David “Bearclaw” Abrams passed away in the comfort of his Kanab home with his wife Teresa and beloved pets at his side on April 12th, 2022. He was 81 years young. David was born in Newcastle, Indiana in December of 1940. He enlisted in the Navy out of high school. He worked at General Motors, was a Sheriff Deputy, trained horses, worked for Thoroughbred Genetics and St. John’s Medical Center, and help build planes at Aviat Aircraft.
Dave came to fully embrace his Native American heritage a little later in life, but so deep were his connections that he became known as Grandfather Bearclaw, a Cherokee Ceremonialist, Pipe Carrier, and a Sun Dancer. Of these, David identified with his Sun Dance and his Spirit Family as “The family you get to choose”. This reflected his spiritual connection to the Earth and all living things.
For David, the most meaningful work that closely aligned to his soul values was working for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as a caretaker in Angel’s Rest in Kanab, Utah. He conducted countless placements, openly and compassionately sharing of himself and his deep love of animals as he was “tucking them in”. Those three words truly captured his humility, his connection with the moment, and everything around him, and gave incredible comfort to those who were saying a very difficult goodbye.
David loved riding his Harley, traveling, playing golf, and kayaking with his wife, Teresa. He loved gardening - as long as it didn’t involve weeds. His hobbies in younger years were attending rendezvous, archery, tomahawk and knife throwing competitons, hordseback riding, four-wheeling, and snowmobiling in the mountains. He loved to make crafts.
David was preceded in death by his father Allen Dale Abrams, his mother Allene Fairchild Abrams, brother Fred Abrams, sister Phyllis Abrams, son Christopher Abrams who was killed in a car accident at 16 years old, and his adopted son Mike Henderson.
David leaves behind his wife Teresa Abrams; son Tom Abrams; stepdaughter Michelle Svedin; stepson Chris Jackson; and adopted sons Ken Conte, Tom Hardbaugh, and Matt Anderson. He leaves 13 grandchildren: Candice, Madison, and Lacey Lyons; Elvis and Layla Conte; Bella and Hailey Hardbaugh; Logan and Maia Anderson; Sarah Nelson, and Jake Henderson; and 3 great-grandchildren Nicholas, Christopher, and Eliana Nelson. David’s current pets miss his so - our dogs Sweetie and Bear, and Smokey our cat.
A Life Celebration memorial is being held Sunday, May 1, 2022 from 4 to 6 PM at Angel’s Landing in Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. The family would ask those who are willing to share their stories of how David touched their lives. A Pipe Ceremony will follow. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made in David’s memory to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Cremation was arranged with Mosdell Mortuary.