David Kann Lelewer '62
From The Olio
DAVID KANN LELEWER
147 Beach Road, Glencoe, Illinois
Prepared at New Trier High School.
Alpha Delta Phi, Secretary
Crew "1962", "A", 2,3,4. Soccer "1962".
Career Conference Committee.
Double Quartet, Business Manager.
Kirby Theater Business Board.
Mt Holyoke Drama Club.
David Kann (Dave) Lelewer '62 died February 23, 1997.
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Dave Lelewer was one of the world's thoroughly decent human beings and a caring friend, thoughtful advisor, and encouraging mentor to others at Amherst and throughout his life. He died February 23 of acute liver failure at his home in San Rafael, CA.
Dave came to Amherst from New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL. He played freshman soccer and rowed varsity crew. With his mellow tenor and his engaging smile, he charmed audiences for three years as a member of the DQs. He was on the business board of Kirby Theater. He joined Alpha Delta Phi. Senior year he was a freshman dorm advisor and also helped to organize the career conference.
Dave's own career helped others and promoted the common good through a mix of public service, nonprofit leadership, and private entrepreneurship. After Amherst, Dave went to Stanford Law School and then served as While House Fellow with responsibilities in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He subsequently served as special assistant to John D. Rockefeller III, managing Rockefeller's personal philanthropic projects.
From there, Dave moved to New Orleans to become director of communications for the Family Health Foundation, working on both domestic and international family planning programs. Then came the move to California, where he became vice president of Wells Fargo Bank, in charge of customer service. Later he joined Levi Strauss and Company, with worldwide responsibilities as senior vice president of human resources. Finally, in 1985 Dave went into business on his own, and co-founded the Napa Consulting Group, where he was chairman until his death. Among civic activities, Dave was past president of the board of directors of the Friends of San Francisco Library and of the Marin AIDS Project.
Dave and I were good friends at Amherst. We met on the freshman soccer team, performed in a less-than-memorable freshman singing group, roomed together sophomore year along with Tim Evers in Pratt Dormitory. were in the same fraternity, and even shared the job as campus mailman. Then our paths simply took us in different directions. We hadn't seen each other for over twenty years when I was in San Francisco for a few days last year and we got together for lunch.
It was good to catch up with Dave, and I'm grateful I had what turned out to be my last visit with him. He was in great shape---looking young, fit, and vigorous---and we clicked immediately as if no time had passed since our last conversation. He talked with the enthusiasm and verve I remember from Amherst about his partner, R.J. Valentino, his family, his work, his volunteer activities, his life in California. I remember thinking, good for Dave for having his life together and for being at peace. I didn't realize that a year later he'd be gone.
Dave's last few weeks were difficult as his health faded rapidly. His brother Stan '59 told me with great admiration about the courage and dignity with which Dave faced death. Those qualities come as no surprise to those who knew him.
Dave's family captured it well when they wrote, "David's special qualities assure him a place in the hearts of his many friends and colleagues. So many people turned to him for guidance. He had a wonderful gift that enabled him to listen without judging, offer sympathy and understanding, and help clarify feelings and choices. His own zest for life and his positive attitude were inspirational."
Dave, you were a good person. You'll be missed. Your zest for life and positive attitude live on.
---JIM GUEST '62