YOUNGSTOWN - On June 6, 2018, David J. El’Hatton Jr., 47, suffered cardiac arrest during a routine diagnostic endoscopy. On Oct. 17, 2018, he died as a result of this event which was complicated by a condition with which he had lived for many years, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Funeral services will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Boardman-Canfield Chapel.
David was born to David and Mary El’Hatton on May 14, 1971, in Youngstown.
He graduated from Boardman High School in 1989, where he was an honor student, a member of the National Honor Society, and a National Merit Commended student.
He attended Ohio University on scholarship, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication. There he was an active and highly successful member of the Ohio University Forensics Team. He was a member of Delta Sigma Rho Honor Society, the recipient of the Anita C. James award presented to the outstanding individual events competitor, and won the state championship in persuasion category at the Ohio Forensics Association varsity competition.
At The Ohio State University, David earned his Master of Arts in Communication while coaching the OSU Forensics team and teaching public speaking. He also taught at Youngstown State University as a limited instructor and assisted Dr. David Robinson in coaching the Forensics team.
David had said that when he walked into the Youngstown Playhouse for his first role, he knew that this was where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to be doing. He is widely known to audiences for his stellar performances and his insightful directing skills, receiving many awards. If you enjoyed him as Sweeney Todd, Tevye, Chief, the Wizard of Oz, or one of many other characters he brought to life, your appreciation of live theater is his legacy.
David also performed or directed at New Castle Playhouse, the Victorian Players, the Oakland Center for the Arts, Salem Community Theater, Kids First Theater Initiative, The Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, and the Podex Perfectus Players.
David leaves his mother, Mary El’Hatton of Boardman; sister Shannah El’Hatton of Akron; aunt Betty Hillman of Champion; uncle Kenneth McMurray of Medina; his leading lady, Renee Cuerden; and cousins Gregg (Cathy) Hillman, Kevin Hillman, and Lynette (Roger) Broggini.
Additionally, the family recognizes and thanks the close-knit group of friends who supported David throughout his final months.
He was preceded in death by his father, David J. El’Hatton Sr.; paternal grandparents, John and Belle El’Hatton; maternal grandparents, Kenneth and Ethel McMurray; and uncles Bruce Hillman and R. Daniel El’Hatton.
Family and friends may call Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. at the funeral home.
The Youngstown Playhouse will host a celebration of David’s life at a later date.
Family suggest that tributes may be in the form of donations to either the Youngstown Playhouse or the David El’Hatton Award established at Howland High School in memory of his father. These may be mailed it to his mother at 4030 Dover Road, Youngstown OH 44511.
Visit www.higgins-reardon.com to send condolences to the family.