Requiescat in Pace

Photo courtesy John Ehrlich on

This past Thursday, November 1, we lost a great and terrific guy named David Williams. Many of the regular contributors and visitors to The Kill Zone know that name.  

David told me on a number of occasions that the very first thing he did every morning was sit down in front of his computer and read the daily post of The Kill Zone. When David would choose to comment he always made the post just a little bit better, no matter how superlative it was to begin with. I told him quite truthfully that it was that knowledge which frequently gave me the inspiration to write something when it seemed like the well was dry. It’s accordingly more than fitting that David is the subject of today’s post. Hopefully, I will be forgiven for stating that today he is undoubtedly reading this from a place of comfort which he has earned and deserved. I accordingly really, really need to make this post a good one.

I got to know David through correspondence generated by The Kill Zone. We then became the modern day equivalent of “pen pals” through email and telephone. I learned over time that David wore a number of hats.  He was a minister, theologian, photographer, author, and student of the human condition. David was a man of deep and abiding faith which, in spite of personal obstacles (and maybe because of them) inspired him to bring comfort to others in their hours of greatest need. He also took it upon himself to record and share the images of God’s creations with photographs that he took, each and all of which had something to recommend them, something that an ordinary observer might have missed. The stories which David wrote may not have made it to prime time, but they were surely worthy of it. The most recent one he shared with me — rejected inexplicably a couple of times — haunts me still. Most importantly, however, David was a husband, father, and friend. David’s wife Betsy was (and is, for all eternity) his rock, particularly during these past few months, weeks, and days.  David’s good cheer and generosity of spirit — traits which he exhibited right up to the end of his life — belied a number of health problems, discomforting at best and excruciatingly painful at worse. They, to paraphrase Hemingway, took him from us gradually and then suddenly. His major concerns in his final days, as always, were not for himself but for his family and his Creator.

I miss you, buddy. I wish I had made it to Kansas City to fang down on a slab or two of ribs with you. Maybe you can arrange to have the grill heated up when I pass over to your side. Failing that, I’ll certainly need your influence with the powers that be, not to mention a miracle or two. In the meanwhile, you are neither gone from our hearts nor forgotten from our memories. It is with the following words, the Prayer of St. Francis, that I will remember you:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.


O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Requiescat in Pace, David.


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About Joe Hartlaub

Joe Hartlaub is an attorney, author, actor and book and music reviewer. Joe is a Fox News contributor on book publishing industry and publishing law and has participated on several panels dealing with book, film, and music business law. He lives with his family in Westerville, Ohio.

28 thoughts on “Requiescat in Pace

  1. Joe, sorry to hear about David’s passing. I remember his insightful comments on TKZ and had missed him lately.

    My husband’s grandmother (who died at age 96) often said death comes as a friend to the aged and infirm. While we miss loved ones when they go, we don’t wish continued suffering for them.

    • Debbie, that is why pneumonia is often called the old man’s friend. You are so right about an end to the suffering. What St. Augustine prayed for with respect to carnality — “Lord, please make me chaste and give me the strength to be celibate…but don’t do it anytime soon!” applies to a quick and happy death as well. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very inspirational post, Joe.

    I did not know David’s history. Thanks for sharing and the tribute.

    It is people like David who inspire those of us in the service industry to remember what we are about on days when everyone is whiny and full of complaints.

    May we all find a calling and a purpose as high as David’s. And may we remember it when life throws obstacles in our way. May we all strive to leave a legacy like David has.

    Thanks for the post, and sorry for your loss.

  3. Thank you, Steve, for your kind words and inspirational comments. About those days when everyone is full of complaints, those only seem to occur on every day that ends in ‘y.’ That said, and speaking only for myself, I think life throws us obstacles to put everything else in perspective. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. How fitting that your post followed Clare’s titled “Make Your Character Memorable.” A fine eulogy, Joe.

    • Thank you, Philip. I’m sure prayers will be appreciated. His passing leaves a large void.

  5. Joe,
    I’m sorry for your loss, but I rejoice with you that you had such a friend, and I am grateful that you shared his legacy with all of us.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about Dave’s passing. He always gave such warm and loving constructive criticism and I learned a lot from him as I do from everyone here at TKZ. I will miss his posts and comments. My thoughts will be with his family and friends. I’m sure that he is in a better place, pain-free. Thank you for such a touching eulogy for a friend and may his memory and faith bring you peace.

  7. Joe –
    You really, really did make this post a good one! A poignant salute worthy of your good friend…
    My sympathy for your loss.

    • Thank you, Tom. David was a friend to all, especially on TKZ…I’m sure he is still checking us out, first thing. We’ll hopefully get some additional celestial readers!

  8. Joe, sorry that I am, as always, late to the table. What eloquent words you have written in tribute to your friend. I have always enjoyed and benefited from David’s contributions to TKZ blog—always so positive and encouraging—and will privately add my prayers to yours. You have suffered a couple of losses in the past few weeks and as you know, you are always in my prayers. Hang in there.

  9. Thank you, Lorilee. You are never late because at TKZ we never close. I’m okay, thanks, lucky to be here and glad for it. Hope you and Scott are well.

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