I found out that my friend and mentor, Dave, died on November 12, 2017, due to complications from pneumonia.
Attached here are two terrible photos of Dave and one of him doing what he did – stained glass. I took these at the store he worked at, Abbey Stained Glass in Aldershot. I think he’d laugh to see these pics. That’s the kind of guy he was.
I met Dave in 2002 when Ella and I took stained glass lessons from him. Obviously, it became my thing. But I can’t say it would have if it hadn’t been for Dave.
Saying that Dave was kind and patient is an understatement. I still don’t understand where all his reserves of patience came from. But it made him a really good teacher. I used to have to bring headphones with me and listen to music when I was still getting lessons with him because I couldn’t stand the other students. So annoying! So loud! Such stupid questions! And he answered every one of them as though they were perfectly acceptable and not utterly stupid and never complained about them. I only knew of 3 customers/students that ever upset Dave and even then he still put it all aside and helped them whenever they came into the store.
I have been relying on Dave even 15 years later. In fact, I was in the shop just 3 weeks ago asking him how he would do something. He would give me advice on the patterns I drew whenever I asked. He never once said ‘no’ to me when I’d bring him something I’d carelessly cracked or broken and asked him to fix it for me because I couldn’t be bothered. And very rarely would he accept payment for any fixes I’d ask him to make. Just bring him some Timbits or cookies and he was good.
He’d give me crazy discounts for all my glass supplies. And he wasn’t the owner of the store! But he said I was one of his favourite students and wouldn’t hear of taking more money even though it wasn’t his place not to hear of it. The store only has my loyalty because of Dave. And I would only go there on the days I knew he was working.
Dave was born in NS. He never married and didn’t have any kids. His mom passed away about 6 years ago. He was the 2nd oldest of 4 brothers. He had a mess of nieces and nephews. He had 2 cats until earlier this year when one died from old age. I believe he used to work for the ministry of transportation until he retired. He worked at Abbey on Sundays and Monday evenings and filled in whenever someone couldn’t take a shift. Dave smoked too much. And he had a sweet tooth. He always had one of those Nesquick milkshake drinks whenever I saw him. Customers and students were always bringing him baked goods or chocolates or candy.
I’m going to miss Dave so much. There’s no more showing him my patterns to see where he thinks I need to make breaks (he told me not too long ago that I didn’t need him to do this for me any more but I always felt better knowing he’d given my drawings the okay). There’s no more bringing in my broken stuff and just saying “fix this”. There’s no more listening to his stories about going to the casino or helping his weird friends or how he gave himself a black eye with his microwave or whatever silly game he made up to amuse his cat.
He once told me he was proud of me because I took the hobby so seriously and made such unique pieces. If you know me, you know I brush off stuff like that. But I know he meant it because Dave was a genuine person. I wish I’d thanked him more.
I don’t know how to honour Dave. There isn’t an obituary and I might not be able to attend his Celebration of Life. The best I can do right now is to tell you to scroll through this webpage. This is all here because of Dave.