Dave's Playlist and photos from Jennifer Mahoney

Paul Dodd Pages For Dave

Rich Stim / MX-80 Page for Dave

Kim Torgerson photos of Dave

Steve Hoy photos of Dave

Brad Fox photos of Dave

Bob Mahoney's remarks at Dave's service

Patsy Talor's remarks from Dave' sevice

Paul and Peggi photos from Dave Memorial Trip

Jennifer says goodbye to Dave

Bob Mahoney Remarks at Dave's Service

It’s impossible to be a young boy with a brother four years your senior, and not be drastically influenced by him.  It can’t be done.  Certainly your parents are the major force in shaping you, but an older brother often times is the king of your world.  I spent the first two decades of my life in the shadow, footprints and wake of a very influential brother.

I can only attest to MY version of Dave, no one else’s.  He was at the forefront of many of my important moments in younger life.  He was good to me, if you don’t count the times when he wasn’t.  He dragged me along in enough of his adventures in growing up to give me a taste of what life like might be for me in a few years, while keeping at least a little bit of an eye on me and not allowing me to do too much or get into trouble.  And as we got older, we became as much friends as we were brothers.  I was perfectly happy hanging out with him when I could, taking in the world through his filter.  Because he was my older brother.

There was a strong fabric that ran throughout everything he did, and therefore everything I did.  That fabric was music.  We were never without music.  He saw to that.  Not just the two of us, but our entire family.  My parents had kept a pretty steady stream of music going in our house during our formative years.  My father’s jazz and classical music was mixed with my mother’s more popular tastes.  But once the Beatles hit the scene, everything changed.  Even as a young teenager, Dave commandeered every rock and roll album he could afford.  Our house and the general dynamic of life was pretty much changed forever.

Our parents tolerated it, and to their credit really didn’t discouraged his or the rest of our newfound obsession with the hits.  My mother especially came to like the Beatles, and a lot of other groups of the day.  I can even remember Dave playing, over and over for her, the Kingsmen’s Louie-Louie because the words were supposedly dirty and she wanted to hear it for herself.  It made me nervous but of course he thought it was hilarious.

Until Dave moved away, he and I shared a bedroom, where we had a cheap plastic stereo.  Being a relatively shy kid, I was more than happy to stay holed up in the room with Dave’s ever-growing record collection.  If he bought it, I listened to it.  In fact I memorized most of it.  I was that obsessed.  If it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me.  Because he was my older brother.

When Dave was around 19 or 20 he went out to visit Paul Dodd in Bloomington, and stayed for fifteen or twenty years.  That began a new chapter in my life as I now had to look elsewhere and within for direction.  But his absence didn’t stop our relationship from growing.  It just took on a different shape.  He’d come back every once in a while, and of course I couldn’t wait to get up to speed with what he’d been doing out there, and what it was like in the great Midwest. I still hadn’t been outside of New York State at that point.

One time he and Paul came home together, I think for the Holidays, around 1970 or ‘71.  After all the greeting and reacquainting had been done, Dave started to unpack the things he’d carried  home.  I recall he had two packs, and the larger one was a green canvas military-style backpack, that had an odd square shape.  That turned out to be because it was stuffed with maybe 20 or 30 record albums, all carefully packed and padded and protected from harm.  It was all of the music he’d collected in the last few months.  Of course, it was a bonanza for me. 

Bob, Mom, Dave

Bob and Dave with Mom

As my dim memory recalls, Paul called the house not too much later and they were talking about the records Dave had brought home.  Dave hung up the phone and dug through the records, and put on one by a group I’d never heard before.  He played the last song on the record, and immediately recognized it as a song that the local band in Bloomington, the Screamin’ Gypsy Bandits, had played.  The song was called Viola Lee Blues, and the band on the record was the Grateful Dead.  It was an early taste of the psychedelic west coast sound and unlike anything I’d heard before.  Suffice it to say that I went on to become a bona fide Dead Head, a musical relationship that is still going strong after thirty five years or so.  As with so many things, Dave gave me that first taste.  In fact he took me to my first, and I think possibly HIS first Grateful Dead concert in a basketball gym at the University of Rochester in the Spring of 1972.

That image of him coming home with that green backpack full of music has stuck with me since.  It was the quintessential Dave thing to do.  Have music, will travel.  And I remember him carrying that pack again sometime later, when he and I hitchhiked out to Indiana together.  We were confronted by a State Trooper as we tried to hitch a ride on the New York State Thruway.  He made us get off the entrance ramp so that we had to take the back roads for some distance before getting back on the interstate.  It meant a delay in our travel and Dave was livid, especially because the trooper had a bad attitude toward us hippie types and Dave had little tolerance for that.  After the trooper pulled away he went into a fit of anger and threw that pack over a guardrail and halfway down an embankment.  Luckily there were no records in it on this trip.  He never would have thrown it if there were.

