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  • Writer's pictureIllinois Sporting Clays

David Costley - RIP

A friend of mine and a friend of many... you will be missed... I'll miss your jabs around the course, Dan G.



URBANA - David Gather Leon Costley, 68, of Urbana has gone hunting with his beloved yellow lab, Gus. Dave passed away Tuesday (Feb. 14, 2023) at home, of natural causes.

He was born Sept. 16, 1954, the son of Ralph and Barbara "Carol" (Philbeck) Costley. He married Deena Spillers on Sept. 26, 1974.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Deena (Spillers); only daughter, Tricia (Mike) McKee; father, Ralph; brother, Daniel Costley; and sister, Debra Costley. He was preceded in death by his mother, Carol.

Dave was a lifelong Urbana resident and a man who followed his passions. He became an auto mechanic in his 20s because of his love of cars and built and raced his own dragster. He began racing BMX bicycles and left mechanics to open Wild Thang Cycles, an Urbana cycling institution for over 20 years. When Dave revived his childhood hobbies of shooting and hunting, he left bicycle retail and opened the store you know as Dave's Firearms while he and his wife became avid sporting clays shooters, traveling the Midwest to competitions.

Dave was a talented shooter who won and placed in numerous shooting competitions at the state and national level. A former cyclist, he also coached many competition athletes in both the cycling and took many new shooters under his wing. He was a father figure to many of the young men and women he'd coached over his 45-plus years in sports and provided both shooters, cyclists and skateboarders with a haven to call their second home.

Dave was a current member of Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, the National Rifle Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Illinois Sporting Clays Association, a member of the St. Joe Sportsman's club for 25-plus years - several of which he served on the board - and a Master Mason. In 2011, he was inducted into the Illinois Sporting Clays Association Hall of Fame in 2011, and in 2003, he was a member of the National Sporting Clays Association All-State team.

Dave was also a talented bicycle frame designer who was one of the founders of the Badd & Company BMX bicycle line. He rode for many years and was one of the two organizers of the Illinois State Criterium Championship. He was elected and served as the BMX Illinois State commissioner in the '80s as well as coached local cyclists to many state championships.

Above all, Dave was a husband and father. He loved jawing with his friends, talking a little smack, dove hunting with Gus and his wife, and spending time trading friendly jabs with his daughter and son-in-law. He loved talking cars, watching Formula One racing, the NHRA and Street Outlaws, and the Tour de France every year.

Dave was a polarizing personality. He was simply larger than life. And he still owes me $20. A celebration of life ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 19, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Salt Fork Center at Homer Lake, 2573 S. Homer Lake Road, Homer.

In lieu of flowers, Deena and Tricia ask that memorials are made to the Champaign County Humane Society or the American Diabetes Association. Evergreen Cremation Services is assisting the family.


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