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Dave died at Bailey-Boushay House on Oct. 12, 2011.
The Best 10,000 Days
Dave Ravenscroft needed and loved people. He could make any occasion into a party. He even enjoyed his own wake.
“Fifty-plus old friends from high school didn’t want a wake without Dave,” explains his younger brother, Mike. So they held “a pre-wake” about a year before Dave entered end-of-life care at Bailey-Boushay House in 2011.
When Mike came back to tell Dave’s story, he brought along six other people. Narrowing the number was a challenge because, Mike says, “450 of Dave’s best friends showed up for his (real) memorial service.”
That’s no exaggeration, says Lisa, Dave’s friend of 35 years. “He was generous, funny, and he really made you feel you were his best friend.”
A former crab fisher and longtime real estate agent, Dave was an extraordinary athlete (after a 20-year hiatus from golf, he got a hole in one on his third round). He loved kids, played guitar expertly, was a lady’s man, and edged his wit with sarcasm.
He was an otherwise healthy, 56-year-old man with aggressive throat cancer and complications from treatment.
When he could no longer talk, he texted. He also gestured to make sure guests were introduced to staff, offered food treats and made welcome.
He dove right into the Bailey-Boushay community. Dave gave the fist bump to other residents in the hallways. He joined activities from arm yoga and Bingo to quarterly dinner parties for residents’ friends and families. He even threw a surprise birthday party for his nurse, complete with a chocolate cake bearing her name.
To his delight, Dave had a steady stream of visitors. Many were people he’d sponsored in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. In gratitude, they brought AA and NA meetings to him every week for six months.
Bailey-Boushay made space available so Dave could keep in contact with his huge support network.
“He was clean and sober for 10,060 days — more than 27 years,” Mike says. “It was very important to him. He helped lots of people get clean. He laughed about everything, but he was very serious about that.”
Dave loved Bailey-Boushay, Mike says, because it was a place where he could die with dignity. He could get a shower every day and be fully dressed in street clothes, sitting in a chair to greet his guests. Visits from his cat, Licorice, were poignant reunions for man and pet.
His room was a good hang-out place. The food delighted him. He felt embraced by residents and staff alike.
His friend Ross gives kudos to the Bailey-Boushay staff for behind-the-scenes support. “A lot of the really great things that happened at the end of Dave’s life were allowed because he had his freedom. It made a huge difference that he was able to maintain his relationships.”