Loving, Kind, Caring, Generous,
Fun-loving, Charming, Adventurer
Dave was born in Hawaii and lived there until he was eight. He was happy, energetic and full of life and it was hard to keep up with him. He taught himself to swim before he was two and loved being outdoors in nature. He had a happy, carefree childhood and put himself into everything he did 150%.
In middle school, he was the class President and a gifted soccer player. By high school he was into the arts. He wrote poetry and painted and was selected to paint murals on the high school walls. His parents nurtured his artistic talent never expecting the alcohol and drug use that would alter his life path.
While still young, Dave had a son, Josh, and from that point on he worked hard to provide for his family. He put everyone ahead of himself, working 2nd shift at a recycling facility while trying to finish school. Not wanting to leave Josh without his support and guidance when Josh was only a toddler, Dave made the hard decision not to go to a year-long rehab. The most important thing in his life was his devotion, parenting, and connection to his son, Josh.
Two years after Dave’s passing, the family set up a Facebook memorial page that grew to over 500 followers. Even today, 18 years after his death, people are posting what Dave meant to them; how he helped them and how much they will always remember him. Some of them still carry his funeral card in their wallets and look at it often. This is a great source of comfort to his family.
His dad, Rick, says he really misses Dave’s sense of humor, which he is heartened to see lives on in Dave’s son, Josh. His mom, Carol, misses the feeling of being loved and getting hugs from her only son. His sister wrote that he was an extraordinary person with captivating eyes and a comforting smile. Everyone gravitated to him and would not know that he battled everyday with addiction.
Dave’s parents have changed a lot since their experience with his addiction. They have a better understanding of the disease of addiction and how severely it can change the lives of everyone around it. For that reason, they have established a scholarship fund in Dave’s name. It is given to those who have faced some type of tragedy in their life that has affected their ability to do well in high school, making them ineligible for other scholarship opportunities.
They are also long term members of Bereaved Parents, USA, where Carol was honored as 2018 Organization Chapter Leader of the Year. They have found a purpose after Dave’s death in reaching out to other parents who share the tragedy of losing a child. They attend monthly meetings and the yearly memorial walk and service of remembrance. They have made many good friends though this group “for all the wrong reasons.” They say the work helps them to keep Dave’s memory alive; “it is hard, but beautiful.”
Dave’s parents, Carol and Rick Tomaszewski, were interviewed for this profile.
Sept 4, 1974 – Feb 6, 2001
Lived with addiction for 12 years