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David Dressler ’63

October 11, 2020, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, of oral cancer.

David wrote his thesis, “Martin Buber’s Notion of Responsibility,” advised by Prof. William Peck [philosophy 1961–2002]. Armed with an inquisitive mind—honed by his philosophy studies at Reed—he worked on a fish-counting boat one summer, and, fascinated with how fish moved, he was inspired to learn to dance. Traveling from Alaska in the back of a pickup truck, he ended up in Vancouver, B.C., where he enrolled in a dance school.

After becoming a professional improvisational modern dancer, David opened his own dance studio in Vancouver. For him, dance was more than just movement; it was a way to get in touch with the energies of oneself and others. Decades after taking instruction from him, former dance students would contact him to say the new awareness those lessons had spurred continued to remain relevant.

Deciding he needed a more consistent and livable income David became a medical massage therapist. For 40 years, he devoted himself to helping people feel and function better, retiring in 2019. He also provided editing services, and was genuinely interested in helping to effectively convey a writer’s message. He wrote a bit himself, and his published works included a tribute to the astronauts killed when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated in 2003 and a research paper for a massage technique he invented.

He is survived by his brother, Joshua.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2021

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