The Big Red Pen
Big Dave died on Friday. I saw him last at a “celebration of life” for another co-worker’s wife back in September. His waving hand caught my attention from a sea of unfamiliar faces. Sadly, Dave’s face was one of them. He’d lost so much weight. We chatted at a table, and when we left together, Dave kept talking. We stood in the parking lot for nearly an hour. I could tell he just wanted to talk; to air it out a bit.
Dave was extremely intelligent, and he loved to teach. Early in my Kronos career, he’d review my writing and return drafts looking like Freddy Krueger had corrected them. It wasn’t his job, but he volunteered his time and I benefited. Dave was also a stat geek, and because of that, I know what a fourth-order polynomial is… Truth is, I still have no idea what a fourth-order polynomial is, but Dave did.
He was proud of his Navy service as an electronic technician, and told the story of hanging out on a antenna support to repair a transponder in driving rain and 30 foot seas. A story like that would usually produce an eye roll of disbelief, but not when told by Mr. Fagerstrom. Dave had unquestionable integrity.
Dave was in the inaugural class of the baby-boomers in 1946. Some of his generation (and many others) were hard-hit by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, and Dave was one of them. In 2007, he began teaching at local colleges as an adjunct professor, a woefully undervalued role, but I never heard him complain about it. He got tremendous joy from teaching. Thanks Dave. You and your big red pen will be missed.