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Walking Dead Wiki
Walking Dead Wiki
This article is about the Novel Series character. For other pages with the same name, see: David

Not true, Lilly. I'm not the only one. The kids and Barbara are gonna survive this thing as well... because you're gonna go and you're gonna get them back from these motherfuckers. Right?
―David convincing Lilly to save the remaining Woodburians.[src]

David Stern, also known as Dave, is a main character and a survivor of the outbreak in Thomas Dunne Books' The Walking Dead. He is described as a weathered beaten, rail-thin sixty-year-old Woodbury survivor with an iron-gray goatee. David is the husband of the late Barbara Erickson.



David was born in 1943 or 1944. Hardly anything is known about David Stern's life prior to or as the outbreak began, except that he married his wife Barbara and that during their honeymoon, a trip to Iguazu, Argentina, they had all their money stolen. They ended up working at a local restaurant and sleeping on the floor for 6 months.


Woodbury, Georgia[]

Despite their old age, the Sterns become Woodbury fighters, and as they show genuine care for fellow Woodbury residents, and frequently risk their own lives on supply runs, they are well respected and liked by others in Woodbury.

The Fall of the Governor[]

David is first encountered going on a supply run along with his wife Barbara, Martínez, Gus, Lilly and Austin. During the supply run Lilly asks Barbara to tell them one of her stories despite everyone already knowing it. David and Barbara explain their trip to Iguazu, Argentina where they got robbed and had to spend 6 months working in a restaurant and sleeping on the floor. They reach a warehouse behind a Piggly Wiggly and they search it for supplies. David and the rest find untouched supplies locked up and the reanimated store workers and help clear them out. David searches the warehouse some more with Barbara taking the supplies they need. Soon after they hear a helicopter crash land in the forest. The others go to investigate but David and Barbara are asked by Martinez to stay in the truck.

Before leaving Woodbury for the prison assault, the Governor ordered David and Barbara to stay in the town to protect those left behind (mostly old men, women and children with virtually no ammunition), later biters attacked and broke into Woodbury. Led by David and Barbara, the townspeople made a desperate fight, they managed to hold off the biters just long enough for Lilly and other Woodbury soldiers who survived the prison attack to save the town.

After Lilly revealed that she killed the Governor, David and Barbara were the first to vote that she should be the leader of the town.


The Sterns, David and Barbara being one of the few senior citizens still alive in Woodbury, continue their lives as normal. 14 new survivors arrive at Woodbury, after being rescued by Lilly and a small group. After several weeks their leader Jeremiah Garlitz decides to initiate his plan to kill everyone in Woodbury and lead them to heaven. The suicide pact goes wrong which results in most of the Woodbury survivors and all but 4 of the Pentecostal People of God getting killed by a mega heard that was lead into Woodbury. David, along with his wife survive the attack with a couple others, mostly children by escaping onto the courthouse roof. Bob rescues them and they move to a sewer under the town.


Weeks later, the remaining Woodburians (among them David) continue their lives in the sewers. In the meantime, Jeremiah gathers a new group from the Most Holy Redeemer Parish and leads another suicide attack on Woodbury (this time with intentionally bad intentions). David once again survives the attack and kills several of Jeremiah's men along with the others.

Search and Destroy[]

A year later after the discovery of the railroad and a community, Woodbury is raided by the Atlanta Medical Center Survivors. David is the only adult who was present at the time to survive the attack with the exception of his wife who was taken along with all the children. He suffered severe injuries and after being patched up tells Lilly what happened. He informs Lilly about what happened, who died and what they wanted. David insists that they go and rescue the children and his wife. He is then left to recover in Woodbury.

During the 6 months Lilly in a coma, Tommy, Norma and the children reside in the Sixteenth Street Ikea due to the walker-infested streets of Atlanta. Lilly suggests returning to Woodbury, in which Norma responds everyone is happy in the store. Lilly then gets concerned about David, but Norma tells her David is a "big boy" and can take care of himself.

