David Allen Van Nest
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David Allen Van Nest
After a brief illness Dave left us on 23rd October 2019, at Machias, Maine, where he had been hospitalized. The owner of Washington County Plumbing & Heating of Columbia Falls, which he established upon moving to Maine and whose customers he served as a Master Plumber for many years, he was keenly interested in Maine woods and streams.
He was the sort of fisherman who, if he eventually caught a brookie or a smallmouth, counted it less important than the larger experience of being out on the stream with water in his boots and black flies in his hair. The appearance of a lynx in the backyard was the occasion for an excited phone call ("Guess what I saw today!").
A graduate of Governor Livingstone Secondary School in New Jersey, he served as a sergeant in the U. S. Army's Special Forces during the war in Vietnam. Dave was a founder of The Ark, a Washington County animal welfare society, whose first facilities were built on his property in Harrington and very much with his own hands.
He was especially good with dogs, and many a German shepherd (a favorite breed) accompanied him on long walks in his woods and tours by pick-up of the Barrens in their Fall colours.
Dave was a talented illustrator and watercolorist who created, among other works, the furry and personable illustrations for his brother's raccoon stories, "The Trouble with Children" and "Raccoon Moon".
He saw the humor in everyday absurdities and surprises, in the way someone's personality tries to accommodate itself to the unexpected. So it was, for example, that selecting a large, black and yellow bass lure from which several treble hooks dangled, he realized it was not this time the bass which had been caught but the fisherman himself.
There were many of these stories- the fixes people tried before spending money on the plumber, the disorienting effects of idiosyncratic lot and box numbers on GPS- guided couriers dispatched by Amazon-, and they all went well with an Old Milwaukee, but now Dave's not here.
David A. Van Nest leaves his daughter, Renee, of Charlotte, North Carolina; his long-time partner, Alanna Gertz, of Harrington, Maine; his sister Mary Ellen Bills of Austin, Texas; brothers Robert of Norway, Maine, and William of Peterborough, Ontario; nephews and grandchildren.
Donations to animal welfare would be appreciated.
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