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David Kenneth Stigberg, 75, of Champaign died at 8:10 pm on Wednesday (June 27, 2018) at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, with his wife and children at his side.
David is survived by his wife, Sara Taber; his children, Kirsten (Jim) Dennison of Champaign, Aaron (Sara) Stigberg of Chicago, and Kate Stigberg of Denver; their mother, Gerry Stigberg, of Urbana; grandchildren James and Isabel Dennison and Nora and Neil Stigberg; his sister Susan (Bob) Jackson of Greenville, SC; nephews Russ, Eric, and David Jackson of South Carolina; and many cousins.
David was born October 31, 1942, to Ken and Peggy (Sweet) Stigberg in Bridgeport, CT, and the family welcomed his only sister Susan four years later. His father’s career took the family up and down the eastern US, and David had lived in Milford, CT, Hagerstown, MD, Gastonia, NC, and Westport, CT by the time he graduated from high school. He attended the University of Connecticut, where he met Gerry Lynn Callis. They were married on June 14, 1964, and he graduated the next day. In 1965 David’s academic interest in music took the family (which now included their first daughter, Kirsten) to Champaign and the University of Illinois (UIUC), where David pursued a master’s degree in musicology. In 1968 David participated in a summer fieldwork program in Querétaro, Mexico, which sparked a lifelong love for the country, its music, and its culture. He joined the PhD program in ethnomusicology at UIUC under the guidance of Bruno Nettl, and in 1971-72 spent nine months studying urban music in Veracruz, Mexico. Upon returning to the US, David accepted a teaching position at the University of Illinois at Chicago and moved his family to Oak Park, where son Aaron was born in 1973. In 1980 the family returned to Champaign and a faculty position at UIUC, and welcomed daughter Kate in 1982.
In 1987 David left academia for computer programming. He began working for the US Army CERL, where over the next decades he developed software for many different projects, most associated with digital mapping. His work also took him into Illinois agriculture research as well as some collaborative commercial efforts. These were also geographic information system (GIS) projects, which provided the agriculture community with new tools and capabilities to optimize crop production. David’s expertise was highly valued, and even after his retirement he continued to provide software development and reviews of various simulation modeling systems for use in ongoing and future ecological research.
In 1992 David met Sara Taber, and they soon committed to one another. By this time Kate was the only child living at home, and the three of them enjoyed family life as Kate grew to adulthood. David and Sara married on July 5, 2001.
Before and especially after his retirement, David pursued many interests, including woodworking, cycling, and playing the piano. In more recent years he fulfilled his desire to sing with a group by joining the CU Chorale and then the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana (BACH). David found great satisfaction in developing this new skill, and took tremendous pride and pleasure in rehearsing and performing with both groups.
David and Sara took many trips together, especially enjoying hiking in the West, exploring New Orleans over several visits, vacations with children and grandchildren to South Carolina beaches and to Door County, a European trip that included singing with the Chorale, and a hike of Hadrian’s Wall in the summer of 2017.
David was an avid reader in every area. His love for music knew no genre boundaries, as reflected in his enormous vinyl record collection and the hundreds of live performances he enjoyed over his lifetime. He appreciated good food and drink, especially when accompanied by lively conversation. Perhaps most of all, David was interested in people, and he relished making new connections even as he nurtured lifelong friendships. David loved interacting with his children and grandchildren, and they will miss his great company, frequent affection, and constant support.
A visitation will be held from 10 am to 12 pm Saturday, July 7, followed by a memorial service at 12 pm at Owens Funeral Home, 101 N. Elm St., Champaign.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to your local public radio station or the Sierra Club, P.O. Box 131, Urbana, Illinois 61803, or attending a live music performance.
P.O. Box 131, Urbana IL 61803