Dave Weissman was a man who helped so many whether as a journalist or high school baseball coach that enjoyed making a difference in people’s lives.
He certainly made a difference in mine.
In 2013, I was going through a difficult time and though I masked it, I had major doubts on who I was as a journalist and a person. I approached my craft seriously, but doubted my ability to properly tell the story.
Though I did not know it at the time, I needed a push, something to steer me in the right direction.
Saying I was a complete outsider covering one of my first PGA TOUR events, the Memorial Tournament located in Dublin, OH, in late May 2013, would be an understatement.
After being given my media credential and setting my things down, I quietly sat down for lunch in press dining. Not knowing anyone, I picked a rather open table in order to eat and get back to work.
Just a couple of minutes later, a man sat next to me. He immediately sensing I was the new guy, introduced himself and started a conversation.
That man was Dave Weissman.
Dave was always the one unafraid to break the ice. He had such a warm personality that was easy to gravitate too.
Immediately I knew Dave could be someone to trust and starting out not knowing anyone or how things worked, he immediately became a father figure of sorts. From our first conversation he had that smile and always accompanied his friendliness with a well-timed joke.
Unfortunately Dave passed away Saturday night at the age of 52 from colon cancer.
In his job as publisher and editor of Columbus Wired he always brought positive energy into the press room and any writer or photographer he brought with him exhibited this as well.
Dave also served as the JV Baseball Coach at Westerville South High School where players, including his son Blake, looked up to him.
Though journalism clearly meant the world to Dave, when he did have to leave Muirfield Village Golf Club early, it was to coach baseball and impact others the way he did me.
From the moment I met him, it was clear Dave was extremely passionate about everything he was involved with.
The last time I saw Dave was just a couple of days after this year’s U.S. Open as we both got to play a round of golf at Scioto Country Club.
“Have you ever played the course before,” Dave innocently asked me.
I had not and since he knew I had played Muirfield Village, he told me that Scioto was a tougher course.
At first I did not believe him, but I then remembered Dave was the source of this information and for the next four-plus hours I got my butt kicked by a hilly course which required an extra club for practically every approach to a green.
When I finished my round, it was time to go and Dave was the last person I saw.
“How did you do,” he asked.
I gave him a knowing look. Nothing had to be said.
Dave chuckled in response and said “I’ll see you soon.”
I said the same to him and just like our first meeting in 2013, we shook hands. I told him to take care before making the 3-plus hour drive back to Pittsburgh.
It almost haunts me that was my last memory.
For the three years after that 2013 meeting, my friend Chris Dazen and I would always make the trip to Columbus and immediately both of our first thoughts turned to Dave and excitement over seeing and sharing some laughs with him.
Sadly that familiar greeting will not be there next year.
What will be there are the many positive memories from his family in addition to his journalism family which includes co-workers, his many readers and people such as myself and Chris that he tremendously and positively influenced.
As I type this piece, I am holding the business card Dave gave me from his first meeting. It never left my wallet after that and will stay there as my tribute to him.
It is safe to say that Dave will be missed and not a day will go by where his lessons are not being applied.
Dave gave me the confidence and encouragement to trust myself as a writer and more importantly as a person. I will be forever grateful.
In addition to my thoughts I wanted to get Chris’s thoughts since he saw my relationship with Dave and made a similar one just a day later when I made the introductions. Chris always goes to the Memorial Tournament covering the event with me and he remembers Dave as positively as I did.
“Dave was a man I had met only a handful of times from covering the Memorial Tournament for 4 years. Being from Pittsburgh, it’s not like Zac or myself really knew anyone when we went up there that first year. Then we met Dave. A welcoming smile, a hand shake and some small talk is all it took from Dave to instantly make a connection with us. He was our first friend.
“He showed us around the media center, introduced us to a few people and offered his help in any way he could. Simple gestures. They were exactly the kind of man Dave was, and it left an impact. Every returning year, Dave was the first person we looked for when arriving to Dublin. He was literally the one person Zac and myself couldn’t wait to talk to and share stories with.
“Dave has written a lot of stories in his life, and made a lot of simple gestures as well, but to myself and to Zac, those simple things and shared stories are the memories that mean everything to us. Rest easy Dave, for you have plenty of friends to continue telling your story and share your memories.”
Here are thoughts from more of Dave’s friends and colleagues.
A good man was lost to cancer this weekend. @daveweissman was a prince of a man who was also a tireless professional. Rest easy, sir.
— Jerod Smalley (@JerodNBC4) December 5, 2016
Informed last night that Dave Weissman, who covered #CBJ in previous season w Columbus Wired, has passed away after a battle with cancer.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) December 4, 2016
JV baseball Coach Dave Weissman passed away this evening from cancer. Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. 🐾❤️⚾️
— WS Athletic Boosters (@WSAthleticBoost) December 4, 2016
— J. Justin Boggs (@jjboggs) December 4, 2016
With all of this in mind, there is only one thing left to say. Thank you Dave.