What Dave Taught Me


Recently, I wrote a post on my own blog about what Dave taught me about photography. I realized that Dave not only taught how to be a better photographer but a better person as well. Talking to so many people since Dave passed made me see that he was such a solid person and was there to help so many people.


I used to joke that Dave was an old man trapped in a young man’s body. Really, he was just wiser than me. What took me years to understand, Dave seemingly understood it all, even way back in university.

I will alway remember Dave giving me “the look” when I would get up to leave halfway through a particularly boring night class. Dave was the type of guy that would sit through it all and then ace the exam. Idiots like myself would leave early and then complain later about the “unfair marking” or whatever excuse would come to mind.

Those of us who knew Dave when he lived at the house on Darwin, will remember Dave always sitting at his desk with the door open. Most of the time I would come over and goof off but Dave had the dedication to finish studying and then come up for a few games of Crazy Taxi.

The same dedication came out when he was running the Ulsan Pear. I would stop by and distract him for a while but he always got the job done. I can’t imagine how many hours he spent at his desk in the pool house but it showed in each issue.

Later on when Bennett and I visited Dave and Erin in Japan, I saw his dedication to his new love of Japanese drift racing. He knew all the races, the drivers, and the teams. He had done his research. Not to mention that their place was filled with the memorabilia from each the races.

While there are many things that I love in this life, I could never match the dedication and knowledge that Dave had. This was a huge part of what made Dave… “Dave”

Being True to Himself and his Friends

Looking back on all the years that I have known Dave, you will see only slight changes. Most of that for the good, too. Dave is and always will be “Dave” He was always true to himself. While so many of us travelled to “find ourselves” or to even reinvent ourselves. Dave remained true to the person that he was.

He seemed to open up a lot when he came to Korea. However, it never really changed or became a different person. When I lived across the street from Dave and Erin in Vancouver, Dave was pretty much exactly the same as he was back at the house in Thunder Bay. Well, there was a few changes. He know loved coffee and switched from a motorcycle to a bicycle. Other than that, Dave was Dave.

Having someone that solid in your life meant that you had someone to count on when times got tough. My time in Vancouver was hard on me. I  could barely scrape together enough money each month to pay for rent, I worked in a high-pressure environment that I was ultimately responsible for and  was buckling under the stress of trying (and failing) at maintaining a long-distance relationship. Dave and Erin were always there to help sort me out and get my head straight.

From stopping by the cafe to say hello when I had to work on the weekends to always coming up with some place to go where they needed me to come along. They really looked out for me. When I was telling my wife about all of our adventures in Vancouver, I realized that I had forgotten about most of the bad times. I only remembered the hockey games, the greasy hamburgers, the ski trips and his smirk when I finally gave in and bought a lulu lemon hoodie.

Being a Good Friend

I have made friends all over the world but, few have been as true as Dave. This is what makes his passing the hardest for me. I have not just lost a good or dear friend, I have lost my best friend.

Dave was there through thick and thin. He was never selfish or an asshole. The fact was that so many took him for granted, possibly even myself at times. Yet, he was still there to help so many people.

Of all the people that I met Dave was really the best of them. I say this with no ill will towards others, but few have been as awesome as Dave. This was why I relocated to Vancouver when I returned to Canada. I felt like an outsider to my family and there was a distance between my hometown friends and I. Meeting up with Dave and Erin in Vancouver felt like I was at home. Together with Eileen, Bennett and Jihyun, it felt a lot more comfortable that Brandon.

During the “Golden Years” of Ulsan, Dave was the one person who would ride 40 minutes across town to hang out at my place in Cheonsang. Nobody else came out that way despite it being about 5 minutes from mugeodong. He stood by and waited for me when my scooter broke down while others in the group took off. He didn’t have to do any of those things but he did because he knew that I would appreciate it. It was that kind of friend Dave was and one that I will miss forever.

There can be only one Dave.




One thought on “What Dave Taught Me

  1. finbarmadden

    JT, I can’t agree with you more on everything you wrote. It’s taken me years to realize just how great of a person Dave was, and how big the impact he had on my life. That smile, THAT look. From moving to Korea, to learning how to be more like Dave and less of a judgemental asshole, to the long distance tours I do now and still being an adventurer. He was Dave,


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