Unbeknown to his partner, Danni Deex, it would become a double celebration when he proposed to her. She said “yes”.
But, just hours later, that joy turned to tragedy when the 46-year-old father of four was allegedly murdered.
Mr David, from Onkaparinga Hills was seriously assaulted, allegedly by a man known to him, at a house on Railway Tce, Peterborough, in the state’s Mid-North, just after 1am on May 26.
Mr David, a grandfather of three affectionately described as “just a big teddy bear” and Ms Deex had made the 270km journey from Adelaide.
“Joel and his new fiancee were supposed to be driving back to Adelaide and celebrating not only his pending wedding but his grandson’s first birthday with his eldest daughter,” his family told The Advertiser.
“Instead of rejoicing at their wedding, we have had to plan a funeral, memorial and set up a GoFundMe page fundraiser to support the family in this sudden and unexpected circumstances.”
Born in the Philippines, Mr David migrated to Australia in his childhood, first arriving in Tasmania before moving to Adelaide 23 years ago.
An immigrant in a time when bullying was rife if you came from another country, Mr David did not allow this to affect the man he would become.
His rough childhood meant Mr David developed depression but that never stopped him from wanting to see everyone he came across be happy.
“Joel was ever the optimist even during his darkest times,” his family said. “He had his own personal demons to contend with, however he vowed to make a better life for himself and his family.
“Joel went on to become a mentor to many in a number of roles, including playing and coaching hockey, being an integral member of rugby, cricket, netball and eight-ball teams with a number of grand final wins. Joel was an extremely loyal friend and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it even if he did, too.
“(His) laughter was infectious and he could always drag you out of a bad mood.”
A personality that was larger than life, Mr David always had to have a bargain even if he had no use for it.
There are fond stories about a man who could always find several things in common with each and every person he met.
“(One time) we went fishing and while throwing out a line, Joel somehow managed to throw out our brand new rod as well,” the family said.
“He then proceeded to jump in to retrieve it so he didn’t upset us, while (he was) in the water, a seal came to check out what he was up to, which scared the living daylights out of him.
“Once back onshore, we had quite a giggle.” His family also recalls that, despite being “five foot not much”, Mr David tried to swat a spider with his thong at a New Year’s Eve party, and ended up smashing a lounge room window.
After stints as a salesman or telemarketer, Mr David found his true calling when he followed his love of art into becoming a tattooist.
Sometimes he would complete a tattoo just for a coffee, or even take no payment, just to see the joy on the person’s face when he completed it.
He would also mark special days such as Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with Facebook draws for free tattoos.
“Joel was looking forward to seeing his youngest son get his Ls and graduate from High School,” his family said. “He wanted to see his daughters and youngest get married and have more grandchildren.
“Joel wanted to spend the rest of his life with his fiancee and to get married. Joel also wanted to watch his grandchildren grow up and spend time with his family and friends.
“Tears continue to flow for all members of the family, one in particular should be planning her wedding.
“Another has had to celebrate her 21st birthday one week after her father’s passing, one has cancelled her 19th birthday celebration to hold her father’s memorial, one has just passed his learner’s test and cannot celebrate it with his father.
“Joel’s only grandson has had his first birthday without his grandfather. A mother has had to bury her son well before his time. Sisters and brothers have had to say goodbye to their brother unnecessarily.
“We should be celebrating birthdays, graduations, weddings, the birth of grandchildren yet we find ourselves angry, upset, confused, sad and lonely. But most of all we are all missing the man we all call family.”
The family plan to plant a tree or rose bush with council approval to honour Mr David’s heritage and life.
Peter Adams, 49, is charged with the murder of Mr David and is due to face court again in February.
A Go Fund Me page set up for Mr David’s family is still running and taking donations to assist with interment fees and for a memorial plaque for a much loved man.