Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
If you are around St. Barnabas during the week you may run into a quiet unassuming man wearing an In-n-Out Burger T-shirt who is busy fixing something on our unending to do list. This man is David Browe and he blesses us each week with his wisdom and Mr. Fix-it Skills. Since 2015, he has been the eyes and ears of Buildings and Grounds and the fearless leader of our Termites. His expertise, patience, and passion for restoring not only our space, but his treasured classic cars makes him a perfect candidate for our next Gallery Exhibit.
During a recent visit to David and Donna Browe’s home, I had the opportunity to learn more about his passion for restoring classic cars.
When David was 16 he began a summer job with Lakeside Appliances in Richmond, VA. He spent his summer installing window air conditioners and refrigerators. “I worked there all the way through college and the store owner was a wonderful man. When I graduated from college, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I had been doing appliance repair work – The first time he sent me out he said: “Take this truck and go out to this house and call me when you get there and I’ll tell you how to fix it” So that’s what I did, I fixed it over a land line. After a few months I quit calling as much and just did it."
A Perfect Pair
“The first time I was aware of Donna - I was cutting the grass at her parent’s house when I was 14. We started dating in HS and we dated for 7 years until we finished college. We graduated one week, got married the next week and went in the Army 4 weeks later. “
After he graduated from college, his boss said “look if you want to open your own appliance business, I’ll give you my work. So I opened an appliance store called Browe’s Appliance Service and I ended up in partnership with a couple of guys and we opened a retail store, next door, right next to my old boss, where we sold used rebuilt appliances and appliance repair. After 8 years I sold my share of that business and I went to work for Thermador as a field service manager. I had the whole Southern US East Coast - Maryland through Florida - Alabama, West Virginia - all of it, which meant I spent 2 years on airplanes flying around."
When a sales position opened up, "I went back and got my MBA because I realized in the corporate world I needed more skills to negotiate this side of the business.” With the help of Thermador funding, David began his MBA at University of Richmond.
“For 6 months I commuted back and forth from Los Angeles to Richmond because I hadn’t finished Grad School yet. I told them that I didn’t finish till May and they said they needed me in February so just commute. So I flew back and forth every 2 weeks and met my study group on Thursday night - Went to class on Friday and Saturday and then flew back to LA on Sunday.”
David worked in sales for 6 years and eventually became the Vice President of Customer Service and bought his first classic car for renovation - "In California I bought my first car at a swap meet, the 1965 Chevelle Malibu Super Sport Convertible"
David and Donna eventually moved to Cincinnati so that he could work with John Tisdell's Thermador business until his retirement in 2014. Donna added that she didn’t even see the house before they bought it here in Cinci - "he loved it because it was perfect for storing the cars in the basement."
It takes Patience
On gorgeous Sunday mornings you may pull into our parking lot and be greeted by a stunning ’72 Sunfire Yellow Olds Cutlass Convertible or a classic ’65 Chevelle Danube Blue Iridescent Convertible. Both beauties were lovingly restored to their showroom quality and reside at their home in Montgomery.
David's passion for cars began at a young age in his hometown of Richmond, VA where, much like Zacchaeus excited to see Jesus, he would climb a tree to watch the races. When he got older he was able to buy a ticket and eventually hang out with the crews on the track.
"I work on the cars in my basement. I drive them through the yard and when they're not running I actually have to drag them up the hill with a tractor and push them into the basement. David explained that he grew up in the car culture and that both of the cars he owns now were very similar to the ones he owned in the 60's. I asked him what he likes about restoring classic cars. "Well- you don’t do it for financial gain. I like the mechanical aspect of restoration, I like hunting for parts, I like the process." David and Donna have built great friendships in the Classic Car circle and continue to show the Chevelle every year.
"Oh yeah, I wanted to race but it's expensive. I never had enough money to race but I just hung around people who did! Demolition Derby is as close as I ever got. My kids would paint the cars all up with “Demo Daddy". One particular Derby there was a telephone pole in the perimeter where you crash and I started spinning the wheels because it was muddy. Finally the sea parted and I went straight across the area and ran up on the telephone pole. The car got balanced on top of the pole and wasn’t going anywhere so I was eliminated right off the bat. The doors were welded shut so I had to climb out of the window."
After spending time with David and Donna and listening to their journey I walked away thinking about how each of us has an opportunity to restore ourselves or someone in our lives. To see the rust, the dirt and all the wear and tear but knowing that even in our rusted out most broken moments, God is there to patiently and lovingly help us renew our faith and restore our lives each day.
Please join us on Sunday Morning, August 27th when David and Donna will present a "mini" car show at St. Barnabas.
David's Classic Cars
1956 Chevrolet 210 DelrayTwilight Turquoise & India Ivory
5 Year Restoration
1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible 442 Sunfire Yellow with Saddle Interior
5 Year Restoration
1965 Chevelle Malibu Super Sport Convertible 283 Danube Blue Iridescent
5 year restoration
Author: Kara Shay Thomson - August 2023