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Memories
Sandy Sierra Rodrigues former volunteer at YMCA March 31, 2015
 
I met Dave Hettig when I was volunteering at the YMCA of the mid-peninsula as part of the international outreach program for the YMCA partner locations in Mexico and Peru; this was about 20 years ago.  One of the reasons I enjoyed volunteering with the YMCA was that I had the opportunity to work with such great people as Dave Hettig.  He was kind, smart, giving and very inspirational.  Very sorry to hear of his passing. 
Paul&Marianne Fisher Old friends May 3, 2013
 
Marianne and I were saddend and shocked hearing (belatedly) of David's passing. David and I met in the UCLA history department and followed our professor to UNC-Chapel Hill. We roomed together in a cottage on a chicken farm outside Chapel Hill where we shared many dinners, beer, and intense discussions during that period of national tumoil. David attended our wedding and,after marriage,  we enjoyed more good moments at our apartment. Once we both decided academia was not our calling, and went our seperate ways geographically, the contacts diminished, the lasts being in Palo Alto shortly after he started his own law practice. We hold good thoughts and memories of those years....
Michael Price Friend September 18, 2012
 

I met David a couple of decades ago.  Where we met is lost to the mists of time, though a summer barbecue party seems likely.  David’s fledging law firm was my computer service firm’s inaugural client in Northern California and David’s firm remained a valued client for a quarter century.  In the early days of the personal computer, it was considerably less than reliable; consequently I found myself quite often in David’s invariably friendly office environment.  I was also a client of his.  More importantly, he became a trusted and dear family friend.   

Deborah and I attended David’s 50th Birthday Party, the most amazing birthday party I have ever witnessed. David was one of the first in his immediate family to reach the “ripe old age” of 50, his Tongan-born father and American-born sister not having made it that far.  David was not sure how long he would live and expressed a wish that since it was unlikely he would attend his own wake otherwise; he wanted to have it right now.  So here it was.  The black-tie event began at Stanford with a road rally, complete with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments spread on tablecloths at stopping points as we moved northward up the Peninsula.  Each stop had a special memory for David, including the original gates of Filoli near Crystal Springs where he drove dates during college.  At each stop we received the clue for the next venue.  Finally, we reached the Shakespeare garden at Golden Gate Park where we mingled under the rose covered trellises and quaffed champagne in flutes.  At a prearranged time, to our total surprise, we were ushered down a path and thru a side door where we unexpectedly found ourselves in the [old] California Academy of Sciences, surrounded by dioramas, stuffed trophy fish, live alligators, and all manner of flora and fauna.  David and Valerie had rented the entire museum for the evening!  Champagne in hand, we made our way leisurely through the museum until we were directed up into a chamber at the center of a giant, glowing tank where huge fish swam round and round the many elegant dinner tables arrayed in a circle front of us.  A woman played a full harp and the music emanating from the instrument echoed sublimely and encircled us like the swimming creatures.  What could be closer to heaven than this?  While I’m sure the dinner was good, I don’t remember a thing we ate.  My lapse was caused by the speeches.  What speeches!  Toasts.  Roasts.  We went on for a couple of hours.  Stories about David’s life.  Stories about his character.  Stories he probably never wanted anyone to hear.  We laughed.  We drank.  We cried.  Perhaps the best speech was given by Keith Petty, a storied Palo Alto attorney and an elder in the Morman Church who shared office space with David.  Keith was a classically trained, old-style, orator.  He spoke for some time about David’s remarkable character and equally remarkable peccadilloes.  Keith brought the house down.  Reflecting back now upon that magical night, I believe David would have danced on the table tops had he known he had 20 more years on the beautiful planet Earth he loved so dearly.          

Later, David’s glow graced both my 50th birthday party and that of my wife, Deborah, as well as weddings, feasts, and countless other events.  David was a regular at our backyard wine bottling parties where he would be seen running the bottling machine or corker.          

