APPLETON — David L. Ober, 67, died early Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., following a period of declining health.

Born in Camden, June 2, 1955, he was the son of Leland S. and Joan A. Rival Ober. David grew up on Islesboro, where he enjoyed what many would consider the idyllic life found only in a Maine island community. He loved the island and had many stories to share, like how he walked to school every day through a path in the woods which brought him past his grandmother’s house where he would stop every morning to get a treat. As well as stories of innocent mischief, including flying with a local pilot under a telephone wire and, after getting his license, figuring out where the one police officer was sitting in wait each night and then deliberately driving by a few times at 5 miles under the speed limit.

He attended Islesboro schools and was a 1973 graduate of Islesboro High School, where his class totaled five students. Though he always admitted he didn’t really like school, he did enjoy recess and playing basketball throughout his high school career.

Shortly after graduating, he ventured off “to see the world,” as he often told it, and moved to Ocala, Fla. He worked there on a horse ranch, an endeavor which lasted three months until David decided that maybe the grass wasn’t greener on the other side of the fence and that nothing came close to his mother’s cooking.

After driving himself home, he returned to Islesboro where he worked with his father learning the trade in his building and construction business. In the mid 70’s he moved to the mainland and continued to gather skills in the building field, working for Les Harvey, Carl Wood and Mickey Weaver before venturing out on his own.

In 1978, he began his own business, David L. Ober Builders, and was noted for having built many area homes. He was well known for not only his skill and exceptional craftsmanship but for also being “one of the honest ones.” His daughter remembers running into a former customer of his who stated that not only did her father do a wonderful job but he was the only person he’d ever worked with who sent him a check after the work was completed due to overpayment. In 2010, he took on a partner, Heath Barrett, and together they formed Ober & Barrett Builders. David formally retired from the construction business at the end of 2020.

Never one to sit idle, in preparation for his retirement he bought commercial property on Rt. 90 in Rockport, which he added to and renovated to include rental space and storefront opportunities. After acquiring one manlift, he acquired several others and started a manlift rental company. He also continued to work in the excavation field. As the saying goes: he was busier in retirement than before.

In May of 2022 he began teaching his daughter the art of entrepreneurship and worked tirelessly over the summer, while still fighting his medical battle, to teach her the ropes of the manlift company and commercial rentals. He spent many hours sitting in his freightliner with her, patiently teaching her how to drive, and never complaining once of whiplash.

He served his community in many quiet ways and served as a member of the Rockport Fire Department for years where he was promoted to lieutenant.

He loved any sort of fishing or hunting, but never went hunting again after his son passed in 2001. In the early 2000’s he decided to take on a new challenge and taught himself how to build his own tuna fishing boat and try his luck at this new sport. He loved being on the water and spent many peaceful hours with family and friends on the waters of Maine. After obtaining his captains license, he enjoyed sharing this passion and taking folks out on fishing excursions.

True to his island roots, he was a lover of all seafood, but especially lobster; eating lobster could be considered one of his favorite things to do. He also got a kick out of teasing his Aunt in Virginia by sending her a photo of his dinner whenever he had lobster, an ongoing joke for the two of them. As much as he loved to tease her, he also made sure there was a huge lobster feast for her whenever she made it to town.

His daughter remembers her father as a “wealth of knowledge” and someone that others would seek out just to get his advice or opinion. He was always willing to share and help in any way he could.

David had a dry Maine sarcasm, which sometimes left his listeners laughing or wondering what he had just said. He kept that sense of humor right up until the end, even taking a call from his own personal lobster dealer while in the emergency room, telling that person, “I guess I won’t need any right now.”

David, whenever able, could be found having morning coffee with the guys. Most recently, his favorite spot was Tolman Pond Market. There was a time that this ritual took place at McDuck’s and even further back at the Rockport Diner. These morning coffee “meetings” always lead to lifelong friendships that he cherished.

In 2001 David married his wife, Janice, and together they built a home in Rockport; before purchasing property on Sennebec Lake where they loved to host family and friends. Before his illness they could often be found on the sandy beach enjoying the sun and relaxing.  In later years they loved camping, or as his friends and family affectionately called it, “glamping.” David and Janice loved to explore new places, especially Arizona. But their favorite spot in Maine was in Downeast Jonesport.

Other than his parents, David was predeceased by his son Adam Ober; his siblings, Donald and Diane Ober; and his business partner, Heath Barrett. He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Janice Widdecombe Ober of Appleton, his daughter, Tina Ober Murray, and her husband Chris and their children, Grayson and Oriana of Rockport; two stepdaughters and their husbands, Betsey and Adam York and their children, Jacob and Lauren of Dawsonville, Ga.; Carrie and Jestin Merchant and their children, Mason and Hadley of Connor; the mother of David’s children, Dee Weaver Ober of Rockport; several nieces, nephews and close cousins as well as extended family members.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, and attend a celebration of David’s life at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26. Both will be held at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. Interment will follow in Seaview Cemetery, Rockport.

While flowers are welcome, those who wish may make memorial contributions to the Save Maine Lobsterman program online at or by mail at, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, 2 Storer St., Suite 203, Kennebunk, ME, 34043.

To share a memory or story with David’s family, please visit their online Book of Memories at