, August 11, when he collapsed in his hotel's gym.  He was found by someone at the hotel and medical teams arrived around 6:50am.  He had no pulse, but the EMTs  were able to revive him with CPR/defibrillation, which they had to do again several times in the ambulance on the way to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.  He was intubated and fairly quickly began Therapeutic Hypothermic treatment at the hospital, a three hour process that cools the body temperature through the bloodstream to encourage healing.

A social worker was able to get ahold of Becky quickly, and Becky arrived at the hospital about 15 minutes after David completed his hypothermic treatment and was transferred to the Cardiovascular ICU.  Myself (Lauren, David's oldest daughter) and my husband Daniel, Shelly (Haney) and husband Tim Wolff, and Scott (Haney) arrived around midnight on Sunday.

David's health app on his iPhone shows .16 miles of walking or running activity right around 6am, but since he has never exercised with fitness apps, fitbits, or other tracking devices, we assume that activity was his walk from his hotel room to the gym, and is not likely to be the time of his collapse.  However, we have no way of knowing at what point between that 6:00am activity and the 6:50am medical arrival he collapsed.

Doctors have generally concluded it was a heart attack that led to cardiac arrest and caused his collapse.  He did sustain a pretty terrible looking black eye and scrape above the eye in the fall, and appears to have scraped his head significantly on the treadmill as well in the fall, but doctors have let us know it looks worse than it is, does not require stitches, and they have not (yet) discovered any fractures in his face.  A MRI on Sunday showed no bleeding in the brain.  He did blink a few times in the ambulance, as well as cough, but the medical teams have reminded us that this could also be involuntary movement.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Lauren Westra

We will be celebrating Dad's life at a service on Saturday, September 7 at 10:00am at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Willow Grove, PA (405 Easton Road). Even as we mourn our loss now, we want to celebrate the gift of Dad's life here on earth, and his eternal home in heaven.  Please feel free to avoid dressing in all black as we come together to celebrate.

There are two things we are quite sure Dad would love to see come as a result of this.  As many know, Dad worked for the last 30 years for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.  While he served in many capacities through those years, two in particular were passions of his that can continue to be his legacy through you.

1. Dad spent a significant amount of time working on an informational folder entitled, "If I Should Die..."  The folder is full of information for how to be prepared for a scenario just like this.  Dad was passionate about helping people become prepared for death through estate planning resources, and this is a culmination of that effort.  Please contact the OPC offices to request individual copies or sets for your churches via email (janet.gregson@opc.org).

2. In lieu of flowers, contributions can sent to The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 607 N. Easton Rd. Bldg E, Willow Grove, PA, 19090 and made payable to The Committee on Ministerial Care, specified for the Haney Memorial Fund.  Dad felt we could do more to help OPC ministers prepare for retirement, and was working toward that end until his passing.
The excerpt below, from a memoriam by Dad's coworker David Nakhla, best describes his work in this area.

...The newest denominational committee, the Committee on Ministerial Care (CMC), which was inaugurated in 2017, was David’s brain-child. The CMC became the successor to the work of the previous Committee on Pensions, and it also absorbed some of the work of the CDM, specifically the care of ministers and their widows through the administration of the Obadiah Fund. The work of the CMC, and David’s involvement in that work, has already brought relief and encouragement to many of the 500+ ministers who are serving OP churches, church plants, and mission fields, or have entered retirement. David was serving as the Inaugural Director of the CMC at his passing.
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