J. David Carey

Born in Cedar Rapids, IA
Born on Nov 14, 1952
Departed on Mar 25, 2024

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J. David Carey, 71, of Cedar Rapids, died Monday March 25, 2024, in Mercy Medical Center after a brief illness.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday April 3, 2024, from 4-7 p.m. at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life Service will be planned at a later date.

J. David was born on Nov. 14, 1952 in Cedar Rapids to John and Dorothy Carey. His extended family played a major role in founding and supporting the Cedar Rapids Community Theater. His father was in a play staged at Grant Wood’s art studio (where David would eventually live) and his aunts were heavily involved in Playtime Poppy. He attended Arthur and Franklin schools, and graduated from Washington High School in 1970. He started acting in Cedar Rapids Community Theater as a boy (his first role was in Auntie Mame) and was in numerous high school productions. He fondly referred to himself a “theatre jock.” He was a member of the Young Republicans (if you can believe it) and The Gambling and Gourmet Society (lots of gambling, no cooking).

J. David spent the summer after graduation biking across Europe with friends before entering Iowa State University. He majored in biology with the dream of being on television like Jacques Costeau. But, he soon discovered that science wasn’t as much fun as performing so he transferred to UNI and became a theater major (with a minor in biology). After graduation, he worked with Tim Boyle, Richard Barker and Nina Swanson in a popular improv comedy group performing around Cedar Rapids. He was also a member of the Post Script Ensemble, which did outreach for the Community Theater. 

He briefly pursued a professional acting career in Seattle and managed a touring theatre group in Minneapolis before returning to Iowa and earning an MFA in Arts Administration at the University of Iowa. He moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming and worked for the State Arts Council in the 1980s. David camped, hiked and fished in the wilderness and discovered rodeos, of all things. He even bought a pair of cowboy boots and a hat – always looking for a costume to fit the role!

He eventually moved back to Cedar Rapids and was employed as the Symphony’s Marketing Director for several years. He also volunteered at Foundation 2 answering crisis center phone calls where he met his fellow volunteer and future wife Alex. They moved into Grant Wood’s art studio at 5 Turner Alley. He then found his way back to the community theatre (TCR) where he became Marketing Director and pursued his love of theater by directing several plays. In keeping with the Peter Principle (David’s words), he eventually became the Financial and IT administrator for TCR.

In addition to working for TCR, David played a major role in establishing Cedar Rapids Counseling & Psychotherapy (a practice that included Alex and several other clinicians).  He also served as their trusted business manager, IT consultant and jack-of-all-trades for over 12 years.

David retired in 2018. In retirement, he and Alex took many senior classes at The University of Iowa and Coe College. They traveled to film festivals and attended many theater performances. David had a life-long interest in nature. He loved bird-watching, frog-counting (volunteered for the DNR) and he established prairie plantings in his back yard after the 2020 Derecho. They owned a cabin on a wildlife refuge on Lake Odessa, in southeast Iowa, where he and Alex (with cabin neighbors Cal and Lynne) spent much time canoeing, kayaking, hiking and sitting on the porch bird-watching.  Cal and David had a healthy competition as to who could draw the most goldfinches to their feeders. David always claimed to be the victor.

David was an adoring husband, a quietly kind and reliable friend, a trustworthy colleague, a witty and irreverent companion, and a treasured “Uncle Weirdo”, in the words of niece Jessica. He was one of the best. He will be terribly missed but always remembered.

David is survived by his wife, Alexandria Carey; his sisters-in-law Lynn (Craig) Hanna, Dawn Krambeer and Leah Strommer; his nieces Jessica (Scott) Carey, Sarah (Kyle) Hanna, Jordan Hanna, and Sydney Strommer; and his nephews Matthew Carey, David Hanna and Brandon (Jordyn) Strommer.

He was preceded in death by his parents John Frick Carey and Dorothy Murphy Keck, his brother Michael Edward Carey, his sister Peachie Carey (Dorothy Sophian Carey) and his niece Abigail Sophian Carey.  

Memorials may be directed to the family.