Remembering David Adest


The "Littlest Sailor"

By Howie Levy

I was sadly moved by the news of  the passing in June 2006 of our friend and classmate, David Adest. Although David looked different (and he was different), he was nonetheless a very special person. Tragically, however, his life was filled with illness and financial hardship. But his devoted and beloved wife, Joan, was always at his side for 37 years.

Dave was one of only a few people I know who considered virtually everyone among us to be his friend, and he was likely more proud than anyone just to be one of us the OHS class of 1960. I would bet that in his entire life, he never felt more a part of, or comfortable with, any group of people than our class. And naturally, he loved our class reunions and surely counted them among his life's few joyful highlights.

Listed under his yearbook photo at left are just a few of the many ways Dave participated gleefully with his dear friends and classmates in our school activities. Among only a few other classmates, he also donned the Popeye costume from time-to-time to cheer our Sailors to victory. Dubbed by many as the "littlest Sailor," he was voted most enthusiastic in our senior class poll, and he carried that honor proudly throughout his life. The collection of photos I have assembled below is testimony to that.

When I think about Dave Adest and what I know about how he felt about all of us, I think of how proud we all should be to be part of such a great class. I think of how kids are often mean to other kids who are different, and I think of how when we were kids, all of us always treated David with kindness, understanding, compassion and respect (even as recently as our 45-year reunion in 2005). And we will surely remember and miss our little friend, the "littlest Sailor," at our 50-year reunion.

The 1960 Sailors Association Inc. has arranged  to honor David’s memory in perpetuity
on behalf of our class with an engraved brick, placed in the ground by the now defunct
Oceanside Education Foundation on "Memory Lane" at its Schoolhouse Green location on Foxhurst Road in our little town.




From Spindrift, 1960
(left and below)


 The "Sailor Shop" crew 



On a tour of our alma mater, 2000

  At the Red Store, 2000

Doin' the Stroll with a classmate, 2000

  With old friends at the beach, 2000, proudly
wearing his Class of 1960 40-year reunion t-shirt


My last time with David, always a proud Sailor, 2005

  With his devoted and beloved wife, Joan, 2005

Please read the following list of typical reactions of some of our classmates and a couple of others to the news of the passing of our friend, David:

• I remember David although ... I never had the chance to get to know him. I wish now that I had. But I do remember how our class treated him and I, like you, am proud of that. ― Phoebe Lustig
• What you plan for David's memory and honor is awesome. ― B.J. Diamant
Thanks for passing on the information about David. He certainly will be missed at all of our reunions. He took his election as most enthusiastic very seriously. ― Betty Griffin
• Thanks for expressing our sympathy to Joan Adest.  We all are feeling the pain of losing yet another one of us. Life is so short, we need to live each day to the fullest. ― Bobbie Alfin
• I'm sure I'm not the only one who had a tear or two reading that beautiful tribute. ― Nancy Keegan

I was very saddened by the news of David’s passing. ― Lenny Freshman

• Sad to have lost David. ― Jay Katz
• May God bless David's wife during this time ― Jeany Bomberg
• I'm so sorry to hear about David. ― Myles Tashman

Thank you so much for letting us know about David. He was a very special person. … he was always happy and enthusiastic in spite of his disabilities! …Thanks for sending condolences on behalf of us all to Joan. … I also want to thank you for taking care of the plaque to be placed on "Memory Lane" in his memory. I think David would have loved this! ― Ginny Beedenbender


I was moved by your note about the passing of David. I remember him so well from school days. I did not see him again after those wonderful days, but his personality came back to me in a moment. Sending strength to his family. ― Barbara Blum


How sad, but what a wonderful tribute in honor of him. How nice, too, that there will be a brick in his honor. Special people often teach us about living. ― Carole Hassett

• We just saw him, and he seemed so happy and well. What happened? He was such a sad person his whole life, yet was a happy soul. I was so happy to see him married and living as good a life as he could. I'm really so sorry. ― Sue Schlesinger
• Thank you for informing me of David's death and for taking on the responsibility to send condolences on our behalf to Joan and for the memorial. ― Linda Feuerstein

Here's one from an anonymous member of the class of '59:

Passed him many times in the halls, shared a lunch table in the cafeteria every so often and always saw a smile on his face. David was different as his outgoing personality would make me laugh, smile and sometimes cry (on the inside, of course, because in those days guys had to be guys). My sympathy to his family and the class of 1960.

And another representing the class of '61:


As we go through life, there are people we encounter that make an impact on our lives forever. I did not know David very well, but I can close my eyes and see him as he was at OHS always positive with a smile on his face, a friend to everyone. The world we live in today judges people on how they look, and if you look different, you are just not accepted. I am truly sad for our grandchildren that the world they are growing up in is so shallow. I believe the world today lacks the innocence of our youthful days in Oceanside. Your tribute was very moving. Please send my condolences to David's wife.


Come back to this special memorial page now and then when you are thinking of David or to see if anything has been added. And if you would like to add anything about David, please write me.


Classmates and other visitors are invited to submit material for a special
memorial page like this for any other departed classmate. Just e-mail it to me.



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