David Lewerenz: In Memoriam

A few days before he was shockingly diagnosed with brain cancer, David Lewerenz called me on the phone to talk tennis. His granddaughter had just been a ball girl at a tournament for one of Iga Swiatek’s (now the world’s #1 player) matches. They shared a Polish heritage, and his granddaughter and Iga spoke briefly about it. He also told me about his recent, and biggest, tennis accomplishment: winning the runner-up trophy at a 3.0 tournament with just three players in it. Click here for the full story.

When I learned of Dave’s passing on May 31 of this year, I texted my two daughters. They had both spent endless hours with Dave, who was their religious education teacher at the Unitarian-Universalist church we attended in Tahlequah. My eldest daughter, Emily, immediately texted back: “He was a beautiful soul. We were lucky to know him.”

The core of Dave’s being came from two things he did better than anyone I have ever known: deep listening and right speech. Whenever he listened to someone, every fiber of his being was focused on listening and understanding that person. And whenever he did speak, often with his impish grin, he practiced what Buddhism calls right speech: no gossip, no harsh words, no divisive speech. Only carefully considered words that will best promote harmony, growth, understanding . . .

My daughters and I will continue a lifetime’s work to be more like the person Dave modeled so beautifully for us. Thank you, Dave, for this gift.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Patrice, his wife and our dear friend, and the rest of his family.

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