In Memory

David "Dave" Figari, Jr.

David Dave Figari, Jr.

David Figari

FEBRUARY 16, 1939 – AUGUST 1, 2020

David Figari, age 81, of The Woodlands, Texas passed away on Saturday, August 1, 2020.

David was born February 16, 1939.


Private Visitation

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


7801 Bay Branch Dr
The Woodlands, TX 77382


Private Rosary Service

1:00 pm - 1:30 pm


7801 Bay Branch Dr
The Woodlands, TX 77382


Private Funeral Service

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


7801 Bay Branch Dr
The Woodlands, TX 77382


David Figari

FEBRUARY 16, 1939 – AUGUST 1, 2020
Under the care of Forest Park - The Woodlands Funeral Home

David Figari Jr, better known as Dave, passed away at the age of 81 on August 1st, 2020 at home in The Woodlands, Texas.
Dave was born on Galveston Island on February 16th, 1939 to Dave Figari Sr and Theresa Junemann Figari who raised him to be a giant among men. Dave attended and played football at SMU and Sam Houston State University to become an educator. He was a teacher and coach, quickly becoming a principal and administrator. His devotion to his students and staff dictated every decision he made in his over 40 year career in the school business.
Dave loved hunting, fishing, golfing, and football, but there is nothing he loved more than his recliner and his family, especially his grandkids.
Dave, or the Big Fig as so many knew him, is survived by the love of his life, his precious wife of 58 years, Ruth Ann Scaperlanda Figari—who he went to the 8th grade carnival with and knew he was going to marry on the 3rd date. DAD is being remembered by his 4 children and their spouses. PAPA will be forever loved by his 14 grandchildren and 3, almost 4 greats! And BROTHER will be forever missed by his siblings "mate" and "sissy"
Due to social distancing efforts, there will be a private mass to honor Dave's life. We wish more than anything that all who have ever encountered him could be there to celebrate. Go to to find the link to streamed services on Wednesday, August 5th
Please send donations to 
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in lieu of flowers to keep Dave's love for the kids flowing, and have a beer and some Blue Bell ice cream in fond remembrance.


Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 4, 2020.

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08/02/20 09:20 PM #1    

Steven Royce Furber (1970)

Sorry to hear of the passing of Coach Figari. The football guys remember him as our coach on the Freshman team that first and last year at Memorial. I broke my wrist in the first game of the season and he went to the hospital with my parents and I, and stayed until we left.A class guy.

08/03/20 11:19 AM #2    

Kimberly Ford (March) (1980)

Ruth, I'm so very sorry to hear about Dave's passing. He was one of my favorites at Westchester. I'll never forget his smile and sincere caring about all of us. God's Blessings and Prayers coming to you and your family. 
Kim Ford March


08/03/20 12:13 PM #3    

Paul Prentiss Smith, III (1973)

I'm so sad to say goodbye to Mr. Figari. He was a man who truly cared about his students and their success. He took a lot of grief from some of us in the Journalism department for our choice of feature stories, but he always treated us with respect and encouraged us to spread our wings. He and Miss Ruth Ann enjoyed staying connected to former students and their love and friendship was forever. Enjoy your reward Mr. Dave.You are now in the very presence of our Lord!

08/03/20 04:18 PM #4    

Pamela Ann Mudd (Conlan) (1973)

Posted on behalf of William "Bill" Franklin 

My condolences to Dave's family and friends. I have many memories of him, mostly positive. He approved many of my unusual requests, and at least didn't fire me when I went ahead without approval. One of those was a request for a door between the two physics rooms, so that Julia Cox and I could exchange apparatus and students easily. After months of waiting for answer, I just removed a section of cabinets and sawed a door sized hole in the wall. Word got around, and someone came to inspect. A door was installed a few weeks later.

We were at loggerheads for a while over my beard. It was stiff black and curly. To keep it from looking like a five o'clock shadow, which wasn't fashionable then, I had to shave really close, frequently nicking myself. I let it grow out during the summer, while attending graduate school in WA state. I think it was 1970 that I decided to just leave it all year. This was the first beard in Spring Branch, and it caused all sorts of consternation. I was advised to shave it by various district people, including Dave. The first time he called me to the office, I just told him that the contract only required teachers to be “neatly groomed.” In another week or two, he called me back, and again insisted I shave. This time I told him that the way I saw it, if God had intended for me to have a beard, He would have made little hairs grow on my face. Dave was speechless, and I left.

