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Westmoreland

Mennonite pastor had a wide range of interests, talents

| Thursday, July 27, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

David W. Cressman pursued a wide range of interests in his life, with a concentration that made him a success, his family said.

“He was rather intense,” said Phebe A. Epp Cressman, his wife. “Very goal-oriented.”

Mr. Cressman also was adaptable, said his youngest son, Tim Cressman.

“He wasn't afraid to get dirty working, but then he'd come home, clean up and go to the orchestra,” he said.

David W. Cressman, 84, of Scottdale, died Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at home. He was born June 15, 1933, in Bloomingdale, Ontario, Canada, the son of the late Ivan and Alda Snider Cressman.

Growing up on a farm, he attended school only through the eighth grade, his son said. He took a job at a Seagram's distillery when he was 18. Over the next four years, he became interested in Christianity and read the Bible.

A Mennonite, he talked with the elders of his church, and they decided he should go to college, Tim Cressman said.

He was accepted on a probationary status, because of his eighth-grade education, at Goshen College in Goshen, Ind.

“His last year of college, he made the dean's honor list,” Mrs. Cressman said.

They met at college, where she was getting a degree to go with her nursing degree so that she could teach.

After graduating from college, he became an elementary school teacher but then decided to attend seminary, she said. He was the pastor at Holdeman Mennonite Church in Wakarusa, Ind., for four years.

During that time, he became aware of the Mennonite Publishing House in Scottdale, which printed and published religious education material for the Mennonite churches.

“They invited him to be a marketing manager,” she said.

He worked for the company for 17 years.

Mr. Cressman loved music and was a tenor for the Scottdale Heritage Singers and the Scottdale Chorale Society. He also loved sports, playing softball and hockey in Canada, and coaching Little League in Scottdale.

“He was a well-rounded person,” Mrs. Cressman said.

Buying rental properties as part of his long-term retirement plan, Mr. Cressman learned to make repairs and then became a self-employed contractor.

“He liked the process of a project,” his son said. “Getting the materials, making the bids, the calculations — he was very strong in math.”

One client interviewed about 25 contractors before picking Mr. Cressman to paint his Victorian-style house.

“Dad had these big, powerful hands,” Tim Cressman said. “He could just use his fingers to caulk the wood. ... Dad got the job because he was willing to do what the guy wanted.”

Many houses in Scottdale have Victorian trim, and Mr. Cressman was a popular choice when the owners needed someone to paint them, his wife said.

“He was good at painting and developing the coloring of these old Victorian houses,” she said.

His final big project, when he was 80, was to buy a house for $30,000, completely remodel it and then sell it for $120,000, his son said.

Mr. Cressman is survived by his wife of 56 years, Phebe; three sons: Michael B. Cressman of Stow, Mass., Jerold L. Cressman of Westford, Mass., and Timothy F. Cressman of Scottdale; and seven grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Frank Kapr Funeral Home, 417 W. Pittsburgh St., Scottdale. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. at the Scottdale Mennonite Church, 801 Market St. Interment will follow at the Scottdale Cemetery.

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, bbowling@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribBrian.

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