David Elmer Morelli

Date of Birth

October 27, 1928

Date of Death

May 28, 2018

David Elmer Morelli – Sailor, Soldier, Acoustic Technician and Author of over 100 books – passed away peacefully on May 28th, 2018, in Santa Barbara.

David was born on October 27th, 1928, at the original Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He and his twin brother Johnny were born to John & Mae Morelli, who lived in Goleta. David’s father, John, was the grandnephew of the late Pio Pico, the last Mexican Governor of old California from 1845 to 1846.

In July of 1945, at the age of 16, David left home in search of high adventure and joined the U.S. Merchant Marines. While serving, he sailed on four different ships, the SS Dynastic, the SS Benjamin H. Grierson, the SS Surprise and the SS Murray M. Blum. During this period, he was able to explore many countries such as Italy, Philippines, China, Japan and Brazil.

In 1948, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed for Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Soon after, as an acting Staff Sergeant, he transferred to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Signal School for Telephone Communications training. Upon graduation from Signal School, he was transferred to the U.S. Constabulary, 97th Signal Battalion, “B” Troop, at Panzer Kaserne in Germany. While stationed in Germany, he met his future wife, Susie C. Binder. They married on September 16, 1950 and spent the next 53 years together until Susie’s death on July 17, 2003.

In 1951, they returned to the United States where David was stationed at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he went to work for the U.S. Navy in Indianapolis, working on high priority government contracts.

In 1953, David and Susie returned to Santa Barbara where he joined the U.S. Army Reserve. In November 1955, David re-enlisted and was stationed in Korea for 18 months where he served as a Supply Sergeant for the 8th Army, 181st Signal Depot. He returned from Korea in 1957, and was transferred to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. He went into training at Surface to Air Missile School (Ajax & Hercules) at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. After completing Air Missile & Nuclear Warhead School, he became an instructor in this field. David was promoted to Sergeant First Class (E6) and was discharged in March of 1962, serving a total of 12 years in the Army.

Upon returning to Santa Barbara in 1962, David went to work at Delco/General Motors in Goleta, in the Sea Operations Department as an Acoustic Calibration Specialist. While at Delco, he facilitated the building of four different laboratories: Acoustic Calibration, Transducer Development, Marine Science, and Radio Communications. He also worked on the Santa Cruz Acoustic Range Facility (SCARF) on Santa Cruz island. He retired from General Motors 26 years later.

You are invited to join his family for a Memorial Celebration of David on Thursday, June 21st at 12:30 pm at Emanuel Lutheran Church, 3721 Modoc Road, Santa Barbara. Reception to follow.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.