Some people in this life are respected, some are liked.
Not a lot are both, but David Smead was a member of that select club.
Dave passed away on Nov. 16 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 60.
If you've been reading the Times for a while, you likely remember the name. Dave was a longtime staffer here, focusing mainly on community sports but also helping out with high school coverage.
When I posted the sad news on Facebook last week, it struck a chord with the many Times alumni following my feed. The comments had a common thread: "He really was a good guy," "He was such a sweet man," "A good man, always nice to work with."
All of those are true, and they're part of the reason Dave was such a valued member of our team for so many years.
He had the perfect personality for a profession that, with its regular deadlines, can be a pressure cooker. But if he felt stress, Dave never showed it. I can't remember him ever losing his cool.
Instead, he enjoyed life in his own quiet way. Jim Rusnak, a former colleague here who now works for USA Swimming, shared this:
"It was clear that things running around his head sometimes tickled him, and maybe it was apparent to those around him, but mostly you would have no clue. He would just think of something, and kind of start chuckling to himself. I think he saw the humor in a lot of things, and had a better sense of humor than maybe a lot of people would give him credit for."
Another thing casual acquaintances may not have been aware of was Dave's wide-ranging knowledge of sports and other trivia. It wasn't his way to show off how smart he was, but if you knew him, you realized it.
Dave never took life, or himself, too seriously. But he did take his work seriously.
He told stories of daily life in the Region, from eighth-grade basketball to road races to powerlifting and beyond.
Rusnak saw that up close and personal in his first professional gig:
"I would have to say he was one of the hardest working people I ever worked with. You could tell he really cared that he did a good job and was really conscientious about his work. He made sure everything was done, and done right. He was a great example for a young journalist to follow."
In fact, he was a great example for anyone in our profession, or in any line of work. Dave came here as a writer, and gradually expanded his skill set.
He became an excellent copy editor, with sharp eyes and a deft touch for cleaning up awkward phrasing. Later, he learned how to design pages.
It was all about helping the team. And although Dave hadn't been working here for a while, I'd like to think his example helped to light the path we still try to follow today.
Rest in peace, old friend.