David Stephen Lautner
Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1931, David lived in the Pensacola, Florida area for more than 80 years where it’s easy to see his impact from the beautiful homes he built for families across the area.
He was called to be with his Lord April 14, 2019. He was a man of faith, a steadfast Christian and member of Olive Baptist Church, where he attended in later years after being a leader at Smyrna Baptist and Plainview Baptist Churches.
He is preceded in death by his father, Ernest Lautner, mother, Mildred Lautner, and sister, Hope Mertins, nee Lautner.
David is survived by his loving wife of over 64 years, Barbara Kay Lautner, nee Jones, by their three daughters and their spouses, Susan Dianne Rollwagen and husband Mike Rollwagen, Stephanie Kay Chapman and husband Eric Chapman, Kimberly Joy Harmon and husband Michael Harmon and by his brother, Max Lautner.
David is also survived by his nine doting grandchildren who loved their “Poppa” very much, including Susan’s daughters, Carrie Rollwagen Marbut and Courtenay Rollwagen, Stephanie’s daughters Melissa Svirida, Angela Kochobay, Rachel Ryden and Kristen Kelley, and Joy’s children Robert Blaine Lautner, Rebekah Harmon and Stephen Harmon. Fun memories of “Poppa” will continue to be shared with his six great-grandchildren: Melissa’s daughters Alison and Sofia Svirida, Angela’s children Evelina and Nathaniel Kochobay, Rachel’s daughter Milena Ryden, and Kristen’s daughter Rooney Kelley as well as Blaine’s sons Wyatt and Hayden Lautner and Jaxson David Lautner, David’s namesake.
David grew up in the 1930s, the baby of the family, teased for the charm his disarming smile had on adults. He worked hard on the family farm near Pine Forest Road and played football at J.M. Tate High School. From a young age, he was fascinated by the way things worked, and continued into his 80’s to reassemble and reimagine toys and tools.
David earned a football scholarship to Perkinston Jr. College and negotiated that into a photography scholarship, when he realized “those Mississippi boys were bigger on the field!” David’s interest in photography translated to his core duty when he joined the Navy in 1952 and met his future wife, then Barbara Jones, through a letter writing adventure; their romance was quick to begin, and it endured through the years.
David always looked for ways to care for and be kind to Barbara, “My Bride,” as he always called her, and she responded by caring for him throughout his life. All the way throughout their relationship, even as he grew weaker and unable to walk, David would hold Barbara’s hand, look at her lovingly, and tell anyone listening how much he loved his bride and their life together.
He graduated with a BS in building construction from the University of Florida in Gainesville, where his and Barbara’s first daughter was born.
Returning to Pensacola, David took over the business his father Ernest started, Lautner Homes. It later become Lautner Construction and endured for over 30 years, during which most family members took a turn learning practical skills and a work ethic at his side. His willingness to accept people without pre-judgement fueled diverse relationships throughout the community as he partnered with craftsmen and owners to build the custom homes that had filled their dreams.
Into his own homes, in Ensley and Woodbine Springs in Pace, hundreds of people responded to the creative hospitality that gave David pleasure as he and Barbara made constant efforts to make others feel valued.
David Lautner would unwaveringly call his family his greatest achievement. He prayed for each one of them every day at Barbara’s side, and they remember him as the personification of love, acceptance and contentment. They will miss his giggle, his uncanny ability to sketch and build anything they dreamed of, and the delight he took in their successes and their company, and they will strive for their whole lives to be a credit to the family he built.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, April 27 at 2:00 in the auditorium of Azalea Trace Retirement Community; 10100 Hillview Drive, Pensacola, FL 32514.
Memories of David are welcomed by the family at the email, email@example.com. Instead of flowers, the family requests David be honored through contributions to one of his children’s non-profit ministries, EurAsian Baptist Mission or WordWalk: Checks to David Lautner Honorarium, 6847 N. 9th Avenue, Suite A #177, Pensacola, FL 32504