David Lee Saum David Lee Saum was born February 25, 1945 in Deadwood, South Dakota, to Carolyn Mae Saum. They moved to Tularosa, NM in 1948, where his mother married Clyde Green.
David attended school in Tularosa, where he earned the nickname Tuffy Green because he never backed down, nor walked away, from a fight. He worked at a dairy there part-time, where his amazing mechanical skills were first noted. His aunt had a hand-powered butter churn, and at age of seven David motorized it to be powered by a bicycle-like device. He was always tinkering and building things, and even got an old car running. David also proved in Tularosa that he could ride any horse. The only time he ever got bucked off was when the cinch strap broke and the saddle and all came off. When he hit the mesquite bush, he was still in the saddle.
David joined the Army in 1962 at age 17 and became a cavalryman. He served a tour in Germany, where he completed a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Frankfurt. It was one of many of his educational achievements. He also served in Korea, and while there he served three deployments in Vietnam, where he distinguished himself in battle enough to earn a Bronze Star. (He was submitted for a Silver Star twice, but a superior officer declined it.) He also was awarded the Nation's oldest medal, the Purple Heart, twice. Each time he served in Vietnam, he was injured in battle and his body bore the scars that proved he was a warrior and a survivor. He was one of the undocumented Prisoners of War from Vietnam, and managed to escape and return to his unit. He was also stationed Stateside at Ft. Sill and Ft. Hood. After he left active duty, David continued to serve in the Army National Guard and Reserves. He was never afraid to learn what he needed to achieve his next goal. He earned an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Law Enforcement from Navarro College so he could become a law enforcement officer. This led to his becoming a Sheriff's Deputy in Ellis County, Texas, and then a Police Officer in Waxahachie. While in Waxahachie, he worked for the public works department and was head of civil defense, where he was instrumental in setting up the tornado warning systems. Also in Waxahachie, he owned a construction/paving business, building roads, dams, livestock ponds. Later, in Ruidoso, New Mexico, he worked as a Deputy Sheriff. Still later, he became an EMT and a security guard at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. He also had a wood working shop in Ruidoso, where he and his wife invented the howling coyote cutouts with the scarf around its neck. At the same time, he also owned a very popular restaurant. He also lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he was a truck driver, an EMT driving for Superior Ambulance Service, and teaching EMT classes. He lived in Dexter, New Mexico while working in Roswell, where he drove a dairy delivery truck for LePrino Foods. Later, while still in Dexter, he got a job as a mechanical engineer at Christmas by Krebs. He designed and maintained a silvering machine that was much more efficient in the production process of silvering the Christmas ornaments. In November of 2003 he met his wife, Clarissa, and they got married March 20, 2004. Clarissa gave him the nickname of Bubba, and anyone who met them after they married knew him as Bubba. He was very active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW.) He helped many veterans navigate the maze of federal agencies to receive the benefits they had earned. VFW Post 8703 in Carlsbad NM elected him to Quartermaster and later Commander of the Post. He was also active in the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA,) Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and American Legion. He loved to help his fellow veterans any way he could, and he never met a stranger. Both in, and since, the Army he was a firearms expert. In Vietnam, he was a company sniper. After the Army, he continued to be a firearms enthusiast (some might say gun nut.) His wife, already an avid hunter and excellent marksman said, he made me a better shot. At one firearms class that he took to maintain his concealed carry permit, he deliberately shot a smiley-face pattern in the target. He was, of course, an expert sharpshooter in the Army. At one of his proficiency exams in the Army, he scored 100%. They thought he'd cheated somehow, so they made him do it again, and again he scored 100%.
Jack of all trades does not come close to describing Bubba. He owned many businesses throughout his long, busy life. He repaired appliances, built things, drove forklifts, ambulances and trucks. Among his notable employments includes Magistrate Judge in Texas, and race car driver. His son Neil says There is nothing he could not fix, do, or figure out. He was always learning and he retained everything he read and studied. David touched the lives of everyone he met. He delivered babies and saved lives. His intelligence and knowledge were unmatched by anyone. His sense of humor is legendary. His son Neil has a humorous voice mail from him: Get up and pee, the world's on fire! The local waitresses learned how to deal with him when they would deliver his food, just to see him stare at the plate and mutter that's not right. David would not touch it until they would turn the plate around so the food was on the correct side. One waitress, when taking his breakfast order, asked what kind of eggs he wanted, and he said chicken. On his very first date with Clarissa, he played a prank on her. What did she do to get even? Her answer is always I married him.
David loved the Lord and was a devout Christian. He taught Bible studies in the Baptist Church and Catechism in the Catholic Church. (Probably the only non-Catholic to ever do so!) He carried his New Testament in his pocket all through his military career. It was found when he was captured in Vietnam, but his Christian guard allowed him to keep it and spared his life. That guard also forgot to lock David's gate one night, allowing him to escape. He departed this life on September 25, 2020, at home, his wife Clarissa and his son Neil by his side. He was preceded in death by his step father, Clyde Green, his mother, Carolyn Green and his sister Sue Holmes.
David is survived by his wife, Clarissa Saum, and her two children, his brother Patrick Green of Belen, New Mexico, his son Neil Saum and his wife Michelle of Ovilla, Texas; by his daughter Karolyn Leslie and her husband Orlen, of Fairbanks, Alaska; his six grandchildren, Savannah Roundtree and her husband Aaron, Andrew and Breanna Saum, Aden, Afton and Madlyn Mae Leslie, and two step grandchildren, Victoria and Vance. His wishes were to be cremated and his ashes returned to his home state of South Dakota. At his memorial service, he wants to be remembered as the fun-loving warrior who made everyone laugh. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the DAV, Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion in his name.
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