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We've lost a vital, humble community member

I spent Sunday, Sept. 14, wondering how I would fill the gap left in my life by the death of David Easton. I also wonder how this community will fill that same gap.

David Easton was a vital member of our Forest Grove family. There are many things he was involved in that benefited this community and made it a better place. For many a high school student — my two sons included — he provided them with jobs at Ace Hardware, a practice he learned from his predecessor, Ray Miller. He served on Washington County’s Planning Commission a number of years ago, and serving on any planning commission can be a thankless task. He did it with grace and understanding.

The city of Forest Grove has a grant program for non-profits to apply for funds to take on various community tasks. Those applications are ruled on by the city council and the proceeds, never enough to match the amount of the requests, are doled out.

One such request was for funds to maintain and purchase flags for our flag pole on the east side of Forest Grove. That came from our volunteer firefighters association. Dave Easton took on the task of writing businesses and other concerns throughout Forest Grove, asking that donations be made for this cause. His rationale was that this flagpole was our flagpole, and the flag was our flag. We needed to have some skin in the game, and by donating to the cause, we would be taking part. And, by extension, we would make those grant funds, allocated by the city, go further. My understanding is that his drive was fairly successful. I never knew for sure, because David never told me.

Another of David Easton’s passions was Rotary. As he grew older, he knew that his responsibilities at work would lessen, but his involvement wouldn’t. So, still wanting to attend Rotary, and knowing that others would like to participate in that service organization but couldn’t always break free at lunch, he was instrumental in founding the morning, or Daybreak, Rotary club. Now, some two decades later, we have two Rotary clubs in Forest Grove, and some 100 men and women practicing “Service above Self” in both the Noon Rotary and Daybreak Rotary clubs.

David’s faith was a cornerstone of his life. He truly cared for individuals throughout this community and indeed throughout the world. The Old Testament prophet Micah could well have been describing David when it was written: “What does the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, show mercy and walk humbly with thy God?”

David’s passion for humanity is shared by his family, especially his wife, Mary. If you wanted to know what David was thinking, you could find out by asking Mary. And vice versa. They were truly a team, raising a wonderful family and contributing in countless ways to our community.

David and I had our differences. In fact, when we did agree, we both liked to say we must have done something wrong. But I would like to think that our differences were tempered by our respect for each other, by our shared dreams for what our community might become and — a phrase I do not use lightly — our love for each other.

Pete Truax is a member of the Daybreak Rotary Club and mayor of Forest Grove.

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