David Jackson Athey - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

David Jackson Athey

May 24, 1960 - January 27, 2023

David Jackson Athey, age 62, of Newark, DE, passed away on Friday, January 27, 2023 after a short but brutal battle with cancer.

Born in Wilmington, DE on May 24, 1960, he was a son of June S. and the late Robert J. Athey. David’s extensive education included a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Delaware. He was also a Professional Engineer and Certified Floodplain Manager.

David began his engineering career at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California. He worked for over 35 years in water resources engineering and public works, predominantly for government agencies specializing in surface water quality management and program management.  David was awarded the Grand Conceptor Award (highest honor) by the American Council of Engineering Companies – Delaware Section for designing the Cedar Point Storm Basin Retrofit. He also made two trips to McMurdo Station, Antarctica as employee of support contractor to the United States Antarctic Research Program.

David was an active member of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark where he served as a board member and committee chair from 2011-2022. He was very active in his community and causes he believed in. David served five terms (10 years) on the Newark City Council, served on the Town and Gown Committee, and chaired on the Newark Traffic Relief Committee and Old Newark Civic Association. He was on the board of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary from 2015-2020, the Executive Committee as Secretary, chair of the Advocacy Committee, board of American Public Works Association – Delaware Chapter from 2001-2016, and elected on the board of Delaware Association of Professional Engineers from 2002-2006. David’s other accomplishments include being on the Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council from 2006-2014, being active at the Delaware Nature Society for over 15 years as a committee chair and volunteer, serving as past president of the Georgia Tech Club of the Delaware Valley, and was an event chair and volunteer for the American Cancer Society for several years. Always looking to help others, he regularly donated blood, providing over 6 gallons to the Blood Bank of Delaware.

David was a life-long swimmer, serving as co-captain of his high school swim team and medaled at the state championship. He continued his love of swimming by being a member of the U of D outdoor pool from 1996-2022. David was an avid basketball fan and was in attendance at the Spectrum for the Duke/Kentucky overtime game in the 1992 east regional final of the NCAA basketball championship.

In addition to his mother, he will be dearly missed by his loving wife of 31 years, Lori J. Athey; siblings, Linda Lagstrom (Eric) and Robert E. Athey (Linda); niece, Sandy Kiouressis (John); nephews, Robert D. Athey (Amber) and Scott Lagstrom (Allison); great nieces, Hannah and Hayley Lagstrom; and great nephews, Zach Lagstrom and Robert J. Athey II.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 2:00 pm until 3:30 pm on Sunday, February 12, 2023 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark, 420 Willa Road, Newark, DE 19711, followed by a memorial service at 3:30 pm. Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, donations in David’s memory may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark at the address listed above.


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27 Condolences for David Jackson Athey

  • Your husband sounds like such a wonderful man. He certainly helped make the world a better place. Please take the time to be good to yourself. It is a tough and sad time, and I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Lori and family I am so sorry for your loss 😞 love and prayers for you all 🙏❤️

  • I had the recent pleasure of working with David on the Fort DuPont infrastructure improvements. As Delaware City’s Town Engineer, David was a key resource and decision maker for engineering issues involving the Fort. It is with great sadness to hear of his passing when it was just a few months ago we were putting our efforts together to solve design and construction issues. David was well respected by his colleagues and will be greatly missed.

  • Lori,
    I was both shocked saddened to read of David’s passing. This summer we both talked about our health issues, yet felt positive about our situations. I’m sorry that I will not be here when his services will be held, but my thoughts and prayers will be with you.
    623 Academy

  • No words can Express the sadness and sorrow in my heart right now. Dave was someone I met casually and then we became good friends. I will keep very fond and cheriched memories of him as a man who was always willing to serve others. A jovial and bubbly soul that was always there to cheer others up. His positive energy did not limit itself to the American continent, it stretched to Africa where for more than once he donated to our cause of nature conservation in the Congo. His home was my home and never treated me any differently. He was a avid teacher, who was proud to talk about his work all the time. Because of him I called Newark home!
    He’ll be missed by all of us and may his soul rest in perfect and eternal peace!

  • Dear Lori, please accept our condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Ed. & Carol.

  • Lori- This is heartbreaking for all who knew Dave. Of course you know you have my deepest sympathy. I regret I won’t be there to celebrate Dave’s life with you and all the local UUs.

