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Friends Remember Sheldon As Kind, Committed


A freak accident killed a Bend man while sleeping in his van Monday night, and now friends and family are mourning the loss of someone they say was a huge part of the Bend community.

Strong winds caused a large tree to fall on top of David Sheldon’s parked van near the North Umpqua River, east of Glide.

He commuted from Bend to Roseburg a few times a week for work, and rather than making the late trek back home, would often sleep in his van. People that knew him say he loved life and was one of a kind.

Sheldon was a man with quite a story. People who knew him say he was a huge part of this town. He loved Bend and worked tirelessly to preserve it’s character.

“Dave was all about Bend,” said Dennis Oliphant, a friend of Sheldon’s and long-time Pole Pedal Paddle participant. “And preserving bend and the lifestyle of Bend. I don’t know many people that typify that more than Dave did.

He was a surfer, skiier, musician, a multifaceted man.

Even if you didn’t know him, his presence was strong. He taught at Mount Bachelor for a number of years, was involved in the Cascades Theatrical Company, was against the Bill Healy Bridge coming to town, and was co-founder of Bend’s acclaimed Pole Pedal Paddle race with his wife Jenny in 1977.

“It’s hard to talk about Dave without talking about his wife Jenny his lifetime soulmate,” said Randall Barna a long time friend of Sheldon’s. “The two of them together were such a team and then later on, they had the family and they were such a team.”

A family man, Dave, his wife and three children made up that team. Those who knew Sheldon say family and friends were most important to him.

“He was the kind of guy that would say ‘open your hearts’ and bring in friends and enjoy life,” said Barna. “And don’t worry, do things for the good of causes.”

One of the biggest causes to him was the Central Oregon Environmental Center, where he was a board member.

“They were tree huggers, and a little humor on Jenny’s part was that even though they had an issue with this one tree, that in general, they loved the environment,” said Barna.

Sheldon was an irreplaceable man who’s impact on this town will never be forgotten.

“When he got behind something, it would really turn into a big thing,” said Barna. “He was such a huge presence, and it will be really hard to fill his shoes.”

In lieu of flowers, the Sheldon family asks that donations be made to the Environmental Center, a place close to David’s heart.

To follow Sheldon’s tradition, this Sunday they will be holding a holiday “ugly sweater” party at Aspen Hall in Dave’s memory. They say he loved music, and music is a way of healing.

A formal memorial will be held sometime in January.

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