A Tribute to Dave Klinger

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


About the Author:


Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

  1. avatar Iris Rivera

    Dave Klinger was an amazing person. He always made friends and colleagues feel like they were a top priority. He guided me through my first big career move and was always there to lend an ear, provide much needed advice, and just crack me up until my stomach hurt. We have lost a great person but his memory will last forever. Jenni, thanks for writing this beautiful post.

  2. avatar Jennifer Murphy

    Thanks for sharing this, Jenni. We are all reeling from the sudden loss of a great friend and a very talented researcher. I only had the pleasure of working with Dave for a few years but his work with our team had a significant impact on Warfighters who were in harm’s way. While his time with us was short, he did a lot of good in the world, and for that I will always be grateful. He also introduced me to the concept of the Human Centipede, and for that I will not always be grateful. Dave was well loved by everyone who knew him, and I am happy to count myself among those who did.

  3. avatar Terry Ratliff

    Jenni, this is a wonderful tribute to Dave. He was a very special person. Not much time ever went by that I didn’t think about him whistling his way through the offices — always cheerful, quick smile for everyone. He was unbeilevably smart, witty, caring and, yes, he could always make you feel like you were the most special person. The world definitely lost a wonderful person but he will never be forgotten. I consider it a priviledge to have been part of Dave’s life for the time that we worked together.

  4. avatar Rob Lewis

    Thanks for this, Jenni. What a touching and beautiful tribute to Dave. You put to words what so many of us are feeling. Thanks for sharing.

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