David F. Browning Jr, aged 17, passed away unexpectedly on September 13, 2023. Grandson to Patricia and Burt Ricker, he is survived by his loving mother and father Dave and Diane Browning, his brother Greg (Caroline) Ricker, his sister Jackie (Michael) Eddleman, his niece Patricia Ricker, his nephews, Burt, Abram, and Eli. Cousin to David and Ginger Ricker.
For someone taken too soon, David accomplished so much. He was very ambitious at work as a welder, and at play as an avid hunter, and fisherman. On a bike he was known as “Wheelie Kid” because he could ride a wheelie for over a mile. David was homeschooled for 10 years during his primary grades, providing him the opportunity to advance and become the youngest graduate at the American Welding Academy, at the age of 16.
As a hunter, he accomplished certificates in 4H, firearm sportsmanship, and archery. He has taken deer, rabbit, squirrel, coon, quail, duck and one very unfortunate chicken crossing the road trying to get to the other side. Even after harvesting all of these different types of game he would often forgo taking any of them and instead take pictures that he would send to his family, commenting that the deer were too “majestic” to take. He was very proud of his first deer and first duck. Growing up he loved to fish at Forest Park, at Deer Lake and the Missouri Department of Conservation hatchery, as well as Carondelet park, and various St. Louis County parks. As a teenager he expanded his love for fishing, to Missouri rivers, and the Atlantic ocean. But he also learned the art of fly fishing and fly tying. He gained this love of the outdoors from his dad Dave. As a matter of fact it was David that kept his dad motivated to do those things. In addition to motivating him in those things he motivated his dad after they both had a long days work to go bowling or shoot pool along with whatever projects David wanted to work on that day. They were buddies.
As any good country boy would, David has a driveway full of Ford trucks all in various stages of disarray. My wife Caroline who has known David since he was two and watched him grow up was with me at a hardware store when we discovered a Ford Ranger in the parking lot that looked like it had been through a war. Caroline said I wonder if David would be interested in it. We decided to take a picture and send it to him. His response was “ha ha… very funny” He also has a dog named Roscoe and a cat named Trooper who both can sense that he is gone. There is a tree in the backyard that David planted that grew from basically twigs that were purchased from Soulard market. Roscoe has been spending time under that tree.
Someone David spent so much time with is our dads friend Steve Vogler who lives right around the corner. Steve was like a second dad to David. Steve got David started in his interest in welding and taught him so many construction and mechanical skills there are too many to list. Steve’s properties in Barnhart and St Clair were like David’s personal playgrounds where he would shoot, hunt, and work on various projects. He treated David like his own son.
David was enthusiastic about his job at Twin States Welding, always showing up for work early and would even come home with a smile on his face, something that the majority of people can’t relate to. If anyone had a plan in life, it was David. His ultimate goal was to teach other kids like him how to weld at American Welding Academy. His first student was his long time girlfriend Kenzie, and his class room was our parents driveway.
David loved being an uncle. He loved to spend time with his nephews, Burt, Abram and Eli. He taught each one of them how to give fist bumps, and was the one to laugh at their jokes. Burt loved to ride in his uncle’s truck, Abram loved to tell his uncle a joke, and Eli loved to give his uncle fist bumps. David’s niece Patricia, was more like a twin than a niece being only 3 months apart, and growing up together. They loved to talk together about things happening in their lives and the future, being homeschooled together and driving side by side in their vehicles. These are just a few things all of them loved to do with him.
As a brother to Jackie and brother in law to Michael they would take him to Mark Twain Forest, The City Museum, fishing at the river and they would take him for rides on back roads. They also went hunting quite often which only led to David taking pictures.
To me his brother Greg, he was becoming something other than a brother he was becoming a friend. Because I’m 21 years older than my brother at times it seemed odd but our shared interest in so many things kept us together. One of those interests is firearms. We loved showing each other our new “items”. I am not one to name firearms like some collectors but I recently purchased one worthy of a name but was having difficulty deciding. I know now what the name will be “David”. I will miss you.
To his mom Diane he was also not only a son but a friend. They enjoyed going to the park on all of David’s fishing and biking trips. The best time in her life is when she was fortunate enough to be home to educate him and take him on field trips. She is so proud of her handsome baby boy. He is loved and missed by his mom and dad more than words can express.
We would like to thank every Southsider that has touched his life. We would also like to thank all of his classmates, coworkers and friends. There are so many of you that we couldn’t bring ourselves to make a list in fear of leaving someone out. You all meant so much to him. Thank you.
Visitation at Kutis Affton Chapel, 10151 Gravois, St. Louis, MO 63123 on Tuesday, September 19, 3:00 PM until funeral service at 7:30 PM.