David Demeré, 51, died Nov 1, 2010, of bone marrow cancer, seven and a half years after being told he had a six-month life expectancy. David lived gallantly, both with cancer and without, and died at home with friends and family by his side.

He was born in Marietta, Ga., April 18, 1959, the third of four children of Margaret and Charles Demeré. He spent his youth in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., attended the Quaker Sidwell Friends School there, and graduated from St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. During his Washington years, David formed several lifelong friendships at Macomb Playground.

David possessed two qualities that all who knew him would instantly identify: his boundless enthusiasm and his detail-oriented planning and craftsmanship. Beginning at an early age, these abilities facilitated innumerable outdoor adventures and deep encounters with the natural world.

At age 15, David and three friends hiked the Long Trail through the Green Mountains. Without adult chaperons, they completed the 260-mile trip in 30 days. The next summer, he and a friend took a summer-long bike ride from Washington to Maine and back. His practical skills and notable Southern charm persuaded their parents that the teens were capable of venturing forth on their own. Later, David traversed the rest of the U.S. by bicycle.

David found huge satisfaction in sharing the wonders of nature with family, friends and young people. He attended the College of the Atlantic, focusing on outdoor ecological education, and worked as an environmental educator at Tanglewood in Lincolnville.

David’s happiest moments were marked by whoops of joy, whether upon scaling precipitous peaks, plunging into frigid mountain lakes or ocean waters, or cutting the waves with strong winds filling his sails. He loved sailing, and also worked as a sailing instructor and made boat deliveries.

As a member of Come Boating! in Belfast, David taught youth and adult sailing and founded a youth rowing program. David danced with joy at contras, ballroom venues, and outdoors at Belfast Summer Nights, where he, in his yellow crocs, was frequently the first person up dancing, always exhorting others to join in.

David’s essential quest was to live a meaningful life: to do meaningful work, explore inner and outer worlds, and always strive to do better. In 1985 David learned about co-counseling and pursued it fervently. Over the years he learned to be easier on himself and others, and to be an engaged listener. Even in his final weeks, he was trying to do a better job loving people and loving himself. It is possible that his efforts to live with, beat and eventually die with cancer became his most successful pursuit in making life meaningful to him and those around him.

He sought a spiritual life, grounded in nature and nurtured by numerous Christian, Buddhist and self-inquiry studies, most recently through the Belfast UU Church, Non-Violent Communication, the work of Byron Katie, the poetry of Rumi and of Danna Faulds, and his marriage to Tara. He took care of his body with plentiful exercise and good diet, and his strength of body and spirit kept him alive through three rounds of stem cell transplants, and repeated chemotherapy and radiation.

David loved carpentry and crafted a low-impact, self-sufficient lifestyle: renovating old homes, building a greenhouse, and cutting firewood. He built boats with his sons Seth and Tyler, helped build Toddy Pond School, and was an involved and loving homeschooling father, He was also a WERU volunteer, Belfast Co-Op board member, soccer coach, eco-feminist, singer, drummer and visionary.

He was a board member and chairman of Debley Foundation, a family charitable foundation working to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls around the world.

David traveled to Kenya with Expanding Opportunites to help build housing, and to Louisiana with his St. Paul’s Class of ‘77 to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity after Hurricane Katrina. With David as their drummer, the St. Paul’s alumni played a short rock-n-roll concert to cheer on the weary longstanding Habitat volunteers.

David was a lifelong peace activist. He worked for Peace Action Maine on door-to-door campaigns, organized conferences for War Tax Resisters, and was once arrested during a nonviolent protest at the Bangor Air National Guard base, spending the night in jail. A dedicated member of the Waldo County Peace and Justice Group, David founded the Waldo County Peace Activist Award in 2005 to support graduating seniors pursuing peace studies.

David is survived by his parents, Margaret and Charles; his wife, Tara; a stepson, Cameron; three siblings, Bill, Jodie and Paul; three children, Lucretia, Seth and Tyler, their partners, and their mother, Chris; three grandchildren, Minh, Ada and Minh’s newborn brother; and countless cherished family and friends.

He will be missed.

A memorial celebration of David’s life will be held Saturday, Nov. 20, at 11 am, at the First Church, 8 Court St. in Belfast. Following the service will be a potluck lunch and contra dance.

Donations in David’s memory may be sent to the Waldo County Peace Activist Award’s fiscal agent, “Belfast Area Friends Meeting,” with the memo notation “Peace Award” c/o C. Biebel, Treasurer, 242 Fisher Road, Monroe, ME 04951.

The blog David and Tara kept of his last days can be seen at: davidslastadventure.blogspot.com/