In Memory

David L. Bermes

David L. Bermes


David Bermes

David L. Bermes, (72), of Alton, Illinois passed away on October 2, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.

David, who went by Dave (and never David!) and was fondly known as Papa Dave in his music circles (shout out to all those who worked and/or performed with him) and PawPaw to his grandchildren, was born to Paul Atchley, Sr. and Janie Cochran on June 6, 1951 in Kansas City, Missouri but was raised by his adoptive parents, Mr. Ernest and Melba Bermes in Alton, Illinois. Dave graduated Alton High School in 1969 and went on to study Music and Electronics in college. Dave was a born sax man, starting to wail at the tender age of ten. He became an extremely talented professional jazz musician, specializing in woodwinds and more narrowly the saxophone. In other words, he was a saxy man. In his lifetime, he was a veritable jack of all trades, among them: professional photographer, carpenter, instrument repairman, and successful musician performing at various establishments in and outside of his hometown of Alton. In his free time, he enjoyed gardening, fishing, yard saling, and, most notably, golfing. He was a man who was always up to par, and, on a good day, way under!

Always a glutton for starting pet projects, he just had less of an appetite for finishing them! As we all do. But one project he did indeed follow through with was bringing up his kids right and being the best, loving father and grandfather out there. A man of many dreams and ideas, like everyone, life got in the way. He had always professed his desire to see the ocean, and that goal was finally checked off his bucket list in 2017, as you will see in his picture.

Dave had a knack for keeping the conversation going and going and going and going. He definitely gave the Energizer Bunny a run for its money! He read a lot and loved to teach his kids all he knew, more than they ever expected! Popular Dave-isms that will be passed on to the next generation include: “Whatever it takes”, “Don’t say I never gave you anything”, “Mark my words!”, and “You’re the boss, applesauce!”

Dave is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Jeanine Bermes; his three daughters, Marie, Emily, and Margaret Bermes; sons-in-law, Todd Ritter and Patricio Sánchez Marcos; daughter-in-law, Tory Davidson; and his four grandsons, Tegan and Tate Ritter and Henry and Peter McCadden. Those preceding his death are his adoptive parents, Mr. Ernest and Melba Bermes, son Timmy Bermes who died at birth, and stepson, Joshua Henson.

Per Dave’s wishes, there will be no services at this time, but there will be a celebration of life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the not-for-profit organization, Jazz St. Louis in honor of his great love for jazz.

Next time you hear a sassy saxophone, raise a toast because you can be sure it’s Papa Dave riffin’ away. So, let’s swing, boy, swing!

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10/21/23 11:56 AM #1    

"E" Wilson Burdorff, Jr.

I was in band with Dave at AHS.  Yeah, he could play a mean sax.  What I specifically remember is the delight in his laughter.

My condolences are offered to his family.

May he Rest In Peace.



10/23/23 02:20 PM #2    

Philip H. Jones

We used to call him "Shoes" Bermes (after Boots Randolph). We played in many bands together

 In and out of high school.  We will miss you!

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