David experienced the world in ways most of us with less imagination do not.  Perhaps we simply lose our childhood ways and some few of us resist.  David had a childlike simplicity I’ve seen in few adults who are not Buddhist monks.  David was the only guy I’ve ever known with a fire pit in his back yard, ringed by rocks, the sort you’d see at a campground.  He was known to string up a parachute on lines in the trees, place a bed underneath, and turn his backyard into a bedroom, sleeping there nightly for extended periods.  Once, we combined his fire pit with our mutual love of Samurai films starring Toshiro Mifune.  After dinner with our spouses, David arranged a large screen in the yard in front of the fire and I wired up stereo speakers in the trees and a PowerPoint projector connected to a movie player.  We lay on the ground to watch as the flames moved under the images.  The black and white film was almost 4 hours long (!) and when it finished in the early hours of the morning, David and I were wide awake, engrossed in the subtle Japanese beauty of the film, while we passed a bottle of Scotch back and forth.  Nan and Deborah were asleep, curled up in blankets and our arms.              

While I mentored David about computers and software, he was known to mentor me on some of life’s finer, practical points.  A couple of decades ago, David invited Deborah and I on an overnight river trip on the American River.  Deborah, being new to river craft, unfortunately bounced off David’s grey raft at the top of the first rapid, an aptly named challenge known as Meat Grinder.  She “floated” down the rapid and David, rowing the raft, was unable to reach her until, disoriented and soggy as a drowned mouse, she was pulled out of the calm pool at the bottom.  Due to this, Deborah was early to bed that evening and David and I found ourselves alone together, sitting on a log in the moonlight, gazing upon the shimmering river spread in front of us, the stars in the sky, and contemplating the universe.  David said, “I know you love red wine.  I’ve been thinking about this and felt that, perhaps, you should reconsider.”  I asked, “What have you been thinking about?”  He produced a bottle of scotch and, always the gentleman, two glasses.  As he poured each of us a dram, he said, “I’m sure you’re acquainted with the most wonderful wine and spirits shop in the world, Beltramos in Menlo Park, right?”  “Of course,” I replied, taking a sip of scotch.  “It’s one of my favorite places.”  David went on, “If you go to Beltramos and you buy one of the very best bottles of red wine made in the world, made in California, it will set you back, perhaps $35, right?” I said, “That’s about right.”  “OK,” said David. “If instead, you walk to the other side of the store and buy one of the very best bottles of Scotch made in the world, it will run you about $75.”  “OK, I said, I’ll take your word for it.”  “Now – here’s what I’ve been thinking Michael. If you figure how many drinks there are in a bottle of scotch compared with a bottle of wine, there are a lot more in a bottle of Scotch, perhaps four or five times more!  So if you take the price of wine and Scotch, and divide by the number of drinks in each, it’s obvious.  You’d be much wiser to drink fine Scotch than fine wine!”                          

RIP David.  Thank you for your glow.  And Cheers.  Michael Price

Sim Smiley A long lost love September 8, 2012
 

David and I met in 1996 in Washington DC when he accompanied Ginetta Sagan to the White House where Ginetta was pinned the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. Joan Baez and David where two of Ginetta's six guests. David was also the photographer, I carried Joanie's guitar and chauffeured people around.

Ginetta later wrote that David had been inquiring about me but the timing was wrong for me.

In 1999 I moved out to California to help Ginetta write her memoirs and David started appearing at her house. First it was dinner invitations, then the Strawberry Music Festival, plane rides and the Klameth.  He was everything a woman would want: a great combination of a sharp intellect and a big heart. He was funny, subtle and ever so gentle. I fell in love, but this time his timing was not right. I had no choice but to bow out as gracefully as I could.

A few years passed with little contact then by the end of 2005 we were exchanging emails. I had moved to Sweden and was starting a new relationship and a new life. David and I became friends, very good friends. Perhaps the time and physical distance helped us get over our unsuccessful romantic relationship and we opened up our hearts like we had never before. I treasure all those emails.

Living in Sweden was not meant to be and I decided to come back. As my decision matured, David and I started phoning. It never dawned on me that this friendship would ever become romantic again. But it did. I came back from Sweden last year and from the moment I came back, David and I were on the phone everyday and he started asking when I was coming out to visit my father. Pretty soon he was suggesting we spend a weekend at Pt. Reyes before I saw my father and when I told him my budget did not allow for a fancy B&B he made it clear that he would take care of it. “Don’t worry, we are adults” he added with a smirk in his voice.

I fell in love again before I even saw him again. Well, I should specify: we had not seen each other in person in a couple of years but seen plenty of each other on our “skype machines” as he liked to call it.

