David Eric Distelhorst, 57, of Burlington, died on Sunday, December 31, 2017, at Great River Hospice House in West Burlington. Cirrhosis of the liver, which had been diagnosed in September, was the cause of death.
Born on March 9, 1960, in Burlington, he was the son of Milton and Phyllis McClaren Distelhorst. He grew up on the family farm in Jackson Township, northeast of Burlington.
David was a 1978 graduate of Mediapolis Community High School, where he was known as Supe -- short for "superstar" -- for his basketball and high-jump prowess. He later attended Southeastern Community College and the University of Iowa, ultimately receiving a bachelor's degree in history from Jersey City State College in 1991.
His intelligence and humor led to a career where he worked in retail sales, was an assistant trader with the financial-services firm Smith Barney, and worked as a political aide, including traveling with Sarah Palin during her 2008 vice-presidential campaign. But he usually described himself as a writer, and over the years he sold his writing to outlets as varied as the satirical website The Onion and Miramax Films (which has never produced the screenplay the studio purchased).
After leaving Iowa, he lived in New York City; Jersey City and Montclair, New Jersey; Warwick, New York; and St. Louis, Missouri. He moved back to Burlington in December 2016.
He was married for many years to the former Elizabeth Wihry, who was originally from Haverhill, Massachusetts. The marriage ended in divorce.
Survivors include his sister, Ann Distelhorst; his brother-in-law, Ron Givens; and his dog, Nikki, all of Burlington. He was preceded in death by his father, in 1993; his older brother, Thomas, in 2005; and his mother, in 2006.
The date and place for a gathering of David's friends has not yet been determined. Prugh-Thielen Funeral Home is in charge of cremation.