David Wayne Friesen

October 13, 2022

CHARLOTTE – David Wayne Friesen peacefully passed away Thursday, October 13, 2022 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in Charlotte, NC.  He lived with PD for 15 years and during that time lived the best life he could with the support of many friends and family.  David was born January 13, 1953, in Garden City, KS to Alfred W and Dolores (Ewert) Friesen and grew up in Hillsboro, KS.

David met his wife, Deborah, at Tabor College in Hillsboro, KS and they were married in 1973. He graduated from Wichita State University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. From 1975 to 1989 he worked in the family business, Friesen’s Jewelers, with several locations in Kansas.  During that time, he earned the title Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America in California.  In 1989, David and his family moved to Fresno, CA where he attended the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and earned the degrees of Master of Divinity and Master of Marriage and Family Therapy.  He then began a career as a marriage and family therapist and worked in Fresno until his health failed.  In 2016 he and his wife moved to Charlotte, NC, where he transitioned into higher levels of care.

David was a member of North Fresno Mennonite Brethren church in Fresno.  His desire was to serve the Lord through his occupation and his God given talents.  He was gifted with creativity that he expressed through his artistry and writing.  His artwork is displayed at the homes and offices of those who knew him well.  David was always very intentional about the relationships in his life.  He deeply loved his family, and was always fully committed to whatever he was involved in. 

David enjoyed playing the game of disc golf with his two sons and was instrumental in starting an annual disc golf tournament in Fresno to benefit the Michael J Fox Foundation.  He loved telling jokes and collected them in a large notebook so he would be ready for any occasion. David loved bringing humor to almost any situation.

David is survived by his wife, Deborah, of Charlotte, NC; sons, David Michael Friesen, of Crescent City, CA, and Matthew Friesen and his wife, Lisa Penner of Fresno, CA; daughter, Emilie Spillman and her husband, Dustin of Charlotte, NC; brother, Dale Friesen and his wife, Julie of San Jose, CA.  Also surviving are his many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and his dog Eddie, the most loyal Chihuahua you’ll ever meet.

The family is very grateful to the staff at The Citadel at Myers Park, for their compassionate care during the last year of his life. We also want to thank the Parkinson’s Disease support groups in Fresno and Charlotte for their years of dedicated advocacy, companionship and encouragement.

A memorial service will be held in January 2023 in Fresno, CA, time and place TBD.

Memorials may be offered in memory of Dave to the Mennonite Central Committee via their website at https://donate.mcc.org or on his tribute page with the Michael J Fox Foundation at

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