The loss of classmate David Lyon Prentice (1947-2021)

“Way cool” is NOT the way David would describe his untimely departure on January 4, 2021
even though we’ve heard him say it hundreds of times. We would have wished that he would
have lived forever, enriching our lives with his generosity of spirit, wacky behavior, and sharp
wit. His lifetime spanned only 73 years and two months, and there was never a dull moment. He
was honest and direct, a community builder, networker, punctuation police, organizer guru,
eggnog aficionado, political pundit, and an avid historian and reader. A genuine quirky character,
he was blessed with a razor-sharp intellect, irrepressible humor, and an opinionated tongue that
spared no fool!


Born in Brooklyn, his childhood was spent in Old Greenwich, CT. Following his father and
uncle, and never considering anywhere else, David joined the Class of ‘69 at Dartmouth, and
spent another two years at the Amos Tuck School of Business for his MBA. He took his beloved
green and ran with it. His fashion statement was primarily Dartmouth t-shirts, accessorized by
Dartmouth mugs, and Dartmouth magnets. His dream house on Malin’s Point featured the
predictable color scheme of ...you guessed it — DARTMOUTH green!


By the end of his third year, David realized that he was heading down the wrong track —
economics and New York City. He knew that his head was not in cities but in the woods of New
Hampshire. Or Canada. After graduating from Dartmouth, David started work at the Ted Bates
Advertising Agency in NYC, and two years later transferred to the Toronto office where he
stayed for 15 years, inching ever closer to Malin’s Point. Then came the move to Pembroke in
1989 where he did free-lance marketing and graphics with Design House. After producing his
impressive 25th Anniversary Reunion Book in 1994, other Dartmouth classes wanted Reunion
Books and that became his business. Overall, he produced 26 Reunion Books for his Dartmouth
colleagues. In 1998 came the move Sheenboro after building “a real house” on the site of his
great-grandfather’s fishing camp, with 25 acres on the Ottawa River. In 2003, we celebrated his
gaining Canadian citizenship.


Community and camaraderie charged David’s life and he was an integral force in so many
projects and organizations. At Dartmouth, he was passionate about the college station, WDCR
and spent many hours DJing with his “Buds.” If you are on Facebook, you surely followed his
Coronavirus Songfest for 267 days, the logo of which was a collage of 45rpm records he had on
his Dartmouth dorm room wall. If there was a youngster who needed mentoring, David stepped
in. He formally participated in the Big Brother Program in NYC, Toronto, and Pembroke.
Informally, many of our children benefited from his care.


David loved Sheenboro and served it well as a Councilor and passionate participant. He honored
his heritage and community as a founder and chief spokesman for the Old Fort William
Cottagers Association, and as well as the regular newsletters sent out far and wide, he built a
website to keep cottagers informed. He was zealous about politics: local, national, Canadian and
US. No politician’s slip or slight escaped his notice and biting commentary on Facebook. David
hosted movie nights in the dead of winter and the epic yearly eggnog party (which this writer
even attended once, driving from Massachusetts for the weekend!). He was an ardent
communicator, in constant contact with friends from childhood, college, ex-colleagues,
neighbors...he never stopped expanding his friend group; the person he met on the Oiseau Trail,
the boater in distress, the guest of a cottager...out of the blue would come a birthday greeting or
an invitation to visit the area.


A devoted techie, David was an early adopter of anything Apple and was very pleased that he
had the foresight to purchase Apple stock in the beginning. His skills on the computer were
prolific, enabling him to continue his reunion book publishing and documenting and cataloguing
thousands of historic photographs, becoming the de facto archivist of the Upper
Pontiac. Along the way, David became the go-to guy for friends and neighbors with tech
questions and issues. (He also became one of those annoying party guests who would pull out his
latest iPhone to show a video in the middle of dinner!)


