A tribute to a dear friend

Dear friends,

You may have noticed that the blog has been silent the last few days. That’s because on Tuesday morning, we learned the heartbreaking news that John’s dear friend Dave, who was also due to be a groomsman at our wedding, passed away suddenly over the weekend.

It didn’t feel right to keep blogging about our wedding plans without acknowledging that someone who was such a big part of them is gone. We can’t be at the funeral, so I hope you don’t mind but John would like to post his own tribute to Dave. We will be holding him in our hearts on the day and for the rest of our lives.

John, Aydin, Dave and Todd at university – Image (c) John Gibbs (Sr)

“This week the world lost one its the truly amazing people, and a large group of people, me included, lost a very dear friend in the passing of David Wong.

Like many of his friends, I first met Dave through our university newspaper, the Avion, where he was a seasoned veteran photographer and I, a wet-behind-the-ears newbie reporter. I remember being a bit scared of him at first, this straight-talking Curacaoan whose catch phrases included “shit head” and “you fokkers!” Dave taught us all many things about photography, the newspaper business, life in general and everything in between. His amazing photography has been seen the world over, most of if reflecting his love of all things flying.

If you read the eulogies on Facebook, Dave is remembered as a big-hearted man, never too busy for anyone and always a font of useful information. Above all he was an amazing friend to so many people. When the horrible news broke of his death, people from all four corners of the world came together to mourn the loss of a great friend.

Dave’s passing reminds all of us that knew him of the fragility of life, of the need to seize life it both hands and make the most of it, and more fundamentally, of the importance of friendship and keeping in touch.

Dave, it was an honour to know you and to be your friend. You touched so many lives in your own unique way. Spreid je vleugels en vlieg hoog, mijn vriend.”

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

- John Magee

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