David Neal Belton died peacefully in his sleep from complications of Covid-19 on December 22, 2020, which was both poignant and ironic given the way he lived his life with the volume turned up. He was 66.
After graduating from Minneapolis South High in 1972, Belton worked a variety of jobs before landing a position with Minneapolis Public Works department. He loved that job because as a rookie in the department he would be laid off each winter, which left him free to collect unemployment while “looking for work” in the Caribbean. He loved to travel and would show up anywhere in the country (or Caribbean) where there was family or a friend to offer free accommodation.
In the early 80’s, Belton was attracted to the oil boom in Texas and moved to Houston where he was hired as a roughneck on an oil rig, eventually moving up to the top position of driller.
Belton was a jack-of-all-trades: paint contractor, general contractor, carpenter, pipe-fitter, and cabinet refinisher—these were a few of the skills and trades he practiced at different points in his life. He also was a faith leader, ordained by the Unity Christ Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He served in clerical appointments in Metairie, Louisiana and in Minneapolis. Belton led a Youth of Unity group for several years and provided spiritual virtues training for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.
His true calling was as a family man. A middle child, born fourth of Ernestine and Ossie Belton’s eight children, Belton enjoyed close relations with his three older and four younger siblings. He was a peacemaker and purveyor of kindness to each of them and to scores of nieces, nephews and cousins.
He had four great loves in his life: Antuana, his wife of 35 years and their three daughters, Nedith (Nina), Taylor Michelle (deceased) and Aja, whose son Reece, 2, was David and Antuana’s only grandchild. When Reece was born, Belton began to dabble in astronomy and hypothesized that his grandson was the center of the universe.
In his younger years, Belton was the life of the party. He loved music, especially jazz and R&B, and was a good dancer. Friends and family knew it wasn’t a party until he arrived and got things started. Without exception, he would be late, but worth waiting for because he brought the party with him.
Belton had many interests and avocations including bicycling and playing bid whist (although he rarely indulged both activities simultaneously). He was an avid reader. Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffery, Langston Hughes and Toni Morrison were among his favorite authors. He assiduously read Road and Track and Car and Driver magazines. He had a passion for collecting and racing slot cars and spent many evenings and weekends dedicated to the hobby. He built a custom 54-foot, four-lane slot car racetrack in his brother’s basement which he modestly dubbed Belton Brothers World Raceway.
Belton is loved and will be missed by his family, friends and all who knew him.
A Celebration of Life for David Belton is planned for 3:00 PM on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 via Zoom. Contact Davidbeltonmemorial@gmail.com to request the link.