Independents

David Ettinger of Bechdel Jewelers Dies at 69

IndependentsMar 28, 2024

David Ettinger of Bechdel Jewelers Dies at 69

He’s remembered as a “font of passion,” leaving behind a legacy of dedication to his craft and community.

David Ettinger
David Ettinger, the recently retired owner of West Virginia’s Bechdel Jewelers, died earlier this month at age 69. He is remembered as an instant friend and a dedicated craftsman.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated post-publication to include comments from Lori Ettinger, David Ettinger’s wife.

Inwood, W.Va.— David Evers Ettinger, longtime owner of Bechdel Jewelers in Inwood, West Virginia, died March 13.

He was 69.

Recently retired, Ettinger and his wife of 28 years, Lori Ettinger, were attending their final jewelry trade show, the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO) show in Dallas when he “passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully,” according to the family.

Another jeweler who also was attending the IJO show was arrested and charged in connection with the incident that led to his death.

The investigation is ongoing, with a police spokesperson telling The Dallas Morning News last week that the case will be referred to a Dallas County grand jury. 

Ettinger was born on Sept. 25, 1954, at Kings Daughters Hospital, and he graduated from Martinsburg High School in West Virginia in 1972. 

He was a master jeweler at Bechdel Jewelers, where he had worked since Lori’s father, Charles Bechdel, opened the store in 1975.

The couple became co-owners of the store when Charles retired and remained in the business until announcing their own retirement and the store’s closing last fall.

Lori said he loved being a jeweler. 

“There was no project he’d reject. Whether it was a precious piece of jewelry or an attached belt on a favorite dress. He never said no,” she said.

Ettinger was a member of IJO, the Retail Jewelers Organization, The Virginias Golf Association, Cress Creek Golf Club, and the Panhandlers Dinner Club.

“Dave was a very loyal and devoted member of IJO for nearly 17 years. He never missed an IJO show and traveled to Antwerp 11 times with his peers. His smile and warm personality made everyone around him feel special,” IJO President Stephen Barnes said.   

“Dave’s legacy will live on through the many lives he touched throughout his illustrious career in the jewelry industry. We at IJO will miss Dave, but he will always be remembered as a kind, gentle soul. May he rest in peace.”

His family remembers Ettinger as charismatic, becoming an “instant friend” to everyone he met, as well as a beloved member of his community.

“I never heard him raise his voice at anyone,” Lori said. “He was kind and always avoided any conflict in his personal life and our business.”

Ettinger enjoyed playing golf, skiing, traveling, savoring a good beer, and spending time with friends and family.

He also loved relaxing at his beach house, where he enjoyed spotting dolphins, collecting seashells, and helping baby sea turtles start their journey, the family said.

They described him as “a font of passion” who had genuine enthusiasm for his interests and hobbies, but also those of his friends.

“He loved life and wanted to live forever,” Lori said. “He was a loving husband, father, son, sibling and friend.”

Ettinger is survived by his wife, Lori; his daughter, Megan Lilly, and her fiancé, Bryan Paduano; his brother, Richard B. Ettinger, and sister-in-law, Carol; his sister, Deborah D. Carrier, and brother-in-law, Andy; and other family members.

Ettinger was preceded in death by his parents, Brooke E. and Rosalee L. Ettinger, and his father-in law, Charles.

A visitation for family and friends was held at Brown Funeral Home South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood on March 24. 

A funeral took place at the chapel the following day, officiated by Pastor Sandra Kline Mortimer. Interment followed in Pleasant View Memory Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to the American Heart Association or the Berkeley County Historical Society. 



Lauren McLemoreis the associate editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments.

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