Everything you need to know about Selectman Dave Theis could be learned from taking a look around Christ Church Saturday morning. The place was packed to the rafters, people standing in the aisles and waiting outside, an absolutely amazing display of how many people’s lives were touched by him. His nick-name was “Coach” because that’s what he did, he coached you to be your best, and made you feel you were one of his special friends. How he made thousands of us feel we were one of his “special” friends, I don’t know, but he did it.
So anyway, fine memorial, maybe a bit too long, but that’s usually the case with these things. My travel agent, and Dave’s longtime companion, Kerrin Coyle, set up a slide show in the reception hall featuring her best pictures of Dave being Dave. Honestly, I think I liked the slide show better than the speeches.
One surprisingly moving moment was when the squadron of Greenwich cops in full dress uniform stood in formation outside saluting in the freezing wind as two others ceremoniously folded a Town of Greenwich flag and presented it to Kerrin and Dave’s sister.
Oh, and the “bugle salute”! Christopher Hughes played Taps spectacularly. Taps is always poignant, but Hughes elevated it to something new, with the individual notes reverberating in that cathedral, floating around so beautifully, it was particularly powerful.
If you ever happen to find yourself in charge of a Gideon Fountain memorial, you could do worse than to copy Dave Theis’s. I want the cops, the firemen, the bugle guy. Oh, and I want the entire front row to be taken up by hot looking “tootsies”, as my granny used to call ’em, all dressed in black, crying into handkerchiefs. If there are no volunteers, for goodness sake, hire actresses or real estate agents or something…think outside the casket, people!