David Richard Rollins

February 22, 2020


David R. Rollins, 82, died February 22nd in Dubuque, Iowa. He passed peacefully in his sleep with his wife and stepchildren by his side. He spent his last days surrounded by many close friends, a testament to the deep and loyal relationships he developed throughout his life.

David was born in Stamford, New York on February 3, 1938 to Frederick F. and Helen (Smith) Rollins. In his own words, he deployed for military service on an aircraft in 1956 and returned by boat in 1959. David then went on to enjoy many years in New York City, where he was a friend and associate to many cultural luminaries of his generation. Family and friends fondly remember his stories of listening to Bob Dylan play on New York street corners, attending parties with Allen Ginsberg, and living in the same building as Trotsky’s bodyguard.  He often attended lectures at Columbia College. Later, David proudly contributed his memories of Paul Robeson visiting his childhood home to a cultural project at the University of Dubuque.

In 1967, David moved to Chicago, Illinois where he began a long career as a trainman for the Milwaukee Road/Soo Line. A true explorer with adoration for the outdoors, David travelled the country as a trainman, long-haul trucker, bus driver, motorcyclist, and bicyclist.  During his time in Chicago, he and his friends were involved in many social issues of the 60’s and 70’s, including anti-war, civil rights, and union causes.

On September 16, 1987, he married his wife Patricia Wuehle and became a significant part of her family. He never missed a chance to spend time with Pat’s children, their families, as well as Pat’s siblings and their families. David had many friends in Dubuque and he maintained close contact with his New York and Chicago people.  He was happiest when he was with friends and family telling stories.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Wuehle-Rollins, stepchildren Donna (David) Andresen and Randy (Debbie) Wuehle;  granddaughter Candice (Andrew) Morgan;  step-grandchildren Jennifer (Chad) Johnson, Jessica (Kevin) VanEngelenhoven, Jon (Alicia) Andresen, Emily (Jeremy) Ennis;  9 step-great-grandsons;  nephew Christopher (Connie) Rollins; great nieces Amy and Ally Rollins;  cousins Beth Lifgren, Leon (Marlene) Smith.

 He was preceded in death by his brother, Charles Rollins.

Memorial Service for David will be held Friday, February 28, 2020 at Leonard Funeral Home in Dubuque, IA.  Visitation will be from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.; Service at 1:00 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Habitat for Humanity.

David’s family would like to thank Ennoble Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Hospice of Dubuque caregivers and staff for all their compassion, friendship, and skilled assistance.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of David Richard Rollins, please visit our floral store.


February 28, 2020

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory
2595 Rockdale Road
Dubuque, IA 52003

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