The resolution came a week or so later. I had to take something to the science supervisor at the Ad building. Knowing that the Superintendent of personnel, Elmer Hinkle, had been conducting the anti-beard campaign, I avoiding going past his office by entering by the back door, although the stair I needed to take was much nearer the front door. Before I had gone very far down the central hallway, Hinkle entered the other end of the hall. There was nothing to do but continue. Just as we were passing he grumbled “I thought you were going to shave this year.” I said “No,” then after thinking a few seconds, turned around and said rather loudly, since we had each taken a couple of more steps by then, “This year I'm going to bathe.” It cracked him up; he was literally bent double laughing. I turned up the stairs to make my delivery, and I never heard another word from anyone afterwords. I had heard that there talk of adding a beard prohibition to the contract, but that didn't happen. I think my reference to bathing made him consider how difficult it would be to specify such things.

Well, I did get computers, and even a trial class of a new physics course meant to appeal to non science/engineering inclined students. That class, drawn from honors English classes, outscored the honors physics classes on the same final exam, and we subsequently adopted the book for all of our physics classes. When I became department chair, I was appalled by the scheduling, which had teachers switching back and forth between different subjects, such as biology and physical science, with no time between to change out lab equipment. The councilors were starting with the biggest enrollments, like English and social studies, and just stuck science in the remaining slots. I got permission to schedule science first, since we had many teachers with two subjects, and many subjects had only one or two classes. That made life much easier for the science faculty, without any real disruption elsewhere.

I know that football was his first love, but Dave did appreciate and foster the academic excellence that was evident across the board at Westchester. I was sad to see the school closed. I was proud of the students, the faculty, and the administrators there.

08/04/20 02:03 PM #5    

Candace Gay Hibbard (Lillie) (1972)

I am afraid that what I remember of Mr Figari was that parents called him 'criminally insane'.... I am working on kind words to say. I did kiss him at graduation as he handed me the diploma, mostly because of the irony. Still seeking the photographic evidence. (There are so many of us - I am H, the remaining pile of diplomas on that table are only a portion of only one night of our two-night graduation ceremonies) 

To Mr Figari's credit, I DO think it was his obsessive enforcement of the dress code that taught me that injustices MUST be corrected at the highest level - if justice is to prevail, unfair laws must be changed.


08/04/20 09:06 PM #6    

Dennis McGuire (1972)

Wow, Mr. Figari was just the perfect principal for our school at that time, the late 1960s through 1970s.  Tough and imposing but not frightening.  I was never hauled in front of him for any disciplinary reason, but I remember how he carried that air of authority and respectability as he walked through the halls.  How I wish schools today had a fellow like him as their principal.

Over the years, I've forgotten so many other staff members and faculty but I've always remembered Mr. Figari exactly as the photo above showed him in those days.  I've tended to think of him as a father figure for us in those days, but the reality is that he was only 15 or 16 years older than we were.  What a wonderful obituary written for him in the paper today.  I would love to have known him in my adult years.

08/06/20 11:45 AM #7    

Carol Sussky (Gilley)

I taught at WHS from the fall of 1976 until 1985; it was an honor to teach at my alma mater.  Mr. Figari was a great principal.  I could never call him "Dave."  Yes, he was strict, but he also backed you if the situation called for it.  One year, one of my seniors went to Mr. Figari to complain that I was forcing him to come back during those last days when seniors are normally off.  Of course, when Mr. Figari called me into his office, I was scared to death....."the principal's office!"  I explained that these seniors in my Chemitry AP class had the option to keep working on their lab unknown for a few days if they wanted to improve their grade.  Or, they could accept their grade as is.  Mr. Figari said, "No problem.  I kind of thought it was something like that."  The 9 years I taught at WHS were the best of my 37 teaching career.  I wish for peace and comfort for Mr. Figari's family during this sad time.  Carol (Sussky) Gilley WHS class of 1968.

