“If you’re early, you’re on time. And if you’re on time, you’re late.” It was one of Dave’s favourite motivational sayings in class. We wonder how St. Peter would respond to Dave’s arrival at the Pearly Gates.
After five years of living with the challenges of ALS, God answered Dave’s prayer to usher him into Heaven peacefully.
Dave was born in Adelaide, Australia, to immigrant parents John and Lee Alexander. In 1979 the family immigrated to Canada, making homes in the Okanagan; Edmonton and surrounding area; and Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, where he completed high school before attending the University of Alberta, where he graduated with a degree in education in 1994. From that time until his ALS diagnosis, he taught music and french at Robb Road Junior School in Comox and Langley Christian High School, with two one-year stints at Dakar Academy in Dakar, Senegal, and Heritage International School in Kampala, Uganda. He is survived by his loving wife, Juanita, sons Eli (18), Keiran (16), and daughters Zania (13) and Imani (13); his brother Andrew and wife Sachi. He was predeceased by his parents.
Dave’s first passion was to know the Lord and to follow Christ. His desire was to try to live in such a way that the grace, mercy and love enfleshed by Jesus could somehow work its way into all nooks and crannies of his heart and be modeled in the life he lived. In his work as a music teacher, Dave pushed his students relentlessly to improve and seek excellence in their musicianship. If our worship was on display in the life we lived and in our work, he believed, how could we do anything less than our best and the maximum amount of it always. Whether it was in a before-school jazz rehearsal or a Saturday afternoon concert, directing multiple choirs or playing piano, guitar and singing in the 50’s cover tunes band Bird Dawg, brewing multiple batches of homemade beer simultaneously, delighting in wine tasting expeditions with friends, experimenting with exotic recipes and menus in the kitchen, not to mention the part-time 40 hour per week medical billing transcription work he did, Dave’s days somehow seemed to contain more hours than what is allotted to the rest of us.
He was competitive too. Some said he could be over the top in his passions and pursuits, but Dave, a believer that one created the zest in life rather than waiting for it to happen, would probably have responded by saying one of his favourite classroom quips: “You’re green and growing or ripe and rotting.” It was full steam ahead, all-out competition in everything. “Go big or go home” was another pet phrase. Coffee was always double double. Used cars had to be exotic, with rare VW, Mercedes, BMWs and Volvos having spent time over the years on the Alexander driveway. If the car could be performance-tuned and Juanita-persuaded, then so should it be. When Dave started biking to work, he decided he might as well participate in triathlons too. Band trips with LCS students weren’t good enough unless air travel and passports were required.
Juanita sums it up best when she says “Who else could I have done all these adventures with: honeymooning in Europe, working in Senegal and Uganda, travelling to Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand and trips to Georgia and California numerous times.”
In the busy life Dave lived, things had to give. And perhaps his ambition took an early toll. Ultimately, this is between him and his Creator. And we can rest assured that Dave was fully convicted of the salvation and redemption accomplished by his saviour.
As was Dave’s practice at the end of every class and choir rehearsal, he would say “The Lord be with you.” And those present would respond in like manner.
So now too, we say the Lord be with you, Dave. And all the saints echo in reply.
Dave will be laid to rest at Heritage Gardens Cemetery in Surrey, BC. There will be a celebration of life at a later date when we are able to once again gather together.
Dave requested that in lieu of flowers a generous donation be made to the ALS Society of BC.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence for the family.
Dear Juanita and family, Our deepest condolences on the loss of your husband/father. I have such wonderful memories of playing music with Dave at Immanuel Church in years past, and enjoying so many of his school band concerts. Such an artist and perfectionist. Beautiful to hear, and to watch. He was so passionate and such a blessing to the world, and is playing music with the angels! Nel
Juanita and family, I am so sad to hear of Daves passing. Having lost contact with him over the past 30 years I had no idea he was battling ALS but I know the type of man he was he would have been a fighter to the end. I have very fond memories of Dave from the short time I spent with him and his family and will never forget him. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers and I look forward to seeing him again one day. God Bless you.<3