The passing of a dear friend: David Rooney

“My life is a journey in progress. I am fortunate or, if you believe in Chinese curses, unfortunate to live in interesting times.”

David F. Rooney (Linked-In profile statement)

by Laura Stovel

David F. Rooney, owner, publisher, editor and journalist for the Current passed away peacefully at home on July 21st. He will be greatly missed.

Dear Current readers,

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to say that David F. Rooney, owner, publisher, editor and journalist of the Current passed away peacefully on Friday, July 21 at his home in Revelstoke.

David grew up travelling the world with his family as his father worked for ALCAN. He went to school for a few years in Switzerland and lived in Colombia during his teenage years. He loved his years in Colombia and often spoke of them. He recently found the photo below of himself on horseback when he was 16.

David worked in the field of journalism since 1979. He worked for the Canadian Press and Ottawa Citizen in Ottawa, the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Sun, and the Banff Crag & Canyon. He also wrote the textbook Reporting and Writing for Canadian Journalists and taught journalism and web design at the Centre for Communications Studies at Mount Royal College in Calgary from 1998 to 2000.

David wrote in his Facebook post: “I was 16 in this photo and was getting used to riding this horse we rented in Toribio for our second journey up to the parajmo region of the Nevado de Huila in 1970. At the time, Toribio was certainly the end of the line for civilization. Beyond was a patchwork of tiny farms owned by Paez Indians living in much the same way their ancestors had lived back in the 1500s. It was quite an adventure for my brother Brian and I!”

In the fall of 2001 David moved to Revelstoke to take up the position of editor of the Revelstoke Times Review. He very quickly became part of the fabric of Revelstoke – as a journalist, artist and active volunteer. He served on the board of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Society and later the Greenbelt Society. He volunteered with the Safe Spaces Society and supported the Revelstoke for Refugees effort to bring a Syrian family to Revelstoke among his many community efforts.

David left the Times Review to become the Revelstoke-based assistant of the Conservative MP in Ottawa, Jim Abbott and then went on to create his on-line newspaper, The Current, in July 2009.

Whatever David took on he gave his whole heart to – sometimes to his own detriment as he worked incredibly hard and did not always take time to rest. He gave generously to community initiatives. Despite the challenges of the newspaper business, he was always ready to give free or low-cost advertising to good causes such as fundraisers for refugee sponsorship and for victims of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

David’s intricate acrylic paintings captured the beauty and wonder of nature around Revelstoke

David was a gifted artist whose intricate acrylic paintings of rocks, rivers, mountains and night skies captured the majesty and mystery of the moment. My favorite of his paintings were the series he did of red fish spawning in which he captured in detail this powerful rite of autumn in Revelstoke.

He was also a great and generous patron of other local artists. His apartment was filled to the brim with the paintings and pottery of many of Revelstoke’s finest artists.

Above all, David was a dear friend to me and to many people in Revelstoke, and he was a loving father, grandfather, son and brother to his family who he cared for deeply. He loved hanging out at Sangha Bean cafe and, later, Conversations Coffee House, where he would meet with friends and feel like part of a Revelstoke family – which he was.

For me, David was a dear friend, a mentor and a wonderful employer. He was always fair, always supported my ideas for articles, and was always up for an adventure.  I will miss him dearly.

David touched so many lives and those of us who knew him have stories to share about him and his contributions. I encourage you to write some of those stories on the Current Facebook page. We will collect them for his family. You can also e-mail me, Laura Stovel, at [email protected]

 

 

 

Comments

16 Responses to “The passing of a dear friend: David Rooney”
  1. Patti Larson says:

    On behalf of Community Connections we would like to express our sincere condolences to David’s family, friends and colleagues at this sad time. David was a strong supporter of our programs and services and could always be counted on for taking photos, writing stories and interviewing people to ensure he had all the information. David had a soft spot for the Food Bank and was always saddened when he heard of the struggles that people faced. His own life experience and beliefs made him an amazing advocate for Community Connections and we will always be grateful for his kindness and generosity. RIP David and thank you for caring so deeply for our community.

    Patti Larson
    Executive Team
    Community Connections

  2. leslie savage says:

    David was a dear friend to both me and my husband and we shall miss him greatly. David and I met when I approached him at the corner of First and MacKenzie on the night that we rang the Anglican Church bell 100 times and I proposed to him, out of the blue and totally without forethought, that I write a food column for The Current. He accepted on the spot, and we spent the next few weeks sorting out how it would work. He came up with the logo Savage Delights, and for about five years the column ran almost weekly.

    We discovered along the way that we shared a number of experiences: we had both lived in Cali, Colombia in 1970-71; we both knew Medellin; we had both taught at a community college in Communications Departments; and we were both journalists, artists and lovers of good food and wine. In most of these categories David outshone me by far.

    David was an accomplished painter, and I’m glad to say we own three of his works—one of which is pictured here, The Green Man, he called it. We never talked about its meaning—this was so clear to me it didn’t require explanation. Deeply committed to environmental sustainability, David made The Green Man painting as a personification of Nature distraught and despairing—possibly a reflection of a certain pessimistic, or at least sardonic, vision of life in the 21st. Several years ago he tried very hard to cut back on his journalistic work running The Current so as to spend more time painting, but it’s unclear whether he was able to do this.

    Essentially a creative and relentlessly independent person, David, it seems to me, was inevitably caught up in the need to support himself without the bulwarks of institutions or corporate life. The images he has posted of his life as a young man in Colombia resonate beyond everything else, to me, as his essential self—perhaps because I’ve lived in the regions he visited, have seen the depth of Andean wilderness valleys from roads that twist and turn and not infrequently slide down the hillsides, and have known the appeal of remote terrain where mangos grow wild, and towns where and the aroma of roasting coffee, chocoate and cumin wafts on every evening breeze. When we made empanadas together for one of the multicultural fairs in Revy, these memories came alive for both of us. The Revelstoke Current was entirely his creation, and he worked on it tirelessly.

