David Switzer was that rare breed, a true friend, and today Jim and I are gutted by the loss of his brave battle with cancer last night.
What began as a Neil McNeil High School acquaintance for Jim and David was rekindled and then developed into a cherished friendship as we found ourselves members of the same yacht club and then in side by side boat slips. David served on the yacht club board when Jim was Commodore and you guessed it, Jim served on the board when David was Commodore.
We four have sailed both ends of Lake Ontario together, have spent joint time in Barbados and Arizona, have navigated the crazy canals of England on ungainly barges, have golfed together and have enjoyed countless meals, drinks and celebrations together on the yacht club deck and in each other’s homes; after recent house moves, we have made the drive between Cobourg and Uxbridge so many times that our cars could probably make the trip for us on autopilot. David and Jim helped sail a friend’s boat back from St. Martin. Their parmesan cheese tale from this journey is a classic. 😂 Accompanying each other to Neil McNeil reunions, they could often be heard discussing who should wear the boutonniere. 😳 Marion and I have joked for years that David and Jim could speak with each other 24/7 without a lapse if given the opportunity. So much laughter! So many memories!
Whenever renovations were being planned, David’s immediate response was always, Just let me know when. I am sure there were times when he wondered at the wisdom of his offer as he laid hardwood and tore out washrooms with Jim. As if that wasn’t enough, the two friends tirelessly worked together on the renovation of the yacht club kitchen, a massive undertaking.
David battled cancer for a year. No matter his fears, discomfort or fatigue levels, Jim and I were always greeted with a warm, welcoming smile. His private voiced concerns with Jim were always about Marion’s welfare, not about himself. His efforts for the past year were more about making the ultimate transition for Marion a trouble-free one than about himself. Quiet selflessness and dignified bravery defined David.
Someone once said that the hardest part of losing a friend isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them, always trying to fill the void and the emptiness that is left inside your heart when they go. David, the void is massive; a piece of our hearts is forever broken. I will find peace in imagining you hugging your mother and then you, Rollie, Brenton, Dick and Derek sailing the clouds of heaven.
It is not goodbye forever, dear friend, it is till we meet again.