Godspeed, Dave Churchman

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David Curtis Churchman of Indianapolis, IN passed away Monday evening, 12/28/15. He was 82.

He was born in Indianapolis, the second son to Michael Steele Bright Churchman and Luita (Lee) Churchman. David attended IPS 43 and IPS 84 and graduated from Broad Ripple High School in 1951. He was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity and graduated from Purdue University in 1955 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. Suma Cum Nada.

Upon his graduation, Dave served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for two years undertaking a survey of lands in Libya. He returned to Indianapolis in 1958 and began a career with M.S. Churchman Co., a family business. David married Charlene Rae Rockhill in 1961. They raised four children: Curt, Liz, Andrew and Matthew. All attended North Central High School and have degrees from IU and Purdue.

Dave worked for M.S. Churchman Co. his entire career eventually becoming President in 1977. M.S. Churchman Co. was liquidated in post-recessionary 1984.

A voracious reader and an impassioned collector, trader, (humble) aficionado, published author, dealer, dabbler, impresario – Dave had many and vast interests and pursued those with focused, bohemian glee in his post-business years. These interests (which invariably yielded collecting therein) ran far afield – cigar bands, fountain pen tips, drawer pulls, antique letter openers, philately, etc.

churchman2Yet his one lifelong passion was letterpress printing. It grabbed him as a Northside boy and after college, he fell hard. Letterpress printing was his joy and obsession for the past sixty years. Throughout his adult life he bought, sold, acquired and accumulated an ever-increasing collection and inventory of letterpress stock – type and cases, presses, cutters, trimmers, ephemeral hardware, tools, casters, specimen books, etc. Dave was known throughout the nation and internationally as an authoritative expert and trusted dealer of all things letterpress. He will be featured in an independent documentary film, Pressing On, which chronicles the current mini-renaissance in letterpress printing. His printing press shared the marquee in the 1992 Smithsonian Institution exhibit The Boy and His Press. The letterpress diaspora mourns his loss.

Dave was a past member the Indianapolis Jaycees, the Indiana Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization and a current member of the Junto of Indianapolis. He was a member of the Indianapolis Racquet Club where he regularly played rounds of his beloved tennis.

He is survived by his wife, Charlene Churchman, his brother Michael Steele Churchman, Jr. of Philadelphia; his children, David Curtis Churchman, Jr., Elizabeth Dix, Andrew Steele Churchman, Matthew Rockhill Churchman and four grandsons. And his cat, Mac.

Family and friends will gather on Sunday, January 3, 2015 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel. Funeral Service will be held on Monday, January 4, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Heart Association .

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