February 26, 2021, Holladay, Utah - The world became a bit quieter this morning, as Dave Kadleck crossed his final finishing line after an 87-year life of racing through the air, snow, mud, countless miles of racetrack and endless acres of lawn. Speed, altitude and constant motion, mixed with music in his ears, were his weapons of choice against decades of breathtaking pain he never gave voice to.
Born July 30, 1933 to Wade Wellington Kadleck and Viola Matthews Kadleck, David married his sweetheart Carolyn Myrberg, after graduating West High School. Carolyn became the mother of his four children, and inseparable partner in adventure for going on 69 years. Behind the great man, was an extraordinary lady.
After graduating University of Utah, Dave embarked on a 30-year career as a sports writer, photojournalist and columnist covering “recreation” for the Deseret News. “It was a dream job,” he'd reflect, “I was never in the newsroom. I was out doing whatever I was covering. Skiing, fishing, golfing, racing cars, flying. It was the best job a newspaperman could have.” He moonlighted teaching English and Political Science at Utah Technical College, and dabbling in real estate to augment his newspaperman's salary. He also wrote for United Press International (UPI) and numerous ski and educational publications.
‘Bohemian,’ may be the only word close to capture the essence of the man. Bohemians maintain a belief every positive vibe they send in the world flows back to them. They live an unconventional life, often involving musical, artistic or spiritual pursuits. Do not confuse spiritual pursuits with religion, dear reader, think: speed, movement, altitude, distance, 'spirit' of a wild Mustang. “Bohunk,” was one of the nicknames he may have most appreciated. “Cadillac, The Lion, Big Dave,” were among many others he was known by affectionately.
While Dave was in the air or on the road, chasing his next deadline, Carolyn was busy shuttling their brood between their Park City and Holladay homes or wherever their next destination may be, with the appearance of extraordinary ease. If Parley's Canyon was closed from a blizzard, Carolyn would be aboard Union Pacific's Snowball Express, four children in tow. The young couple bought their first property in Park City for $2,500 and a Volkswagen Bug. Years later, the appearance of 7-Eleven on Park Avenue in Park City, signaled their exodus from the silver mining town, to their beloved mountain cabin in the Uintah Mountains.
The family's early winters were spent on the slopes of Park City, Alta, Park West, Sun Valley and Jackson Hole ski resorts, cutting turns with world-class ski teams, Olympians like Jean-Claude Killy, world leaders or captains of industry. Notes of thanks on White House stationery from President Lindon B. Johnson's family, well wishes from Ted Kennedy as well as countless athletes and everyday people whose life Dave touched, gushed with gratitude and fond memories.
Like any well-lived life, there were perks and drawbacks. Dave's pace, and work in the limelight, often eclipsed time with his young family. The perk of a best seat in the house at a giant slalom or aerial competition, meant skiing to mid-mountain where Dave would get his best “art.” Most of the family's life was captured on film and often published in the paper (not always to their delight). But corned beef sandwiches in the lodge, washed down with shared bota bags of red wine, were where Dave was all theirs, not to be shared with everyone on the mountain who knew him.
Summers were spent sailing, listening to the piercing scream of race cars from a press box, or covered in dust and inhaling exhaust fumes at a motocross track, where Dave was either covering or competing in with one of his sons. Although family fun was usually some combination of Dave's work, the family enjoyed part of most summers north of San Diego, or with his brother and confidante Roger and his family, at their home in Sonoma wine country, golfing or running San Francisco's fabled Bay to Breakers race. Memories of his grandchildren involved being strapped into one of his race cars with cousins, breaking speed records up one of the canyons... “No need to tell Grandma how fast we took white lightning today,” he'd wink and smile as they roared into the driveway.
Having lead decades in the glare of public life of the media, the next chapter in Dave's professional life was advocating in another arena of his passions – politics and education. He was the Director of Professional Services for the Utah Education Association, where he grew the state's lobbying and advocacy group for educators as a force to be reckoned with on a state and national level. He transformed the state's annual convention into it's largest source of revenue, and it was the largest in the nation under his stewardship. When a keynote speaker fell ill for one of his conventions at the last minute, he tapped Jimmy Carter to speak to a full house at Utah's Salt Palace. He and Carolyn receive holiday greetings from Jimmy and Roslyn to this day.
Dave was a lot of things. He was an engaging conversationalist and crisp writer, who snatched one's attention before they knew it. He was loud as the vintage cars he raced. He was generally the center of attention in a crowd, without grandiosity. He was stylish, but never trendy. He was irreverent, jarringly sharp-witted, and said and wrote what others feared or aspired to. He was unapologetically unapologetic. He was judgmental as hell, but not self-righteous. He was fiercely competitive in everything he did, but with no one, more than himself.
He had an innate curiosity about the path of everyone he crossed, regardless of their station in life. He left home at age 12, sold newspapers and washed dishes, spent his high school years in a tent in the backyard of a friend's house. He worked multiple jobs, was dapperly dressed, and had the star quality looks of one bound for a future in front of a camera not behind one. He never forgot where he came from, and appears to have commuted himself to changing as many lives for the better as he was able.
He didn't live vicariously through his children. He enabled them to live their own lives, and inspired them to do the same for future generations. David Jr. pursued a career in the insurance industry and became a master river guide on the great rivers of the Western U.S. Bart's childhood fascination for flying ascended to a solo flight at 16, a colorful life as an aerobatic pilot, a flight instructor, a colorful military career and manager of a commuter airline in Utah. Adam left an early start in the news business to pursue a career in Silicon Valley and around the globe. Amy, “The Princess,” as he affectionately called her, left an early career with Delta Airlines to become a mother of two, lover of the outdoors, and a “first run” ski host at Deer Valley Resort for 20 years, having mastered her father's art of marrying passion with profession.
David retired early, so he could enjoy the fruits of his and Carolyn's early business successes, and enjoy the solitude and beauty of their secluded Holladay home. He retired from golf and motorcycle riding at 75, so he could continue racing cars, cycling, and out-skiing his children and grandchildren. He believed one should add life to their days, not add days to their lives. After 87 years, Dave's family reckons he did both. If you knew Dave at all, you'll be able to think of him, remember a story sparking a fond memory or a laugh. They encourage you to do so for as long as you're able. Nothing would give him or his family greater joy or peace.
Dave is survived by his wife Carolyn, children David Jr. (Karen), Barton (Wendy), Adam, Amy Pendleton (Chris); Brother Roger (Bonnie), Sister Marcia White, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; infinite loving nieces and nephews.
In accordance with Dave's wishes, there will be no funeral or public services. However, there will be a celebration of his life at a time when it may be done in safety and in Kadleckian style. If you're interested in attending, kindly send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, please show a little kindness to a stranger, overtip a server, exhibit a bit of largesse when you otherwise might not. And be safe, so you can come celebrate Dave!
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