When I finally did go visit, I realized how much I had been missing all these years and finally the timing was right for both of us. I truly appreciated his great intellect and he opened my mind and soul to many new things, from Tibetan Buddhism, to environmental justice, to rivers, to jaunts to local wineries, to having a clientele that he cared so deeply for, to loyalty to his devoted staff, Sue Goudreau and Kathy Jamieson who I think knew him better than most, to our great National Parks… well anyone who knew him could add several pages to this list. David whisked me into his life as quickly as he could to make up for all the lost years and flooded me with more stories about his friends and family. He was particularly fond of his cousin Bill, his wife Tsering and daughter Jessica and I was very happy to be reintroduced to them on his last birthday. 

David had a bottomless pit of empathy and compassion for his fellow man and he cared deeply for humanity and our planet. One of the last things we did together was to go to the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival which he stared doing in 1996, the year we met. He was driven and wanted to get the most out of this environmental festival and pack in as many films as possible. There is a 15 year difference between us and I had to keep up! One film was “Bidder 70” about Tim DeChristopher and his attempt to stop fracking in Nevada. David was very moved by this combination M.L. King-Gandhi-like figure of civil disobedience and we both shed some tears. I think David wanted to be like Tim. That night I read out loud to David a long 10 page interview Tim gave to Orion magazine. Of course we could have read it much faster by ourselves, but it was one of those things that brought us even closer. After Telluride we were going to join some of his friends on a San Juan River trip, one of the few rivers David had not done. But the word was that there was not enough water so we had to cancel that. Instead, David and I visited the National Parks in Southern Utah. I am very grateful for that experience because I had not been there before and because the familiarity of the area where David was born opened up a flood of memories for him that he shared with me. I doubt that would have happened on a river trip with others.

On our second go-around we enjoyed our relationship every minute and I am extremely grateful for a love that not all are fortunate to share. Our future plans were cut short by this tragedy and all I can say is….David, you are an impossible act to follow!

 

 

Rick Seifert A friend of 50 years September 5, 2012
 
Friends have captured David's character, integrity and gentle humor so
very well in recent on-line posts and on this memorial site.

I'd add "grace" to the long list of David's qualities.

As I recall my times with David, I see his easy, open smile. David was utterly without guile.

He was a friend quietly at the ready to share life’s experiences. and, when asked, to offer his wisdom.

Much of our connection centered around our relationships with women. The same women.

The intense part began (and pretty much ended) nearly 50 years ago.

All of use knew that David had an unerring attraction to remarkable women. And they, not surprisingly, to him.

The man had a “good eye” as well as a gentle soul and a winning way.

Ah to have been on that unfolding rafting trip with David and Ma Nan! David told that story with such great, rich relish.

There were others.

Here’s one....

I spent much of my first year in the Peace Corps in Kenya (it was 1965)
corresponding with Nancy Coit, who was back at Stanford in her senior year.
I was keeping a long distance romantic relationship going while David hovered
dangerously in the wings. For me David was a major presence (even in
his absence) during that first year alone in Kenya's South Nyanza Province.

Miraculously, Nancy joined me the next year in Kenya where we were married. The marriage
lasted but four years.

I’ll leave it to others to tell the story of how David smuggled money to the Solidarity movement in Poland. That courageous adventure was with my second wife, Sue Porter. (I've had three
marriages, the last of 21 years and counting, is, appropriately enough, to
a marriage counselor, Diane Moskowitz.) The Poland mission happened a few
years after Sue and I were divorced. The cash (it must have been thousands)
for Solidarity was stuffed in Sue's underwear, giving new meaning to the
word “well endowed."

Last February Diane and I visited David in part to mark the occasion on my
70th birthday. David arranged for a small group of us to gather for dinner
at his house…Jeff and Lara, John and Kathy, me and Diane (yes, she too felt
the pull to David. 'He's in such good shape," she'd say after the party.
Right.)

I urged David to tell the Poland story and he did so with modesty,
telling detail and always the hint of a smile. David had a way of subtly and gracefully packing a lot into a little. Thinking back on it, that's how he lived the stories of his
full life.

Now, of course, the story of that memorable evening, just a few month old,
is precious.

I regret I can’t be with you on September 8th to hear your fond recollections. I hope someone will share these.
Total Memories: 22
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