The community in Naperville, Illinois mourns the loss of David Szablewski, a beloved resident of 72 years who was both an accomplished accordionist and a retired Master Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps. David’s accordion melodies brought joy to countless gatherings and celebrations, while his military service illustrates courage and selflessness. Sadly, he passed away at his home on Sunday, July 23rd, 2023. Though he may no longer grace us with his melodies or stand tall in uniform, his memory will forever echo in the hearts of those who were touched by his life and his music.
Keep reading the article to know more about David Szablewski, including who he was, how he died, what was the cause of his death, tributes for him, and much more things!
Who Was David Szablewski?
David M. “Dave” Szablewski was born on December 8, 1950 in Naperville, Illinois with an inherent musical talent. Szablewski fell in love with the accordion at a young age. He dedicated countless hours to mastering the instrument, and his passion soon led him to perform at local events and gatherings. His enchanting melodies resonated with the community, and his performances became synonymous with happiness and celebration.
For over four decades, he became a fixture at festivals, weddings, and community gatherings, where he entertained and brought people together with his music. David’s love for the accordion extended beyond performances.
He was known for his generosity in sharing his skills with aspiring musicians, mentoring countless accordion enthusiasts of all ages.
With The Woodshop Boys, The Tiki Bar Band in VA Beach, and The Near Beer Band, he performed as the “Accordionist”. The “Tiki Bar Band,” the “Woodshop Boys,” OMT, and “The Near Beer Band,” all of which have performed at the Naperville Riverwalk, are among the bands he plays with and jams with. For vertical keyboards, he typically employs the Digital Roland FR7V Accordion.
His band plays a fusion of Country Rock, Old Time Rock & Roll, and Rockabilly. Since he left the NFD, he has been practicing and learning this long-lost instrument. He might even perform by himself at other occasions.
David Szablewski: A Master Gunnery Sergeant
In addition to his musical career, David Szablewski had another facet to his remarkable life – his dedicated service in the United States Marine Corps. Rising through the ranks, he reached the prestigious position of Master Gunnery Sergeant, an accomplishment that symbolized his steady commitment to his country.
David’s military career was defined by courage, leadership, and selflessness. Serving in various parts of the world, he faced challenges head-on and demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity. His fellow Marines respected him not only for his exceptional leadership but also for his genuine care for the well-being of those under his command.
Moreover, Szablewski retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2008.
He first enlisted in 1969 and served in the Vietnam War on active service for three years. In 1986, he reentered the Reserve Marine Corps. He was eligible for active duty in 1990 to support the operations of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Both in 2003 and 2004, he received a call to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went to Iraq twice. As an E-9 Master Gunnery Sergeant, he quit the Corps.
How Did David Szablewski Die? Cause of Death Explained
David M. “Dave” Szablewski, a retired master gunnery sergeant of the US Marine Corps and accordionist, died at home on July 23, 2023. He had spent 45 years living in Naperville, Illinois and was 72 years old when he took his last breath.
According to his family,
David Szablewski died at his home after a brave battle against pancreatic cancer. David’s fight against this aggressive disease was an inspiration to all who knew him.
The funeral arrangements for David Szablewski will be made public at a later time, according to the family. The arrangements will be handled by Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Naperville, Illinois.
The news of David Szablewski’s untimely demise was first announced by Ian Johnston through the Facebook post, and he also penned a heartfelt note for him, saying
“We became buddies after I first met Dave on September 12, 1969, the first day of Marine Corps boot camp. He completed his college education after his first four years in the Corps, returned, and eventually rose to the highest enlisted rank. Dave, who is in his fifties, was once the senior enlisted Marine in Iraq. Dave worked as a guide at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Virginia, after retiring.”
Tributes for David Szablewski
The outpouring of love and support demonstrated how deeply David had touched the lives of his fellow residents. Since David’s passing, many of them took to different social media platforms to confirm this news, and to pay tribute to him.
Chuck Wehrli posted on Facebook, saying “We have lost a fantastic friend and man. As a Marine, a firefighter, and an emergency manager, he dedicated his life to serving his country and the people in his community. I shall miss him since I was so happy to have him in my life.”
Joe Cantafio wrote something about him, “Dave was wonderful. A mountain-sized heart, fantastic sense of humor, and a deep love for America. Numerous individuals who knew Dave will miss him. He was an exceptionally skilled musician and a really modest person. He was such a courageous, strong man, and I loved him.”
In a post, Mary M Saunders mentioned, “I was deeply disappointed to learn that David Szablewski, a beloved friend of Karl’s Community, had passed away. Who thought an accordion player could perform Black Sabbath? I had the honor of being present at Fishers in May when he and his wife came to Virginia Beach and I got to meet him in person.”
The life of David Szablewski was one of melodies and bravery, as his accordion harmonies and military service left an indelible mark on the Naperville community. Through his musical talent and dedication to the United States Marine Corps, he touched the lives of many, spreading joy and inspiration wherever he went.
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