  • Lori, please accept our sincere and heartfelt condolences. Dave was a wonderful person who we respected and admired. A remarkable engineer with a big heart and a desire to help improve people’s lives and make this world just a little better. He will be greatly missed. John and Suzanne

  • Very sorry to hear of David’s passing. He was a colleague of mine at AECOM on the Pavement and Grounds project at PHL and offered a wealth of knowledge to the team. Thoughts go out to his family.

  • Lori,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of serving with Dave on DAPE Council and Examining Committee. Dave was always very fair minded and thorough in the work he did. He was a good friend during that time.

  • Lori, I’m so sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of working with Dave on several significant projects throughout the years, and his work was always thorough and professional. He will be greatly missed. I am praying for you and your family.

  • Dave is a wonderful man. I had the pleasure of working with him and played outdoor basketball with him at Kells Park in the mid 1990’s. Dave had the ability to allow people to be heard and fostered community solutions to problems. I will miss Dave.

  • This deeply saddens our hearts. Dave was a dear friend and a wonderful man to work with. Our thoughts and love are with him, Lori and his friends and family. Now he can rest in peace.
    Love, Jill and Dave

  • Lori, My sincere condolences. Dave was much admired and gave so much of himself. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Lori,
    We are so sorry to hear about Dave. He was a good man and a good engineer. He will be sorely missed. We will keep you both in our thoughts and prayers.
    Sincerely, Tom and Amy Reed

  • Dave will always be my hero!!! I was working as an airport shuttle driver looking for my next professional opportunity when I had the good fortune of driving Dave and Lori to BWI as they were leaving for a business related trip. They listened to me relate the local history of Fort McHenry and how our national anthem was inspired a we rode to and thru the tunnel to emerge on the other side to a new dawn of hope for our fledgling nation. As we approached the airport I mentioned that I was a licensed engineer looking for my next profession opportunity. Dave ask me for my contact card and said that he would follow up with me on his return. He did, and I joined URS in March of 2004. I enjoyed working for and with Dave through the 15 years in spent with URS/AECOM. So sorry that his happy nature and smile is no longer with us. Strength to you Lori in these days of sorrow. Rest in peace Dave!!!

  • My condolences to Dave’s family. I had the opportunity to work with him on multipe occassions over the years and it was always a pleasure, both personally and professionally. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  • Lori, I am so sorry to hear of your loss, my prayers are with you.


  • Our sincere condolences, Lori.

  • Not only am I saddened to hear this news, but I also wish that I had met Dave. The condolences tell a story of a man well respected and liked and a helper for others on this journey called life. A rare combination!
    I will see you around campus. You are a strong woman. With God’s mercy, you will begin another path on your journey.

  • Lori,

    I am so sad to hear about Dave. I enjoyed our friendship over the years. He was always a gentlemen and treated everyone with respect. Our City is a better place because of Dave and I know my life was enriched because I called Dave a friend. You and Dave are in my prayers.

    God Bless,

  • To David’s family,
    I was so sorry to hear about the loss of one who truly had a life well lived! I am a good friend of Linda, so would like to extend my special condolences to her and Eric. She had spoken about her brother during our years as friends and I know the loss is
    particularly difficult. God has taken him, and made him whole. His sterling legacy lives with his loving family.

  • Sincere sympathy for you and your family. Holding you all in Love and Light. 💞💫

  • I was shocked and saddened to read of Dave’s passing. There are people in this world that we may not see often, but we’re happy to share the world with them. Dave was one such person. I enjoyed working him at Tetra Tech and participating on Relay for Life teams he organized. He was a kind and intelligent man.
    Lori, I hold you in the light. Dave will always be with you.
    Love, Juliana

  • Lorene,

    Thinking of you. May loving memories of him comfort you during his difficult time.

  • On behalf of the board and staff of PDE we send our heartfelt condolences to David’s family. We had the good fortune of working with David for many years. His passion for PDE’s mission was greatly appreciated and we will all miss his can do attitude and friendship.

  • I cannot believe I lost a true friend, and a respected engineer. His life was cut short by cancer. I was deeply saddened when I read the news on line when I lost a good friend. He will be deeply missed. My heart goes out to his family who is in shock about their son’s death. I know this is very painful!!! You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Yours Truly,
    Mark Mellian