Our community recently and unexpectedly lost a dear friend and colleague.
If you know Dave Klinger, even if you only met him once, you understand what a gift he was and how devastating it is to have him taken away. If you never had the good fortune to be in Dave’s company, let me try to explain the man he was and the imprint he left on me and countless other co-workers and colleagues.
Have you ever laughed so hard you thought your cheeks would crack into a million pieces and delight would spill out? If you worked with Dave, that was nearly a daily occurrence. Have you ever felt a sense of belonging, respect, and acceptance that rivaled even a family connection? If you were teamed with Dave, you experienced that sense in ways you never thought to wrap words around, and it pushed you to be more creative and insightful than you realized you could be. Have you ever been blown away by a co-worker’s ability to put his finger on the crux of a problem and offer solutions with ease and elegance, as if the light bulb in his head was perpetually switched on? Dave was that guy, and you never felt an ounce of jealousy, only pride to be associated with him.
A friend recently characterized Dave by saying this: If ten people were in a room with Dave, each one of them would leave that room thinking he or she was Dave’s favorite person in the whole wide world. Yes. That sums it up perfectly. Dave Klinger had a way of giving to everyone he came into contact with. He gave his undivided attention, his praise, his warm eyes and huge smile and big heart. This is why he was loved by so many. He was a source of pure joy and appreciation, layered on top of a friendship that was sincere to the core even when it was goofy and playful on top.
Dave is gone, and it is our profound loss. But as with every tragedy, we are compelled to find meaning in it, or hold special memories more tightly, or take away some nugget of understanding. This process is a deeply personal one and varies for every one of us. As for me, I am forced to pick my head up and look around. I’m reminded that despite the loss of the bright shining star that was Dave Klinger, there remains a network of amazing people in this community of practice whose hearts are as big as their minds. Dave’s lasting influence on me is the lesson that even as we strive to build our skills and produce for our customers and make a professional difference, the most important thing, and what we will be remembered by, is the support and friendship we provide to each other along the way.
– Jenni Phillips and the CPG Team