    David, amigo mio, que le vaya muy bien.

  3. RevCur069 says:

    Thank you Laura for sharing the sad news of David’s passing. I imagine it was a difficult task. Those of us who enjoyed his company, sense of humour and many conversations will be hard pressed to find someone to replace the quality person who was always willing to give of his time.

    Dinah Collette

  4. RevCur069 says:

    Thank you Laura for sharing the sad news of David’s passing. I imagine it was a difficult task. Those of us who enjoyed his company, sense of humour and many conversations will be hard pressed to find someone to replace the quality person who was always willing to give of his time.

  5. Patricia Sieber says:

    From my faraway home by the sea, I want to say how sad to learn that David no longer walks among us. It has been my habit to check the Current online to keep abreast of what is happening in my former home. I could count on David reporting on the important things and to present a balanced view of affairs. During my years in Revelstoke I had many opportunities to learn how deeply David appreciated Revelstoke’s diversity of opinions and yet tried to always remain professional in reporting the facts. To me he was always an example of what a professional journalist should be. In addition to that I appreciate his love for Revelstoke and its people. He will be missed.

  6. George Hopkins says:

    I am deeply saddened to learn of David’s passing. He was a wonderful friend from the time he first came to Revelstoke. We had many great conversations about a lot of different things. He was always ready, willing and able to help anyone in any way he could. Anytime I went downtown or attended any event, I always looked around to find David even if only to say “hi” and ask him how everything was going. I can’t put into words how much I will miss him.

  7. Gary McLaughlin says:

    To learn of the death of such a huge part of the Revelstoke community is shocking and sad. I can speak personally to the fact that David loved Revelstoke and worked hard to share its stories to the world. He dropped everything to support me as a police officer in Revelstoke for the years I was there and continued to be a beacon of right and supporter of those who needed a hand up.

    Your loss will be felt in Revelstoke for a long time David. God Speed my friend.

  8. rem says:

    We lost a man who made it his mission to remind us constantly of the richness and beauty of this mountain town. No issue that had an effect on it was over looked be it good or bad. You leave a large void in this community that will not be easily filled. I will miss you my friend

  9. ber says:

    This is sad day for Revelstoke losing a find friend! my friend we had lot to talk about.
    Always very professional said the the way it is .
    I learned so much from him over a cup of coffee.

    Peter Bernacki

  10. Steve Bender says:

    The passing of my good friend has left a hole in my world. I will miss his journalistic drive for the story behind the story, the other points of view, the genuine and ceaseless desire to assist his community and his always sceptical eye on the news of the day. It doesn’t get any better for a journalist but most of all I will miss his sense of humour.
    I Think I just heard one more belly laugh on the wind.
    I celebrate his life and friendship.
    Join me in a sentence we often shared, one more time, “God I hate autocorrect.”

    Steve Bender.

  11. Teed says:

    It broke my and Bonnie’s heart when news of David’s passing reached us. I thoroughly enjoyed the stimulating conversation and the quirky humor over coffee at Sangha Bean and Conversations with David. He was a very interesting man and enjoyed his company immensely. Revelstoke has lost a true pillar of our community and he will be greatly missed.
    John Teed

  12. kanjitiger says:

    Thank you so much, Laura, for sharing this very sad news.

    I had heard the news by word of mouth and hoped that it was only a Revelstoke rumour, but I knew that David was in hospital for a time so in my heart I knew that he had left us.‎

    I am blessed to have considered David my friend and as someone I could always count on to “give it to me straight” when tough questions or decisions presented themselves.‎

    As the past chair of Revelstoke Safe Spaces Society and Revelstoke Theatre Company ‎I very much appreciated that David was always there helping, offering guidance, thoughts and opinions and always supporting everything that we did. As you said, he was a very valuable and much loved part of the fabric of our lives!

    David wrote many reviews of Revelstoke Theatre Company performances‎ and one of the things I will always remember is that very often he would catch and share subtle performance elements which contributed to the depth of the stories we were telling. In some cases his reviews even assisted our actors in understanding their characters and the story. And his reviews always drew audiences to our shows! In one instance of a very controversial show we performed, I am certain that it was his review which sold out the house every night of a two week run.

    As a visual artist David also loved the performing arts, including live theatre. In all the years I knew him, David never missed a single performance‎ of the Theatre Company. In fact, at the start time of one show I held the show from beginning. An upset director asked me why and I said, “because David isn’t here yet.” When David arrived only a minute or two later I gave him a comical, chastising look and said, “David, your seat is waiting. Please take it quickly and we’ll get started.”

    David, there is a seat waiting for you in heaven! If you have not done so already, please take it quickly. On behalf of Revelstoke Theatre Company, it’s artistic directors, actors, and board of directors I wish you Godspeed ‎on your journey and our thanks and blessings always!

    Martin‎

  13. Peter Humphreys says:

    You have passed away far too early my friend. Revelstoke journalism is going to miss you.

  14. Syd Blackwell says:

    Viya con dios, mi amigo. Te extrañaré a ti ya tu periódico.

  15. Krista Stovel says:

    Hi Laura, Thank you for sharing this sad news. For my children he was Uncle David who always had time to stop and ask them how they were doing. He came to many family events and was loved and cherished as an artist, a journalist and member of the community. He recently shared with me memories of his childhood living in a number countries and I remember him making tortillas the way he was taught as a teenager in Columbia. I am thinking of his sons, his family and the many dear friends who will miss David immensely.