Around this time every year, I think about a good friend of mine, David Haas. David introduced Stanton and me nearly 13 years ago, during the second semester of our freshman year at the University of Richmond. David passed away too soon, in July of 2012, while on duty with the U.S. Army in South Korea.
David’s birthday falls in November. And November is also when I get a reminder to consider contributing to the memorial scholarship fund founded in his name. I don’t need a reminder, though; Stanton and I have already committed to contributing every year for the rest of our lives. David was a great man, and he meant a lot to us.
The story of our life together, and the gift of our daughter in our life, begins with David Haas.
Another college friend read the following remembrance from Stanton and me at a Richmond, Va., memorial service for David in August of 2012 (we weren’t able to travel from San Antonio at the time). I share it here today to encourage you to keep in touch with the people you love, during this holiday season and always. Because I didn’t keep in touch with David, and it’s my deepest regret:
“David holds a meaningful place in our life, because he’s the one who introduced us. In our freshman year, Melissa was at a party at the PiKA lodge with some friends from her dorm. David and Stanton, along with some other Phi Delts, were across the room, and then David walked over and began chatting with Melissa and her friends. David and Melissa had already met in the first semester, and were study buddies at Boatwright.
For years, Stanton told the story of how we met like this. He would say: ‘I saw my friend David talking with five girls at a party—five girls!—and I thought, ‘I’ve got more game than David.’ So I went over and asked David to introduce me. Although the girl I really wanted to get to know was the one in the middle (Melissa).’
We wouldn’t have met that night, if it hadn’t been for David. We wouldn’t have become friends, become partners in life, become parents to our daughter Grace. The story of our life together, and the gift of our daughter in our life, begins with David Haas.
One of Stanton’s fondest memories of David is when they were on the show ‘While You Were Out.’ Stanton, David, and two other frat brothers went to the beach to do ‘brotherly’ things so that the Phi Delt lodge could be remodeled for a surprise reveal when they returned home. The weekend consisted of such manly activities as pottery painting, four-person bike riding, and sand castle building. The guys thought the video was being shot for the BBC, never to be seen in the States, so they went along with everything as good sports. In reality, their exploits were televised nationally. If anybody has a copy of the episode, they will get to see David as we all knew him: happy and full of life. He was also surprisingly good at painting pottery and driving the four-person bike.
A real regret in our life is that we didn’t keep in good touch with David after college. We saw him some after we graduated, and shared Facebook comments and messages here and there. But we neglected our relationship with the person who meant so much to our relationship. Sure, everyone gets busy, but it’s something we should have done better.
From now on, we’re going to tell the story of how we met a different way. We’re going to say, ‘A fun, fun-loving mutual friend introduced us. It was in college, at a party. It was when all our lives were just beginning, and we all thought we had all the time in the world to have fun together … and to say thank you.’
We didn’t say it then, and it’s too late to say it now, but we’ll say it anyway: Thank you, David. Thank you for introducing us. Thank you for getting us started on our journey, and we both look forward to sharing our gratitude with you when we see you again, on the other side of this life.
We love you, and we truly do thank you so much. You were an awesome person, and an awesome friend, and you will live on in our life, and in the life of our daughter, and in the lives of all the people whom you touched with your friendship.”