08/07/20 12:21 PM #8    

Lauri Lynn White (Ramsey) (1977)

In high school (1973-1977), my participation in both Junior Achievement and Vocational Office Education set the trajectory for my career.  It dawned on me that, after choosing the elective as an Office Aid, working in Mr. Figari’s office was my first internship in a career in administration. 

I am the most unlikely of my classmates to have helped to coordinate reunions for 30 years, or refer to our principal as “my friend,” because I was more “the observer,” than fully present in high school.  Even while his aid, I kept a healthy distance.  When I finally gathered my courage to enter his office to advocate for a friend (with much encouragement from his secretary, Mrs. James, who promised that he wouldn’t bite), I was sweetly surprised by his sincerity and compassion.

I realize that we may have been on the same campus, had the same teachers, classmates, and principals – and that our perspectives are unique, but I had the advantage to observe our principal daily.  I found him to have unwavering integrity, strong ethics, joy in family & career, fiercely protective of students & staff, pleasure & confidence in his staff, “giddy” for hot, fresh donuts, a wonderful, contagious laugh & sense of humor, and tremendous compassion for others.  Mr. Figari was an amazing man.  I can honestly say, with absolute confidence, that our principal loved us as if were his own children.  His legacies are all of us, and our successes.  Our principal, and his amazing staff at Westchester, invested in us and got us started off in the right direction for our future.

Fast forward to 1997 – our 20th class reunion.  By this point, Mr. Figari has had thousands of “kids,” but immediately recognized me when we met eyes from across The Houstonian ballroom.  We ran together for a long bear hug, like one of those old Kodak commercials!  When it came time for our group photo, Mr. Figari came to stand right beside me.  This gigantic-hearted man made his former student feel…so special.  I suspect he did the same for many of you reading this.  Although he was never “Dave” to me, he became my friend at that particular event – and after, as he was able, he cheerfully attended every Westchester gathering that I invited him to. 

Our 40th class reunion rolled around in 2017.   

And then came Hurricane Harvey…

Mr. Figari and I spoke by phone and he wasn’t certain he would be healthy enough to attend the reunion.  Although it clearly took everything in him to attend, he surprised me!  I directed Mr. & Mrs. Figari to the professional photographer to have their portrait made, and Mr. Figari called me over to be included in a picture with them as well.  When it came time to take the group picture, I wanted him to sit right next to me, just as he had been 20 years prior. 

Mrs. Figari discretely gave me a little pink-tissue-wrapped treasure, while Mr. Figari looked away in tears…  With all sincerity, Mrs. Figari told me that Westchester had been her husband’s “Camelot” ~ the very best days of his career.  In the tissue, he had given me his own Westchester paperweight.  Guess who is crying now?    

It has been an incredible blessing to assist in planning reunions – to facilitate the opportunity for my classmates to reconnect and, in some cases, make peace with old friends and, for me, to no longer be “an observer,” but to enjoy new friendships with my classmates.  It was completely amazing, and the greatest reward, to have my principal, his wife and our teachers attend, and consider them my friends as well.

When I take the paperweight in my hands, I will always treasure the memory of my principal and friend.

Apart from “likes & comments” on Facebook, I had not reached out to Mr. Figari in quite some time.   But, God put Mr. Figari on my heart so strongly on June 3rd.  I’m thankful for that God-nudge because I had the opportunity to tell him again how much I respected him and loved both he & Mrs. Figari.  If there is anything at all positive about this “season of COVID-19,” it is to realign our priorities, draw nearer to God, and to love one another.

 I will miss Mr. Figari so very much.  He had a strong faith in the Lord and lived his life for him.  I am grateful that this isn’t the end of his story.  I look forward to a bear hug again one day. 

With respect, love & appreciation,

Laurt (White) Ramsey 1977

08/07/20 02:11 PM #9    

Pamela J. Haymes (Graham)

I taught Government & Economics from 1971-1974 at WHS after my 1st job in HISD. I'm an SBHS grad, so I was glad to be back in the District. Westchester was a dream job!

I appreciated Dave as a principal and his support. His strict enforcement of the dress and hair code helped me teach a valuable lesson to my students about rules - break them and you pay the consequences and, if you don't like a rule, work to change it. Icouldn't however, dispute one studen'ts argument that his clown wig was probably more distracting that his real hair.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Figari!






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