He was never without a camera, and catalogued parades, fiddle nights, anniversaries, special
events, and parties. So many of us loved and appreciated the collages he would design for us.
Commemorating our history, they hang in places of pride in many homes and cottages.
And oh, how he loved his gadgets! The latest cassette player, then videos, then CDs, iPods, then
DVDs...and computers, and monitors, iPads, and more monitors, and more computers. He
amassed vast collections on all platforms. As a pop music collector and historian, he likely had
over 10,000 songs on his storage devices, and he could name most of them after the first couple
of bars. A river rat in summer, David ran the gamut with water transport; he always had
appropriate dry bags for any portable device or valuable! His floating dock was home to a variety
of watercraft over the years, from the basic “tin can” (aluminum fishing boat), the ridiculously
large Cobalt in which he could transport fourteen lucky people for a cruise up to Deep or Swisha
in 30 seconds or less, an ill-fated Boston Whaler that never lived up to his standards for size and
speed, and his favorite Sea-Doos. There were also the beautiful old canoes in the boathouse.
Many of us enjoyed jaunts “oot and aboot” on those watercraft, and he was always willing to
offer a demo ride to a visitor.


David was a fixture in the lives of hundreds of people on both sides of the border. To many, he
was family. There was no more interesting and entertaining dinner companion than Mr. Prentice.
His love for conversation, wine, grilled salmon, and President’s Choice Fudge Crackle ice cream
was well known. We will remember David's joy of welcoming friends (especially “the Buds”)
for trips to his cottage that became his home. We will remember the grateful feeling of knowing
he kept a watchful eye, bringing all of us closer into the fold of friendship. We will remember
his fridge held together by magnets, the endless adventures, the leadership and mentoring, his
complaints about the unknown varmints that made off with his cats in the night and the beavers
eating his dock. Mostly, we will remember that whatever one needed, David was ready to help.
Let us raise a toast at sunset, be it beer, wine, or gin and bitter lemon. Godspeed David Lyon
Prentice.




 

Comments

I met David early in my Dartmouth career. We didn't communicate much after college until we ended up on Facebook where I learned we had both lived the NY ad biz experience and were both Mac aficionados. I didn't really get involved with him until I joined his Coronavirus Song Group. We communicated a lot about music, grammar, politics, etc. There was always a race among the participants of the Songfest Challenge to post the best songs before anyone else could beat you to the punch. So it was confusing when I woke up on Day 268 and there was no post. Those of us in that group might say that it was the day the music, and David Lyon Prentice, died. 

I never knew Dave as an undergrad, but got to know him through the years with all the things he did for the class.  Wound up sitting next to him at the Sat dinner at our 50th....had me laughing and thinking and wishing I had gotten to know him sooner.   What more can I say.

John Lallis

Dave was very good friend of mine in high school as well as at Dartmouth. He taught me how to drive a stick shift and was at the core of a posse that hung out at Greenwich Point on the weekends. He was at the center of most activities that involved our class, e.g. dances, yearbook, Senior Vaudeville, constant hijinks, always positive, hard-working, and considerate of others. EEK! The foregoing sounds pretty dry and certainly doesn't capture the real Dave at all. So many half-forgotten memories are surfacing....It's hard to believe that he's gone. By producing our reunion books, he was the real glue that kept the class of '69 together, at least for me. Thanks, Dave,for all you've done for that and for GHS '65 as well.

Nick North's picture

I knew David at school as one of his WDCR DJ's. But it was after we left Dartmouth when I got to know him much better. For decades he was the editor of our Class of 69 Newsletter - always interesting and amusing to read his writings and his wry observations on what we had submitted.  I worked  with him on our 50th Reunion Yearbook, writing a few of my own essays and reminiscences and helping with the editing and proofing process. He looked after an elderly uncle who lives near me in Hudson, OH. He'd come to visit him often and we met several times for breakfast. But as Nait pointed out, it was in participation in his Coronavirus Songfest when I feel I got to know him best. He would post his new challenge each day - either at midnight or 1AM which would delight the Pacific Coast participants because they could get a leg up on the Easterners, who in turn benefited from his 8 AM postings. Oddly, his last post was at 437 AM on January 4th, a very strange time. And then no post on the 5th. I thought about it but just concluded that David had decided to take the day off. He would have deserved a break, but we did not deserve to lose him. Some of you who attended the memorial service at our 50th may remember that Roy Hitchings, John Hughes and I sang the Michael Jackson song "Gone Too Soon". ".....Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight; here one day, and gone one night....." In the best spirit of David's Songfest, I post a link to that lovely lovely song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiBWyYZ-vlc

I first met Dave on my freshman trip. That tends to cement ones image in your mind. Although we weren't in any clubs or dorms together, we crossed paths often and Dave was always jovial and engaging. I especially enjoyed reminiscing at the reunions. I guess it's true that the good go first. He will truly be missed. 

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