My friend Dr. Dave Reid was suddenly taken into the arms of the Father on January 31. He taught the Bible at Emmaus Bible College for a great many years, and was affectionately known to his students as Dr. Dave or Dr. Grace (since he never gave a student a bad grade). I’d gotten to know him, however, through our mutual ministries at Camp Berea in New Hampshire, where he was a teacher for many years in the Teen Camp program.

He was in his early 70s, but you would never have thought so — he projected 35 for all the years I knew him. His life was filled with activity: skiing, windsurfing, hiking, tennis, just about anything that would get him outdoors, fill his breast with adrenaline, and give him opportunity to spend time with other people.

We used to tease Dr. Dave that he always managed to find some opportunity to teach the Bible in places that also offered one of his favorite outdoor pastimes. He would be “called” to Colorado during peak skiing season or Newfound Lake where windsurfing was prime — and he’d also teach from Scripture while there. He led many trips to the Holy Land, and those trips just coincidentally would include some area of the world that he had never traveled to but wanted to see. His response to these jibes? “Eat your heart out!”

In addition to all these areas of work, Dave also ran Devotions for Growing Christians, and it was through that ministry that I first became acquainted with him back in the mid-1970s. I was a lonely college student, far from home and terrified of the world, and someone gave me a copy of his monthly newsletter. I subscribed to that letter immediately (which he mailed to thousands of readers for free), drawing encouragement and teaching and frequent laughter during a time when life seemed rather dark. I felt that I’d found a friend when I desperately needed one, and when I met him a few years later at Berea we immediately “clicked.”

He was also busy with his CD and tape ministry, a vast collection of his teachings from Scripture. His goal was to teach on tape from every page of the Bible, and he would record every session of teaching wherever he went. This, of course, brought more teasing from his friends, as he would sometimes stop mid-sermon, tell the sound-board operator to restart the recording, then pick up where he’d left off to make a better CD. It provided many laughs for his large group of friends, but in the long run he was leaving behind a great legacy of teaching for generations to come.

I once had the privilege of leading a friend to Christ during a major crisis in her life. Dave just coincidentally was in town that week, teaching a series of seminars in the evenings (and windsurfing during the days), and I immediately introduced them to one another. She secured a stack of his teachings on tape, and grew by leaps and bounds in her understanding of God and her new birth. She still speaks of his impact on her life, many years later, even though the two never met again after that important week.

Dave and his wife Margie lived in Chicago during his early days of teaching at Emmaus Bible College, and they remained there after Emmaus moved from Oak Park to a different planet called Dubuque, Iowa. One time, many years ago, my mother was traveling in Iowa and landed in the Des Moines hospital with pneumonia. I called Dave in Chicago and asked if he could visit her there. Des Moines is about 4 hours from Dubuque, but I knew that I could count on this faithful friend to make that drive to visit an elderly woman whom he’d never met — and he did. (He was the only visitor she had during her stay there.)

One of my favorite memories of Dave is watching him on stage at Camp Berea smearing uncooked ravioli over the heads of several other camp dignitaries, his own face obscured with the nasty red sauce running down and onto his chest. He was boisterously singing: “Ravioli, I love ravioli. Ravioli, so much fun to eat. Do you like it in your hair? Yes I like it in my hair. Tomato sauce? (Cheese of course)… Ohhhhhh….. ravioli,” etc. He loved to laugh, and didn’t mind if that laugh was obtained at his own expense.

There are so many memories of Dave, it’s hard to know which to share. As he himself would have put it, “More we could say.”

His sudden death is a tragedy on the earthly plane, leaving a great many people weeping. But I have no doubt that he entered eternity laughing at the fact that he was taken while skiing. I can almost hear his voice echoing back into our temporal realm: “Eat your heart out!”

 

Dr. Dave (right) with Dave MacLeod and me

  3 Responses to “In Memoriam”

  1. Really nice tribute to Dr. Dave, Greg. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing him as a teacher, a mentor, and a friend will be forever grateful for his influence in our lives. I fondly remember getting his phone calls when working at the college around midnight when he had finished preparation for his latest Growing Christians devotion for his radio ministry for a late-night rendezvous in his office for a cup of coffee and to chat. I recall often times both you and Tom were still there working as well and joined in the fun. He had a wonderful wit, didn’t he? No matter how much ribbing he took, I never heard him utter an unkind word, just “I’m sooo sorry!’ I will miss him, but am so thankful for the time God gave me with him.

    • Thanks, Gary. I’m putting together a tribute book of stories and memories, and have taken the liberty of adding yours to it.

  2. http://www.abc4.com/content/news/slc/story/74-year-old-Rhode-Island-skier-dies-at-Utah-resort/uaTQ9MsHuUmXb_ghuRzVDA.cspx

    “Police say a 74-year-old Rhode Island skier died after stumbling off a cliff at Solitude Ski Resort near Salt Lake City.”

    Ha! What a crock. Dr. Dave never, “stumbled” a day in his life. That man could run, jump, ski, surf or swim circles around any of us.

    Thanks for this tribute, G-Wa. For some reason I just found it while randomly Googling our friend.

    Dan

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