The old saying about people coming into your life and leaving footprints on your heart really came home to roost in my psyche this week in hearing the sad news of the passing of my friend of 20+ years, Mr. David Gettling. I don’t want this blog post to be a listing of his feats of prowess (he consistently beat me in golf, poker, fantasy baseball) and intellectual strength (I learned a lot from this man!), but more a recap of what a real friend is to all of us and what he does in his life.
Dave and I had drifted apart a bit in the last few years. I went overseas and found a new life working in International Schools. He worked and then retired from schools in Oregon, spending more time with family, his 2nd career (house painter) and working at Lewis and Clark. Dave, as I understand it, was as busy as always, and still remained connected to the education community in the Beaverton, Oregon area. My memories of him have nothing to do with these past few years, but more in the early parts of my career.
Dave was a 6th grade teacher in the school I took my first teaching job. He settled with me quickly that we were going to be good buddies and we played golf, worked on tech projects, learned to build and move ideas forward and most importantly he taught me that a good laugh and a joke go a long way to building a community of learners both in classrooms with kids and with faculties and parent community. He is my model of trustbuilding. He faced adversity and disagreement with grace and the ever-present smile. His laugh could be heard for miles.
The thing I will most miss about Dave was his heartfelt concern for all of his friends. He would, in past years, just drop me a note to check in on me. In a recent email volley we joked about his new, unfinished Facebook page, and when we would play golf again when I got back to Oregon. I am sad to say I didn’t find the time to get those rounds of golf in with my friend. My life and his life was full of other things and alas, our families and our other commitments fill our time. Now he’s gone and I won’t get a chance to say thanks to him for his support and friendship over the 20+ years
Dave… if you can read this from where you are now: Thanks Man! I am going to miss you.