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1939 The String Man 2023

David Leslie Titus

August 8, 1939 — November 30, 2023

Lawton

David Titus, professional author and storyteller, died on November 30, 2023 after a sudden diagnosis of cancer. Dave, also known as “The String Man,” reached countless people and gave much of himself in his 84 years. It is difficult to fully convey his impact, but since Dave believed in the power of words, we will attempt to share some of his story...

Dave was born in 1939 in Bowling Green, Ohio to Edith (Belleville) Titus and Leslie “Les” Titus. Dave grew up in the small farming community with his two brothers Travis and Terrence, both now deceased, as well as cousins who were as close to Dave as siblings.

While attending Bowling Green State University to study library science, Dave met social work student Rebecca (Becky) Brittain. Dave and Becky married in 1962 and had three children: Shawn, Kevin, and Stacy. Dave’s first experience with service outside the country occurred when the family lived in Honduras for a year while Dave and Becky worked in an American school. For most of their marriage, however, they lived in South Bend, Indiana and in Rootstown, Ohio. After the marriage dissolved, Dave moved to Oklahoma and acclimated to the point that many folks assumed Dave had been an “Okie” since birth.

Dave’s biological family includes his son Shawn (wife Susan) and their two children Jacob and Rachel; son Kevin (wife Jennifer) and their two children Grace and Jack; and daughter Stacy (husband Graig) and their two children Graig Jr. and Brannon. When Dave spoke of his children and grandchildren, he spoke with love and pride for each one. Dave’s largest family, however, is his community of faith, storytelling, and recovery.

Dave had been involved in several churches throughout his lifetime, and much of his faith was expressed through feeding others. He regularly cooked for Redemption Church prison ministry, and he created a non-profit to feed those in need in Lawton. During the last few months of his life, he delivered food to blessing boxes in between medical appointments.

Dave’s first career was as librarian, but the seeds of his second career had been planted early in his adulthood. He always had a gift for storytelling, whether it was during story time at the library or at a gathering with friends and family. Dave dabbled part-time in professional storytelling in the 80s and was one of the founders of the Oklahoma Territory Tellers and an active member of the Texas Storytelling Association. When there was downsizing in the school system in which he worked, Dave took a leap of faith and decided to leave library work and conduct storytelling full-time. This was a risk that led to the next chapter in Dave’s life and some of his greatest adventures.

Dave traveled around the world telling and collecting stories. In his early travels, Dave recognized the cross-cultural impact of string figures, and he began incorporating string into his work. Dave frequently visited refugee camps and donated strings, knowing that the ability to carry belongings was limited. He visited Tibetan refugees in Nepal, Pakistani refugees in Cairo, Liberian refugees in Ghana, nomadic tribes in Mongolia, and leprosy hospitals where string figures were incorporated into physical therapy to improve circulation.

Dave created String Ministries, Inc. and published his first video in 1997 titled “String Magic From Around the World” and later published a series of Christian videos including “String Fun with the Parables.” He also published soft cover books, including “Native American String Figures,” “African String Figures,” and “Native Alaskan String Figures” – all with a focus on respecting the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples. Dave has entertained and educated audiences across six continents from the frozen Arctic to the Sahara. With a piece of string and a thread of a story, he was known to capture his audiences - young and old. Dave was never without a string, usually one on each wrist.

Within the recovery community, Dave was considered internationally famous. He worked hard to reduce stigma against addiction around the world, and through his efforts, recovery chapters were created for the first time in some countries.

Dave’s family would like to express condolences to those who lost a sponsor, mentor, or friend. We hope that Dave’s impact on others is not lost, and that his memory may be a blessing.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday January 5, 2024, at the First United Methodist Church in Lawton at 2602 NW Ferris Avenue. The service will be led by Reverend Lory Fahle of Redemption Church, with food and fellowship immediately afterwards.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the non-profit Territory Tellers (PO Box 548 in Jones, OK 73049), Redemption Church (PO Box 3402 in Lawton, OK 73502), or a 12-step recovery program of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David Leslie Titus, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, January 5, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

2602 NW Ferris Ave., Lawton, OK 73505

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