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Above the Crowd - NAMSAP Remembers Dave DePaolo

Monday, July 25, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jackie Peiffer
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Above the Crowd - NAMSAP Remembers Dave DePaolo
By: Kimberly A. Wiswell, CMSP, Past President, NAMSAP
We lost an industry icon this week. Dave DePaolo lost his life in a motorcycle accident in the hills above his beloved coast and community, not too far from his alma mater, Pepperdine, and his favorite eatery, Malibu Seafood. On the bright side, he lost it doing something he loved - riding his Honda 250, famously nicknamed the "Sewing Machine." However, his loss has impacted the workers' compensation community unlike anything I have ever witnessed in the past 40 years. The outpouring of grief, loss, admiration and, I believe most of all, love from hundreds of people both online and verbally has been truly stunning. Dave touched so many people's lives in such wonderful and meaningful ways.
Whether he was entertaining (and educating!) us at a conference, posting a blog elucidating a plight within the industry, or using his beloved plane, 41Mike to ferry cancer patients to receive desperately needed medical treatment, he was always giving. And Dave saw all sides of the animal that is workers' comp and as such, connected with people from many diverse areas within our industry. It is unusual in my estimation for someone to be so well respected by both sides, payers and claimants. Yet Dave did so with his usual panache, connecting deeply and expressing his thoughts, yet maintaining a lighthearted mood to it all with his full-throated laughter, incredible sense of humor and the ever-present twinkle in his eye. (How can you not love someone who shows up to formal events in a tuxedo paired with a psychedelic bow tie and cummerbund, as well as his custom-painted Dwight Johnsons?)
I think Dave's most defining quality was his love of life and his drive to live it to the fullest. Whether he was biking through the canyons, soaring over southern California in his plane, or simply enjoying the sunset with his family from his balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Dave was always present and fully engaged. This was also truly shown in his intense love for his family - his wife Anne, his daughter Nichole, and his son Tony - as well as in his caring for his extended family, his loyal employees at WorkCompCentral. Constantly all-inclusive, he even involved his father routinely in office events. And for Dave, his fur children were also an important part of his life, from his much loved, though departed, Anatolian Shepherd, Mr. Biggs, who kept an ever-present vigil on frequent beach-goers from his balcony; his Great Dane lap dog named Oloaped (Olo, for short); his special Yorkie girl, Tina; and his Siamese cat, Bothco. Dave shared his love and caring with every one of them.

Dave focused on the positive in any situation - what are the benefits and how can we make it better? This was evident in the way he approached all aspects of life. His enthusiasm was contagious, as was his laughter. In a recent blog posting, Dave shared what he saw as his philosophy of life: "There's a poster hung in a kitchen cabinet of a rental I like. It depicts a child in a Batman costume. The caption is, "Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman."
NAMSAP and many of us personally have lost a dear friend, one of the industry's greatest assets and an all-around great guy. We will truly miss you, Dave. God speed in your continuing journey - we'll try to carry on your legacy.

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