It’s been a long time since I wrote on here. This is the only way I can work through the news of my good friend David Wink’s passing.
I’ve known David since 1998. He was a frosh, I was a second-year student at Queen’s. I remember chatting with him after a Liberal Party meeting. I took him to the Queen’s Pub, buying him a beer and learning all about a person that would come to have a profound impact on my life and many others.
A Peterborough, Ontario native, David was, is and will always be an extraordinary person. He had the strength of ten men emotionally – a guy with incredible abilities to be giving, cordial and kind. He was an affable gent, always making you laugh with astute observations and hilariously corny references to Yes Minister and stuffed-shirt politicians of yore. He was easily one of the most universally respected people I knew at Queen’s across the ideological and institutional spectrum. In short, he was great.
He was an intellectual heavyweight at a school of smart, driven people. Even though politics was not his major, David knew more about liberalism and political theory than most politics students at Queen’s. He was remarkably versatile in his interests, speaking and writing eloquently on a variety of topics. He got a terrific job with one of Queen’s most respected professors, Dr. George Perlin, at the Centre for the Study of Democracy – a position he held for a number of years. He was a remarkably hard worker in almost everything he did. He was dependable, loyal and giving of his time in ways that would put a lot of people to shame.
But all of this is just a description of a man: how does one pay tribute to a person’s life? How do you give homage to someone?
As I’ve written before, you honour them with memories. You take a piece of that person and make them part of you. I have memories of David organizing a policy conference where jokes were scattered across the floor, people laughing and David trying, in his most endearing way, to keep things orderly and moving. I remember David organizing for Queen’s Model Parliament, even enacting policy agreements between parties — how serious we all were — called The Kymlicka Accord. I remember us getting drunk together at the Queen’s Grad Club, nearly busting a gut with Christopher Currie over red wine and laughing until our chests hurt. Or listening to David when he was sad. Or frustrated. Or deliriously happy. There’s a million memories.
But most of all, I’ll remember David as one of the best men I’ve ever known. He loved his family with intensity unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. His complex relationship to his Catholic faith was one of constant debate in his own mind, a sincere and entirely earnest attempt on his part to know and understand what it means to have a relationship with his God.
And now you’re gone, David. I can’t entirely accept this. Not yet.
You shouldn’t be gone, David. You’re 31. Your Ph.D and marriage were coming up. You were going to be my groomsman at my wedding. We had so much still to do. We still had so much to talk about.
I don’t claim to know anything about God or even have a relationship with faith. I don’t know where you are right now, David. All I do know is that as long as we all love you, which we do, you will never be gone. You will always be around us in our memories. You will be always be a great friend. You will always be respected.
Rest in Peace, my good friend.