Last week, while working on my “Monday Musings”, I received a text message from my daughter Kelsey. Normally that’s a happy thing. This time it wasn’t. She was telling me that our friend Dave Anderson had died the night before.
Dave and Chris Anderson just showed up at Rose City Park United Methodist Church one Sunday. They kept coming back. So I invited them to my Pastor’s Class. They both became members. I baptized Dave. I noticed that his answer was a little vague when I asked him what he did for a living.
Then one day I heard him on the radio. He was filling in for a local talk show host. His mastery of what was happening in the news was amazing, as was his sense of humor. Then I learned that he was well-known in Portland as a stand-up comedian. He got Helen and me tickets to one of his shows. We were in stitches and, in contrast to the warm-up acts, his material had nothing in it he wouldn’t mind his pastor hearing. Most of his material was ad-libbed. He would just talk to people in the audience and go with whatever they said. His wit was as quick, as sharp, and as funny as I have ever heard.
One Sunday after church, he told me his father had died. He wondered if I would do the service. I did. I also had the privilege of baptizing his two children, Quinton and McKenna. Kelsey became their regular babysitter.
While we were serving that church, Dave’s career took off. By the time we left (2003), he was co-host of “The Mark and Dave Show”, an afternoon drive-time radio talk show. Soon thereafter he became co-host of “AM Northwest”, a morning television show. He was very much a local celebrity. But he never changed from the humble, kind, unassuming man I met that firstSunday he showed up in church.
Two years ago, Dave announced on the air that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had his pancreas removed and continued with both his morning and afternoon shows all through his treatments. He was very candid in talking about what he was facing but was never comfortable with all the sympathy he was generating. He actually made jokes — jokes that made you laugh — about his cancer. The clip I have attached shows you what I mean.
I’ve met a lot of people in my years as a pastor. And I’ve lost of lot of people to death. This one especially stings. I think of his wife, I think his two children, I think of all the people who never met him but thought he was their best friend because he was a big part of their day, Monday through Friday.
I pulled out of a file drawer the service I did for his dad. The scripture I read then is just as fitting now: “We grieve, but not as those who have no hope . . .” (I Thessalonians 4:13).