An illustrious member of the Wes community has gone to spirit at 65. His time on campus was over four decades past. Understandable the current and past student bodies might be thinking: ho-hum. Listen if you choose.
Nothing mournful. The Rev dude, like Diamond Jim Brady, would be slurping abundant oysters, downing twin lobster specials, and draining a super-fine bottle of Chardonnay reading his obit. In an era of large gusto, he was a big spirit in play. Football hero, Skull and Bones, not a life success story, but not one you can forget. I know. I was his friend.
David Revenaugh is gone and the Wes community should take a slight moment to give a nod to an outrageous, memorable, desperado member of the family. Not common, more irascible. He was more than a jock, although his football prowess was truly legendary. He was a bit of a scoundrel if there is a best sense of the word. Not one for Chamber of Commerce encomiums. He was fearless, without regret, with a very hearty laugh at life’s frivolity. Rev was a man with vision, had trouble with execution, but was always worth the price of admission. Brilliant ideas. No point – too long – to list his ventures. He was ship’s captain, chartered and transported boats, rebuilt some, took a stab at a “green construction” development that was impressively cool. I loved his incredible, incomprehensible thinking and less than successful bravado. He was major in big life, less so in results. You want a raconteur? The total best. Fun, companionable, self-effacing and loving. The man could laugh at himself.
Back in the day, Rev was a football legend. He was not simply part of the Lambert Cup Division III ’69 undefeated national championship team. With every due respect to the other many great ones, he and Pete Panciera were the difference. He held many Wes records for decades. 6’1, 235, fast as a rocket and bruising. If you watched the tapes, his punishing, accurate blocking was as much impressive as his running and receiving. He had the football pedigree out of Fairfield Prep and could have chosen Syracuse or Notre Dame. He wanted Westech. He did not want to be remembered as a jock. For Wes, it paid big time. Rev was the deal—he delivered. I could not capture here the fun and joy of his athleticism.
At the same time, he was a garrulous, seeking Deke majoring in English with a love for literature and nicely nuanced writing skills while trying to master the flute. What?
Rev and I took a transcontinental journey in the summer of 1971 in a 1938 6 cylinder flat head Plymouth, named Blue. It was of his purchase with suicide doors (open to the back) and a back seat compartment bigger than a ballroom. To describe the essence of that journey is too much to record here. A wondrous tale of those times. I will say it was a route through Canada and back through the northern states. We left with minimal cash and picked up work along the way everywhere – the biggest as laborers in remodeling Sunshine Village in Banff for three weeks at outrageously good pay. More stories—like doing an Arthur Murray dance studio gig for cash in Calgary. Yes, we did gnarly, wild parts of San Francisco in the flower power days. Yes, we had the freedom of Reno – leave it alone. We nearly got shot in a reservation roadhouse outside of Vegas. We were in a barroom brawl in Cheyenne during Rodeo Days—Rev took the cowboys out, not boasting but I did my share. No more point in details. It was beautiful, most of all comical. All in all, an epic Canadian/American journey in a ’38 Plymouth of the time. Rev was the best road trip hombre ever.
Life went far beyond the road trip—not always kind. My friend—a Wesleyan hero of yore—has passed. Every generation at Wesleyan believes they own the space and they do. There are always lives that lived and thrived before us, after us, every much as vibrant. Rev went through medical afflictions unknown to God, flat-lined three times over the last decade. It was not pretty or fair. Talk tough? He was that and kind, funny and a character. He loved his family—Carly, Nathan and their beautiful twin boys.
Adios, my friend
Karl Schumacher ’72