I graduated from high school in June of 1972, and within a couple of weeks was on my way to pick up Dave in Bloomington with my Volkswagen microbus.  I had two of my friends with me and when Dave’s friend Joe Barrett joined us in Bloomington the five of us set out on the Great Western Adventure.  We were intrepid travelers and we covered the country as completely as we could in six week’s time.  Avoiding cities like the plague, we concentrated on out-of-the way places, and camped our way from National Park to National Park.  I don’t believe we set foot in one hotel the entire time.  Dave was the navigator and ringleader, and his experience with bohemian existence made him adept at living cheaply. One way was to pull into a park’s campground after the guard shack was empty for the night, then getting up at dawn and leaving before they came around to collect the fees.  Not to mention camping on private land, which we did frequently.  And eating lots and lots of peanut butter.  Dave was a peanut butter & jelly connoisseur.

We crossed the Rockies and found our way to the west coast at about the mid-point of Oregon, at Coos Bay, in a fog, where we stepped into the cold Pacific Ocean for the first time.  We slowly worked our way south into California, through the redwoods.  One day Dave and Joe and I hiked deep into the redwood forest to the grove that holds the world’s tallest trees.  After an eight-mile hike at a fast pace, we were overheated, so we floated naked in near silence in Redwood Creek through a scant few beams of sunlight that penetrated the massive forest canopy. I remember it as one of the best days of my life, and the whole excursion was loaded with days like that.  The trip was a maiden voyage for me.  And he took me.  Because he was my older brother.

Brad, Dave, Dad

Brad,Dave and Dad atop Mount Tamilpais in 1992.

We eventually found our way into San Francisco, and of course without hesitation drove directly to Haight-Ashbury. It wasn’t all I had built it up to be in my mind, of course, now having outlived the aura of its earlier glory days, but it was special to us to stand on the spot where so many culturally-influential people had lived and events had gone down.  There was no way I could predict then that Dave would eventually move to the bay area and would even finish out his life working in that very neighborhood.

Two summers later we were traversing the country again, this time with Kim, Brad Fox and Steve Hoy, and a couple of other friends of mine.  We never made it to the coast but we did venture to many more parks and odd places, and even hiked above 10,000 ft on a backpacking trip into the Grand Teton mountains.  We slid down a high-altitude snowfield in Glacier National Park, and then because of cold and nasty weather made a beeline south to Arizona and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where it was about 115 degrees. We covered some ground.

My exposure to all of the vast geology that the west offered was not wasted.  I eventually found some focus in my life and went back to school.  Thirty years hence I’m in the later stages of a career as a geologist, and those trips with Dave were the beginning of it all.  So I owe him for that.  Things could have gone quite a different way if he hadn’t led me on those trips.  Of course, it is possible to give him TOO much credit – after all I think the first trip was my idea, and it was my van that got us out and back both times.

Another thing I owe him for is the friendship of others.  Dave’s had many close friends through the years, and so many of the people he counted as best friends like John and Brad and Paul and Peggi and others, are now my best friends.  Just like the music, if they were good enough for him, they were good enough for me.  Turns out he had great taste in friends.

When Dave passed on, I came out west for a few days to help take care of some of the  necessary details, the most unenviable of which was going through Dave’s apartment and sorting through his belongings.  I dreaded having to do this, but Max was with me shoulder to shoulder through the whole thing, and his calming influence was a godsend.  Dave’s apartment was small but seemed to hold quite a bit of stuff. We focused first on removing the items of value like the TV and stereo, which in itself was kind of ironic – I expect Dave would have chuckled at that.   Little by little we sorted through everyday things.  Max would focus on one set of items while I would take on something else.  At one point I looked over to see what Max was shuffling through.  There was quite a bit of stuff spread on the floor, and sitting in the middle of it all was a totally beat-up, faded, green military backpack.  Extremely threadbare, with one of the straps now stapled to the pack, it now seemed to have almost as much duct tape as it did canvas.  But I immediately knew it to be the same pack I had remembered for all those years, and the memories came flooding back.  It was the only possession of Dave’s that I kept.  It now sits in my den with all of my old beat up Grateful Dead albums in it.

At Jennifer’s urging, before leaving to go home that week I took a ride on Dave’s bike through the streets of Berkeley, much like he might have done on any given day.  I had done some work on the bike because it was a bit beat up, and it was cruising pretty smoothly. It was a chance to take a breath and stop thinking about “necessary details” and let Dave’s spirit have its say.  A lot had gone down since the early days when he and I spent so much time together.  I wish I had been able to spend more time with him in the later years, but life and distance got in the way of that.  He had his troubles, to be sure, but we all do in one form or another.  And when you want to boil down what someone’s existence on this earth means, you have to look at everything.  And if you’re going to try to boil down what Dave was, you cannot ignore his two sons.  Spend some time with them and you’ll quickly see two young men that are highly intelligent, perceptive and articulate.  Which is what Dave was, and that’s the part of him that will stick with me.

Thanks Dave.

Bob Mahoney
May 2006