Born on July 2, 1926, Dave was the youngest of Mooney and Frieda’s children. Growing up, he watched his father carve and forge knives in the workshop in the backyard. At the age of six, he created his first knife. Dave was cut from much of the same cloth of his father. His passion for knife making grew and by the time he turned eighteen, he forged his own Commando Knife and enlisted in the Navy. Serving in World War II sent Dave to the sea and he saw a lot of the Eastern World. Upon his return, he married his lifetime partner Joanne Carl Warther and together they had six children, of which Dave’s oldest daughter currently runs the museum. Although Dave was quieter, like his mother, he had visions just like his “pop.” He envisioned a museum, much bigger than the one room museum Mooney was filling quickly. He could see there was a need to expand the idea of a museum and tell the full story of not just steam history but the story of his father as well. Dave would spend the rest of his life creating, building, and sharing the story of his parents to people from just down the street to across the world.
From an artistic perspective, Dave had many talents, passions, and hobbies. He could carve and spent the time repairing a few of his dad’s works over the years as well as creating a few pieces for others. Knife-making was a large part of his life and he worked hard at building a business out of that. He spent time following the hobbies of his mother, mounting buttons after she passed away and designing the boards for new ones. Learning from her, he spent some time in the gardens, tending the flowers. Of course, he had a passion for railroading and collected many items, all of which are on site today like downtown Dover’s Telegraph Office, a 1926 B&O Caboose, and narrow-gauge steam engine. But most of all, Dave was an artist in designing a museum that told the incredible story of a man with nothing who created such a legacy that it withstands the test of time. After the passing of his father, Dave was able to keep the story alive; the spirit of his parents was still a part of every day life at the museum. In his own artistic right, Dave passed down a tradition that upholds our legacy as a museum.