I worked pretty closely with Dave, may years ago, when he was a Fieldworker for the (then) Ontario Federation of Students and I was the Chair.
Dave was smart and funny but never intimidating. As a young woman at the nominal helm of a large organization, I often felt like I was in over my head. Dave always made me feel like he had my back.
The OFS was at the height of a right-wing backlash that year, and we were constantly fighting the efforts (often successful) of student 'unions' to leave the movement. It was a very hard year but people like Dave helped me get through it and even, at times enjoy myself.
In particular, I remember working a referendum at Queen's University. I was 'invited' to an on campus debate but when we arrived it became clear that only friends of the boys in the student association had been informed of the event and that my public humiliation was the goal (contempt for the organization and for women both being at play). I got through it, due, in large part, to Dave.
Before, during and after that event, he was there for me - calm, supportive, sympathetic and angry on my behalf. He told me how well I'd done and helped me keep my head up. I will always be grateful to him for that.
I used to tease Dave about being a 'white knight.' He wanted to make the world a better place and to improve the lives of those he cared about.
And he did.
I haven't seen Dave in more than ten years. I wish I'd had the chance to spend time with him more recently.
I am so sad that he is gone.
And I feel very lucky to have known him.