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The Reach of the Man

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Community Mourns Dave Dettwiler

Tuesday afternoon, October 1st, the lower Clark Fork Valley quieted as men laid down their tools or dismounted from machines, women left their chores, and children, their play. Small businesses hung closed signs, and -- unprecedented -- the Noxon School closed. People of Clark Fork, Heron, Noxon, Trout Creek and beyond gathered to mourn the loss of David Dettwiler who, after a long and courageous battle with cancer, died at age 43. 
 Gesturing wide-armed to the crowd, Pastor Richard Gobble, Dave's brother-in-law, said, "Ah, the reach of the man." That reach was remarkable; hundreds of people were mourning their personal loss. 
 Dave earned the respect of all who knew him. Following a family tradition of unselfish public service, Dave served on the Noxon School board for 13 years. Although he often suffered the effects of chemotherapy, Dave never failed in his duty to the youth of the valley. Last spring, the Noxon High School gymnasium was named in his honor, and this fall the David K. Dettwiler gymnasium held 500 grieving people whose lives he had touched.
 The intense aurora borealis that flooded the valley with shimmering radiance Tuesday night seemed a fitting farewell, or perhaps, heaven's welcome for a brave, big-hearted man. 

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Lou Springer Lou Springer lives in Heron when not out on a river somewhere.

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Noxon, People, Dave Dettwiler

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