David Peter “Dave” Esser

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DANE–David Peter “Dave” Esser, 52, died tragically on April 17, 2023, due to injuries sustained in a car accident. He was born on Oct. 22, 1970, to Michael Peter and Kathleen (Bowar) Esser. 

Dave grew up in Middleton, spending most of his childhood time on the Esser family farm. He loved helping Gramps Gilbert Esser, Great Uncle Leo and Uncle Tom. Dave attended school in the Middleton Cross Plains Area School District and graduated from Madison Memorial High School. He then went on to technical school and received his degree in auto mechanics. Dave worked for Aring Equipment for 20+ years. He developed a love of driving and cars at a young age. If it had wheels and could go fast, he wanted to take it for a spin. Tread marks could be found in several parking lots and back country roads. He also enjoyed taking a motorcycle and snowmobile out for spin as well. 

Dave was not someone who liked to stand still, he wanted to be busy and have a purpose. His purpose and love of adventure became more real when his dad, Mike, told the girl working at the bar in Dane to go talk to him in 2014. Four years later, Dave and Jen were united in marriage on Oct. 6, 2018.  

Dave found his Olds 442, which began many car cruising adventures with friends and family to discover new hole-in-the-wall-bars, finding meat raffles or checking out beer tents. When Dave was not trying to find a good country road to be able to lay some tread on, he was busy with projects around the house as he always wanted to enhance or repurpose old items. 

Dave and Jen enjoyed traveling together and were able to go to California, Mexico (where he proposed to Jen), Las Vegas, Punta Cana, a Caribbean Cruise, Tennessee and San Antonio. Many of these trips included the Fantastic Five (Dave, Jen, Kathy, Carol and Kathy). They also took annual road trips to the HighGround in Neillsville. This was a special place to Dave as it honors those that served in the military especially his dad, Mike, and Uncle Jim and their fellow Army members. He also loved watching Packers games and "playing bags" at Peg and Doc's with friends and family. 

Dave was a kind soul whose family and friends were very important to him, and he would do anything he could to help them out when needed. He was not afraid of life and believed in taking chances because he never knew what the next day was going to bring. 

Dave is survived by his wife, Jen (Ripp); mother, Kathleen Esser; sister, Cori (Tad) Stepan; brother, Geoff (Tammy); nephews and niece, Kade, Trent, Zachary and Madelyn; father-in-law, Ken (Nancy) Ripp; mother-in-law, Bev Leonhardt; brother-in-law, Derek Ripp; sisters-in-law, Cassie Ripp (Pat Bailles) and Corinna (Ryan) Schell; nieces, Cailynn, Carleigh, Cadence and Camryn; along with many uncles, aunts, cousins and extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Michael P.; grandparents, Gilbert (Arlene) Esser and Roman (Dorothy) Bowar; uncle, Mike Bowar; and aunt, Doris Esser. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dane Legion Post No. 503, the Village of Dane Fire Department, or your local VFW Chapter. Dave's family will be eternally grateful to the Dane Fire Department for their quick response and action to Dave's accident back in 2011 and for their quick response to this tragic situation.

A funeral service will be held at Gunderson West Funeral and Cremation Care, Middleton, on April 26, 2023, followed by a celebration of Dave’s life at the Village of Dane Hall. Online condolences may be made at gundersonfh.com.

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