David Richard Jude passed away on July 23, 2019.
Dave was a longtime Fairbanksan. Originally from the East Coast, he was stationed in Alaska by the Army in the 1970’s, although, as he would tell the story, his moving here wasn’t entirely involuntary – he wanted to relocate to Fort Wainwright of all possible locations available to him because the base was named after an American general and war hero, Jonathan Wainwright, with whom he was particularly impressed.
Dave spent much of his early life in Batavia, New York. Always responsible even as a boy, he braved lake effect snow to deliver newspapers during his youth. When not employed, he enjoyed spending time at the homes of his many Italian friends, whose mothers and grandmothers made incredible lasagna and would fawn over him for eating so much of their homemade masterpieces. He also spent par of his childhood in Maine. His wry, dry sense of humor and his tendency toward a laconic speaking style was probably why he was once described by someone who met him as an “old New England gentleman,” even after he had lived here for over forty years!
Dave was preceded in his death by his beloved mother, Marianne Dettman, whom he once described as a 4 foot 11 inch fiery Irishwoman, and also by his younger brother. Dave’s Irish family background revealed itself in his appearance, with his full head of reddish-brown hair and like-colored mustache, both of which resisted graying throughout his life until close to the very end.
Dave served in the Army from 1970 to 1983, working in the capacity as a data analyst, a position for which he eventually won an award for his accuracy. By his own account, he remained stateside during the Vietnam War because a commanding officer determined he had a good throwing arm and wanted him to play on the company’s softball squad. After being reassigned to Fairbanks, he continued to play softball recreationally and eventually coached a local women’s team.
Upon leaving the Army, Dave worked as a bartender during the wild-and-woolly pipeline-building era. Then, in the mid-80’s, he began working as the night auditor/manager at the Golden North Motel, a position he filled for almost 35 years before retiring in July of 2018.
A fixture at the Golden North, throughout his many years he greeted arguably tens of thousands of guests, amusing many with his stories of bone chilling cold snaps and other Alaskan-related insanity. Characteristically, Dave showed up for work five minutes early. He always worked efficiently, and he performed the night auditing function with the same, amazing accuracy that won him awards in the Army. He also kept track of numerous bits of trivia – such as how many times he had driven to the airport and back in the motel van and how many miles that added up to.
During the last ten years, Dave enjoyed working on the restoration of a classic ’69 Chevy pickup. He loved when people asked him about his truck – and he loved replying that, No, he did not intend to sell it.
Dave was a good friend and a remarkable person. He will be sorely missed.
A scattering of ashes ceremony will be held in the fall. Please contact Blanchard Family Funeral Home for more information.
Heartfelt thanks both to Marion and Alexander Griffin at Let Us Care and the many members of the medical community who helped Dave during this last half year.