David Lester Rawson
1952 – 2018
My Brother passed away this morning at the age of 65. He simply stopped breathing. He suffered from COPD and dementia plus a few other age ailments (that many of us have).
David was the 3rd born from Alice Alberta and EJ Rawson. He was born in 1952 and I remember going with my Dad to pick up my Mom and my brother from the hospital in San Diego.
When Dave was young, he followed me everywhere. Probably the big Brother thing but it was fun. We did a lot together. When I think of David I think of him at 8 years old and we were rebuilding a carburetor for my 1938 2 door Chevrolet in our bunk bed. OK, in his bed. Dave actually took the lead, he understood mechanics and I never did. He turned wrenches and I never knew what to do with them.
Our parents passed very early in life. Dad at age 42 and then Mom at age 44. Dad of a heart attack and Mom from Cancer. Just before Mom died, Dave came to live with me. It had been awhile since I had last seen Dave but it was then that I realized how really far apart we were.
I was in the U.S. Air Force and had just returned from a Southeast Asia (Vietnam) deployment and stationed in Tacoma, Washington. I was already married but didn’t have any children. David was cool before anyone had taken the time to define it. He had long hair, used the hip words from the time and I was a squared away young man in the military with very short hair. Already worlds apart.
Dave and I tried making him a platform bed from scrap lumber (I did know how to do carpentry. . . a little). It was a great bed. We made it in the basement and then had to modify it to get it out of the basement and through the front door. That worked out but we didn’t take the narrow stairwell into consideration. At that point, we looked at each other and said, “to hell with it.” We through it in the front yard and spent the next 45 minutes or so ripping it apart with hammers. Lots of fun. He decided to sleep on a pile of blankets. Again, hippies had nothing on Dave.
Then we bought an old plumbing van and wanted to make it super hippie for Dave to drive. The whole project was way beyond our means and understanding at the time. Still, we had a good time beating it up.
After a year or so, Dave and I grew even further apart. I didn’t understand him and he didn’t understand me. Our language, goals and what we liked to do were so far apart. Dave finally had enough and one day, he just left. A couple of months later he showed up at our Grandmother’s home in Kansas. One day he just left there. It would be literally 5 or more years before we had communication. Then, he called and we found out he was married and had a baby girl named Jenny. We went to Washington state where he was living and met his bride Carol and daughter Jenny. She was just a bit older than our oldest daughter, McKay.
For the first time in a long time, Dave and I connected over cars. I’m a car guy and so was Dave, at the time. After that visit, we lost touch again. Dave was into motorcycles and went by the cool name of Noel. Our youngest sister came up with the brilliant idea of asking every biker she could if they knew Noel in Tacoma, WA. Finally, one said, “I think so,” and just like that, she found him and my two sisters and I went to visit him. The four D’s were back. DR, Diane, David and Dale. I have a picture that I’ll post right here when I find it. It was taken about 10 or more years ago at the one and only family reunion that we held in San Diego.
Sadly, Dave and I just never clicked as Brothers, certainly not the last 25 or more years. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t love him . . . not at all. Rarely, a day has passed when I didn’t think of him when we were children.
Curiously, I looked like my Dad and Dave looked like our Grandfather Rawson. Grandpa Rawson was born on January 10, 1902, and lived to be 87 years old.
Dave’s wife Carol, their daughter Jenny, Son-in-law, Steve and Dave, his grandson, are all hurting and missing this mountain of a man who could be at times, larger than life itself.
Dave, I’ll always miss you and I’ll always love you. Say hello, to our Sister Diane that passed away a few years ago.