June 12, 2023 at 9:58 a.m.
David Norbert Mullenbach was born on Sept. 13, 1943, to Chryst and Mildred (Frein) Mullenbach in Rochester, the sixth of 10 children. He grew up and attended school in Stewartville, graduating in 1961. After high school, Dave served in the U.S. Army. He attained the rank of Specialist 4th Class and was stationed in Germany. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1963 and returned to the Albert Lea area. He attended Austin Area Vocational School from September of 1963 to June of 1966, studying electronics. He finished at the top of his class and was even offered a job as an electronics instructor but decided to work for International Business Machines.
While attending school, Dave was united in marriage to Sandra Light in 1965. From this union three children were born. The family made their home in Albert Lea. Dave worked for IBM for 36 years as a resident customer engineer with his territory including southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. At one time he was promoted to field manager in 1975 and moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota but after only two years resumed his previous position to be able to spend more time with his family. Dave was awarded six IBM Means Service Awards during his time at IBM.
Serving his community was very important to Dave. He served two terms (eight years) from 1998-2006 as a Freeborn County Commissioner where he served as chairman three times as well as sitting on several committees while serving. Dave was a member of the Albert Lea Township Fire Department from 1971 to 2001 serving as chief for 20 years. He also served the Freeborn County area as the chairman of the South Country Health Alliance Board 2005-2006, board member from 2018-2023 at the Freeborn County Historical Museum, and trustee for the Albert Lea Health Care Coalition 2016-2023. Dave was also a member of St. Theodore Catholic Church, Kiwanis Day Breakers of Albert Lea where he had 37 years of perfect attendance as well as serving as president 1984-1985, American Legion Post 56 serving as commander 2009-2010 as well as Legionnaire of the Year in 2012.
When Dave had free time, he enjoyed fishing, camping, singing karaoke and playing cards. Some of his favorite pastimes were tinkering and fixing things, spending time at the cabin, and working on old cars and tractors and was a member of the Southern Minnesota Old Car Company Car Club. Above all, family was the most important thing to Dave. His grandchildren were especially important to him, and he attended as many of their activities as possible. Let's also remember how many homes Santa Dave visited during Christmas while delivering countless smiles and presents to many children and brightened families.
Dave is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sandra; children, Bruce (Laurie) Mullenbach, Alan (Jenine Koziolek) Mullenbach, and Julie (Todd) Ulve; grandchildren, Ben (Sheena) Meillier, Holly Day, Devon (Derrick Barnes) Mullenbach, Parker (Dominique Dabu) Mullenbach, Jaeda Koziolek, Whitney Mullenbach, Jordan Mullenbach, Alex Ulve (Mikaela Pannkuk), Blake Ulve, Casey Ulve, and Drew Ulve; great- grandchildren, Kensley Meillier, and Harper Meillier; many siblings and spouses, Marie Svee, Elaine Anderson, Marilu Mullenbach, Eugene (Katie) Mullenbach, Don (Sue) Mullenbach, Tom Mullenbach, Susie Pehl (Ron), and Karen Holden.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Chryst and Mildred (Frein) Mullenbach; infant grandson, William Mullenbach; brother, Melvin Mullenbach; sister, Germain Blanchard; brothers-in-law, Duard Svee, Dick Blanchard, Harold Anderson, and Bill Holden; and sister-in-law, Pat Mullenbach.
Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home in Albert Lea assisted the family with arrangements.