Losing a long-time phone pal

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Updated Mar 18, 2019
David Stump, named an Overdrive Trucker of Trucker of the Month in 2010, was still hauling meat in his Peterbilt 379 into December.David Stump, named an Overdrive Trucker of Trucker of the Month in 2010, was still hauling meat in his Peterbilt 379 into December.

Many professional drivers have a spouse or go-to friend they can call while on the road for encouragement, advice or just to shoot the bull and stay alert. For Frank Albinson, that support was his long-time friend David Stump of Newburg, Pennsylvania, who died Jan. 21.

“The past 15 years we always had a Wednesday night ritual,” recalls Albinson, of Newville, Pennsylvania. “He’d call me or I’d call him.” For many years Stump would be headed to Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesdays to load on Friday for delivery to meat markets in the Northeast.

They would discuss “personal things, life in general,” Albinson says. Even if they skipped a few weeks, once they reconnected, “It was like the conversation had never ended.”

During his final weeks, when he was bedridden with pancreatic cancer, Stump received visits and phone calls from truckers and others from around the nation, including “people he has casually met over the years,” Albinson says.

“Dave was the kind of person that would go out of his way to help anybody, whether they were broke down, or needed help, or needed advice. I learned a lot about the trucking business from Dave Stump.”

Albinson owns Mountain Gate Transport, which has five trucks leased to FedEx Ground, and Mountain Gate Express, a one-truck operation under his own authority, hauling agricultural commodities in a dump trailer.

Stump was still hauling meat out of Nebraska as late as December. “He parked his truck the week of Christmas. He turned 79 on Christmas Day,” Albinson says.

Like many Overdrive readers, Stump’s driving experience began on a family farm.

“As Dunkard Brethren (also referred to as German Baptist Brethren), Stump’s father kept a full beard and his mother wore a bonnet,” wrote Jill Dunn for Overdrive in 2010, when Stump was named a Trucker of the Month. “Stump’s parents, like many Dunkards, worked a small farm near Dillsburg, Pa., and that’s where Stump got his first work, at 5. Later, he and brother Wayne, who also became a trucker, worked his grandparents’ nearby farms every weekend.

“When Stump left school at 16, Pennsylvania allowed him to drive a truck solo intrastate if he had a driver’s license, was unpaid and passed a physical … In ninth grade, David Stump’s owner-operator father allowed him to occasionally team-drive his KB-8 International straight truck.”

By 2010, Stump had logged more than 7.5 million accident-free miles since 1965. “He attributes all those safe miles to his habits of pre-trip inspections, diligent preventive maintenance and slow driving,” Dunn wrote.

Stump was also diligent in his physical preventive maintenance. “Stump’s fitness routine includes bicycling, walking and a 6-mile weekly jog,” she wrote.

Stump’s funeral was held Monday.