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Dear Denise, Megan and Gillian...
I was so sad to hear this morning that Dana is gone. Following behind him at Governor Dummer Academy, he was always bigger than life for me. He always got into more trouble, got better grades, and was more tuned-in than us littler kids. Years later, during the heady rush of the information age and new technology we occasionally met in the Bay Area, and even then he remained BIG in my eyes, a role model, a creative success, someone to look up to. Perhaps that's what greatness is, being always a step ahead of the crowd.
In the 1930's, Dana's grandfather literally saved my diabetic mother's teenage life, so the Atchley name was always spoken with reverence in my home; without the Atchleys, my story and that of my thirteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, would never have been. Dana, as the first of my age-peers and colleagues who has actually really definitely died, yet again leaves me looking up to him, to his ideas, to his creative spirit, his love of life. Remembering him from times near the beginning of his own story, I miss him, now. And now the road turns grayscale without his colorful shape to catch my eye...
Such threads and connections and memories, some rope-strong, others tenuous, seem to dissolve and break as we negotiate our way into and through older age, as friends one-by-one dissappear. There may be an advantage to going early: bad would be winning the race and "outliving them all," alone, with no connections left.
I'm glad he had the three of you and more at his side. Still bigger than life, Dana leaves behind a full and rich contribution to the common good, and in his wake today are real people whose own stories were bettered by his presence. Mine was.
With much love,