In June 2 IssueBy David Chanson Davenport
At approximately 10:45a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 22, 2011, a great man was called home to Heaven after fighting a hard battle with cancer. David Davenport filled many shoes: prominent business leader, deeply respected figure throughout the community, and loyal friend. He will forever be recognized for his important work on the tourism commission, being a chamber of commerce president, serving as county coroner, founding Lake Cumberland Real Estate, fulfilling numerous positions in the newspaper business, serving on the Duo-County Telephone Board of Directors-the list goes on. However, I would like to briefly share with you his most important role that has yet to be discussed - "father".
My dad was my support, my mentor, my best friend. One of the earliest memories I have from elementary school is bragging to the other kids at school about how my daddy could do anything… I feel exactly the same way to this very day. However difficult it is for me to choose only one, I believe that the most defining characteristic about my dad was his heart.
Hours before he passed away, the nurse came into his hospital room to chart his routine vitals. "He has a strong heart," she quietly said. The only thing I could murmur through my tears was, "how true." He was, in my opinion, an exceptional example of God's agape love. As anyone who knew my father can attest to, Dad was very selfless; he always placed others before himself in every situation. If he thought something he could do would possibly benefit a friend, employee, or stranger, he would do it without any second thoughts. In fact, dad would go out of his way for anyone, except under one circumstance: if his son needed him. It did not matter when or what I needed, I could always count on my dad to come through for me.
Every club and organization I have ever been involved with has encountered my dad's supportive nature. One of my favorite memories demonstrating this was when he sacrificed his own money and time to build and maintain a "food wagon" that he towed behind his SUV to every marching band competition of his own accord. My dad's grilled hamburgers and hot dogs quickly became an essential component to competition days. He never missed a competition or concert-if I was there, then so was he. It was always so easy for me to locate his glowing face in the crowd of any production or function I was in.
My dad was the strongest man I have ever encountered. He believed in me even when I didn't. He always knew exactly what to tell me when I was feeling discouraged. I do not believe I would have been able to adjust to the university setting and college life at UK without talking on the phone with him every day. Any time that I was feeling stressed about an exam or was trying to make a hard decision, I would always talk to dad. The hardest thing I've ever experienced was hearing the doctor explain to me what "stage IV non-small cell lung cancer" meant.
Coping with the fact that I had anywhere from "days to weeks" followed by "hours to days" to spend with my dad was heartbreaking. This man that has helped me through everything and raised me to be the person I have become is being forced to abruptly leave-I couldn't help but feel selfish. I wanted my dad to be here with me for just a little while longer. However, I am consoled by the fact that he is now without pain and rejoicing in Heaven. I know that I will be with him again one day.
Although I am experiencing a very difficult mourning process, I am also celebrating the valuable 19 years of life and the millions of memories I have with him. I am so thankful that I was blessed with such an outstanding dad.
I will make you proud, Dad. I will strive to demonstrate the selfless love you so willingly poured out to everyone. I pray that, one day, I will be as exceptional of a father to my future children as you have been to me.
--I.C. Toowell, Jr.