Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In Memoriam: David Pike

David Pike, beloved Street Sense board member and volunteer, passed away suddenly on Nov. 5. I cannot express how much we at Street Sense will miss his insight, dedication, humor and positive attitude.

After David retired from a 40-year career in journalism covering the likes of the Supreme Court, he dedicated his time to the more humble matters of homelessness. He started helping out with Street Sense in early 2005 as a volunteer editor, and soon transitioned into volunteering at the office. At the beginning of last year, David joined the Street Sense board of directors.

David came to the office faithfully every Tuesday morning and was known in the office for his helpfulness, his meticulous editing, his Panama hat, his gently rasping voice and his vegetarian diet. David also had a very dry sense of humor. Whether it was a wry comment about August Mallory’s lack of punctuation or an imitation of Conrad Cheek Jr.’s sales pitch, David always knew when to chime in at the right moment.

As he helped out in the office for nearly three years, he got to know many vendors quite well, and had a vested interest in a handful of them.

For the past year, David would purposely arrive about 10 minutes early to his office shift so he could spend time talking to Charles Nelson, the vendor at Metro Center, before coming in. And when Charles was having medical problems, David searched online to find him the appropriate assistance.

As a board member, David will be remembered for his self-effacing manner, his insight and his true commitment to our mission.

I always appreciated that David would carefully read over all the meeting notes and come to meetings armed with questions.

At board meetings, David would often share his Street Sense office experiences and speak on behalf of vendors.

David was also responsible for editing most of our grant proposals and always added his two cents along with many corrections.

What I loved about David, though, was that anyone who talked to David for more than five minutes would inevitably find out about Street Sense.

David was truly passionate about Street Sense and he spread the word whenever he got the chance.

In fact, he was planning to marry his longtime partner Caroline Gabel at the end of November, and in place of wedding gifts, was asking friends and relatives to make a donation to Street Sense.

But David was more than just a board member, volunteer and advocate.

He was also a dear friend. During the summer, when Street Sense was going through a rough time with staffing issues, David was there with an ear to listen and wise words of advice.

We swapped stories about cats, joked about marriage, and got to know each other’s families.

David Pike left his mark on Street Sense and helped make the organization and the world a better place through his efforts.

--Laura Thompson Osuri

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