Return to Woodbury[]

David recovers from his injuries, and goes out in search of his wife and the group three months before the events of the novel. David goes out on horse-back, and runs into trouble with some walkers. He is saved by a Brazilian survivor named Rafael Machado and asks him to join his journey. The two start talking and begin to get along. David reveals to Rafael, who noticed his visible burn scars, that he burned down the town of Woodbury because walkers had infested it and several bandits (most likely remaining Atlanta Medical Center survivors) took refuge in the place; one of them was wearing one of Barbara's scarfs which pushed David over the edge into burning the town and its troubled past.

David and Rafael survive together for five days and become like brothers, until encountering an unconscious Norma on a draft in the Chattahoochee River. After David pulls her up, he demands to know what happened to Barbara and the rest of the group. Norma is reluctant to explain what happened at first and tries to change the topic but tells David that she had died when the Medical Center became overrun. David starts mourning and they make their way towards Woodbury where Lilly and the Sixteenth Street survivors were heading.

They run into Spencer-Lee Dryden who chases them around the ruins of Woodbury. As Dryden opens fire, Rafael sacrifices himself for David, which enrages him since the two had become really close. Dryden respects Rafael's sacrifice and decides to keep David and Norma alive. He then hangs Rafael's body on a crane near the entrance of Woodbury and makes David look at his zombified body whilst tied up. When Lilly's group arrive, they are forced in a pit where David and Norma reunite with them.

A few weeks after they had escaped from the pit, David becomes the new group medic and sets up in the infirmary used by Dr. Stevens and Bob. He creates a peg leg for Lilly who had been bitten on the ankle by a reanimated Dryden and had her foot amputated. David continues living in Woodbury along with the rest of the survivors.

Killed Victims[]


Barbara Stern[]

David was married to Barbara for a very long time, and they had survived in the new world together. After Barbara's death, David becomes depressed but slowly copes over her death.

Harold Stauback[]

David and Harold had a good relationship. David learned to trust him after Harold proves himself to be a loyal man. He also respected Harold's attempt to save Mercy Slocum from being taken away.

Rafael Machado[]

David and Rafael had a good relationship. Despite the language barrier they had good time together. David respected Rafael saving him twice; the latter time giving his life and dying. David becomes outrageous after Rafael's death.


Novel Series

The Fall of the Governor - Part One

  • "The Gathering"
    • "Chapter Three"
    • "Chapter Four"
    • "Chapter Five"
    • "Chapter Six"
    • "Chapter Twelve"

The Fall of the Governor - Part Two

  • "Battlefield"
    • "Chapter Three"
    • "Chapter Four"
    • "Chapter Five"
    • "Chapter Six"
  • "Doomsday Clock"
    • "Chapter Ten"
  • "The Fall"
    • "Chapter Twenty"
    • "Chapter Twenty-One"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Three"


  • "Lake of Fire"
    • "Chapter Three"
    • "Chapter Five"
    • "Chapter Six"
  • "The Labyrinth"
    • "Chapter Seven"
    • "Chapter Nine"
    • "Chapter Ten"
    • "Chapter Eleven"
    • "Chapter Twelve"
    • "Chapter Thirteen"
    • "Chapter Fourteen"
    • "Chapter Fifteen"
    • "Chapter Seventeen"
    • "Chapter Eighteen"
  • "Last Rites"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Two"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Four"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Five"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Six"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Seven"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Eight"
    • "Chapter Twenty-Nine"


Search and Destroy

  • "Stone Soup"
    • "Chapter Two"
    • "Chapter Three"
    • "Chapter Four"

Return to Woodbury

Novels 1 2 3 4 5
Rise of the Governor
The Road to Woodbury
The Fall of the Governor
Search and Destroy
Return to Woodbury
Appears Voice is heard
👁 Appears with no lines Appears in a flashback
Appears as a walker 🖼 Appears in a photograph/video
Appears as a corpse Appears in a hallucination/dream


  • David reveals in Return to Woodbury he is Jewish. That would make him one of five known Jewish characters in The Walking Dead franchise.
  • David is one of the few original Woodburians still alive.
    • He is also the only original adult of the town still alive.
  • Stern means star in German.
    • Davidstern is German for the Star of David.