David Rees Tree


David Rees Tree, Jul 18, 1936–Sep 29, 2016


David Rees Tree passed away in West Jordan, Utah, on September 29, 2016. He was 80 years old. He was born to Ira Tree and Mae (Rees) Winters on July 18, 1936, in Wanship, Utah. David was just 8 years old when his father died in WW II. He was the youngest of 4 children.

David fulfilled a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the North Central States Mission. He taught and saw only two people baptized. One was a 9-year-old boy. That boy, with the help of many priesthood leaders, stayed faithful to the church and later became the Mission president to David’s grandson Ben.

David married his high school sweetheart, Roberta, in the Salt Lake City Temple on October 31, 1958, shortly after returning from his mission. They spent most of their 57 anniversaries handing out Halloween candy.

David graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. He then attended Purdue University, where he earned a PhD and was offered a position as a faculty member. Professor Tree’s research involved improvements in air conditioning and refrigeration as well as acoustics. At Purdue, he taught many different mechanical engineering courses, advised graduate students, served as an associate chair, worked in the contracts office, and organized meetings for ASHRAE. Most of his research was done in the Herrick Laboratories at Purdue. He remained in West Lafayette for 45 years.

In 1970, David was given the opportunity to take a sabbatical leave from Purdue. David, Roberta, and their 5 young children moved to South Hampton, England. David earned a post doctorate at the University. He served at church as a counselor in the district presidency while living there. While in England, the family traveled all over seeing the sights. During the last few weeks of the sabbatical, they traveled all across Europe in a little camper trailer being pulled by their car.

David loved BYU! Many a day he roused his children from bed by singing “Rise and shout, the Cougars are out!” He watched BYU football on TV at home and would often talk about his days there and want to hear about the goings-on of the grandchildren and his son on the campus. On the last weekend of his life, he wanted to hear about the BYU football game.

David had strong opinions, a feisty temperament, a passion for teaching, and a love for people. He loved to get to know people, to ask them questions, and to follow their lives. He would often stop at a restaurant or any other public place to talk to a complete stranger. He was honest in his expression of belief and opinion. He was a man of integrity. He would tell you if he did not want to do something, but if he said he would do it, it would be done.

After retiring, David and Roberta sold their home in Indiana and moved to West Jordan, Utah, to be close to family. They received a warm welcome there and made many new friends. Although they did not look back but forward, they clearly considered Indiana and their friends there to be a second family and their home.

David was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in numerous church assignments right up until his death. He served in Cub Scouts, Young Men’s, Elders’, and High Priests. He was Bishop of the Purdue Ward twice. He served 8 years as a Counselor in the Stake Presidency of the Indianapolis North Stake and multiple times on the high Council.

David was preceded in death by his father, mother, and sister Noreen (Keith) Turnbow. He left behind his wife, Roberta; sons, Alan (Rae) Tree, Dale (Karen) Tree; daughters, Robbi (Mark) Pixton, Becky (Mike) Pickard, Jane (Aaron) Walton; 21 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; sister, Stella (Stan) Welsh; brother, Ira (Janice) Tree. We will all miss David and know that we will be reunited with him.

Place of Birth: Wanship, Utah
Place of Death: West Jordan, Utah
Hobbies: He loved BYU; gardening; loved cookies and chocolate chips; camping
Occupation: College Professor/Mechanical Engineering