O. Percy, PhD.
David O. Percy passed away Thursday, June 30 at York Hospital after a
15 year battle with cancer. He was born in Sioux Falls, SD to the late
Oran K. and Alta T. (Kirkeby) Percy.
He served in the U.S. Navy. After his Naval
service, David received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from San Diego State
University and Doctorate in History from the University of
In the Navy, he served as the first nuclear chemist and radiological
technician in the Submarine service at the beginning of Rickover's
Nuclear Navy. He was a plankowner of the USS Snook (SSN-592). After
completing his college work he had a long career as a historian and
In 1976, he became Special Assistant to the President of the Charles
County Community College (now College of Southern Maryland). Parts of
his duties were to assist in the development of a historical
interpretation program at the National Colonial Farm in Accokeek, MD,
which is now part of Piscataway National Park. He eventually became the
Farm's Director, and in 1985, he became the Executive Vice President of
the Farm's operating foundation in Washington, D.C.
In 1990, he became the editor of 'Forest & Conservation History
Journal' in Durham, NC. Its association with Duke University gave him
the opportunity to teach there. He then taught at North Carolina State
University before accepting a position as Executive Director of the
South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston, SC. After retiring, he
and his wife moved to York, where he continued to teach for another
nine years as an Adjunct Professor of History at Harrisburg Area
Community College – York Campus before declining health forced him to
leave the lecture halls in the fall of 2015.
He enjoyed woodworking, research, reading, crossword puzzles, Nebraska
Cornhusker Football and spending time with friends and family. He was
an Eagle Scout and Sea Explorer Quartermaster and attended the 1953
National Boy Scout Jamboree in Irvine Ranch, CA.
He was a strong believer in his faith and served the Episcopal Church
in numerous capacities during his life, including chairing the
Discernment Committee for the Priesthood of Robert Gephart, recently
retired Interim Bishop of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, and has
recently attended St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, York.
In addition to his wife of 53 years, Sandra Mary of York, he is
survived by his Aunt Donna (Kirkeby) and spouse, Paul Willadsen of
Sioux Falls, SD; brother, Jonathon and spouse, Dorothy of Austin, TX;
sisters, Linda Corhan of Austin, TX and Susan McCrady and spouse, Doug
of Redway, CA; sister-in-law, Kathy Percy of Milpitas, CA; son, Eric
David and spouse, Helen of Frederick, MD; daughter, Erin Kathleen
(Kline) and spouse, Shawn Lynn Holtzapple of Mt. Wolf; grandsons,
Terrance L. Kline II, Jonathan E. Percy, Cordell D. Kline, and Stephen
P. Percy; stepgrandchildren, Austin James Holtzapple and spouse,
Heaven, and Kayla Beth Holtzapple; step great-grandson, Austin James
Holtzapple; along with numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces
and grandnephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Michael of
David's body has been donated to science through Science Care, with
arrangements being handled by Hetrick-Bitner Funeral Home, Harrisburg.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later time at the convenience of
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Wellspan Health,
Cancer Patient Help Fund, York Health Foundation, 25 Monument Road,
York, PA 17403; Hospice and Community Care of Lancaster/York, 224 St.
Charles Way, Suite 200, York, PA 17402; or the HACC Foundation –
Student Scholarship Fund, www.hacc.edu/givenow
(please denote York Campus).
The family wishes to thank Cancer Care of Apple Hill and Hospice and
Community Care of Lancaster/York for their dedicated care in the final
months of David's life.
Published in York Daily Record
& York Dispatch on July 6, 2016