Obituary: Dr. David Goetsch, A Pillar of the Niceville Community

Dr. David Goetsch was a pillar of the Niceville and Valparaiso Community.

The community of Niceville and beyond mourns the loss of David Lee Goetsch, a man whose life was marked by profound dedication and service. 


Goetsch passed away on May 2, 2024, and left behind a legacy of leadership, advocacy, and a deep commitment to his family and 



Goetsch was born in Mitchell, South Dakota, on March 11, 1950, and graduated from Escambia High School as a standout football and baseball player. 


Goetsch earned his associate’s degree from Pensacola Junior College and played baseball for the Pirates. 


He went on to enlist in the United States Marine Corps from 1971-1973. He served in Vietnam and the White House as a sentry – one of the non-commissioned officers who act as the ceremonial guard outside the West Wing of the White House. After his service, he was named to the Florida Veteran’s Hall of Fame. 


Goetsch earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida – and was named one of the 40 most distinguished alums of the university’s first 40 years. 


Goetsch continued to learn in formal settings throughout his life, earning several master’s degrees from Troy University and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in 1979. 


Goetsch served as an instructor and administrator at Northwest Florida State College for 36 years, retiring as a Vice President. While at the college, Goetsch taught American Government, Political Science, and business courses. 


Despite a full schedule that included his family, professional pursuits, leadership at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Valparaiso, various Chambers of Commerce, and other boards, Goetsch advocated for the defense industry and military mission in Northwest Florida with the Florida Defense Support Task Force. 


He is also the author of more than 70 books on politics, the military, the workplace, and more. You can see his work here. 


According to his obituary online, “David’s life was one of purpose, marked by generosity, wisdom, and a genuine love for others. He will be dearly missed by his wife Deby, daughter Savannah (Ethan) King, grandchildren, extended family and friends. As the community mourns his loss, David’s legacy of service and dedication will continue to inspire future generations.”


A Point of Privilege

When I was a brand-new reporter in Northwest Florida, one of the first people Laura Hussey (Reporter and morning Anchor at WEAR) introduced me to was Dr. David Goetsch. Over the years, he granted me interviews on a variety of subjects and helped me understand what was happening in economics, local business, and history. 


 He was a kind man with a teacher’s heart. Thank you for your time, sir. You will be missed

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