McRae remembered as involved, supportive

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2002

David McRae, who died Saturday in a motorcycle accident, will be remembered as an active member of the community, helping friends and family and devoting his time to volunteering in the schools.

Just last week, McRae took off several days of work as a carpenter to attend a Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School survival skills camp at Echo Ranch with his daughter Naomi, who is in sixth grade.

"We had a great time with all the kids," said Katrina Ward, the mother of one of Naomi's classmates. "He was a very concerned adult, not only for his only child but for all the others as well."

Friends and family will gather to remember McRae at a potluck at noon Saturday at Auke Village Recreation Area.

"Everyone should bring a flower, even if it's a dandelion from the side of the road," said his wife Leticia (Tish) McRae. "We'll toss all the flowers in the water for him."

McRae was "one of those very supportive parents a teacher loves to have in class," said Dave Ringle, one of his daughter's teachers.

"He had a need to help out if he could," said Ringle. "He chaperoned field trips and was in the classroom quite often helping out."

The McRaes were married at Auke Rec and David adopted Naomi as his own.

"He was the perfect man," said Tish. "He always put me and my daughter first and was honest. He never took a night out with the boys and was genuinely, genuinely good.

"He gave us a name that we can be very, very proud of."

Rick Helms, McRae's older brother, remembers him as a rambunctious child.

"He always got hand-me-downs, but he was always there when you needed something," said Helms. "He was always there for his wife and daughter."

Helms described his brother as "a hippy born 20 years too late," and was deeply saddened by his death. He said Bartlett Memorial Hospital was supportive.

"They were very understanding if you needed to talk," said Helms. "It's nice to know the community hospital is there if you need them."

Helms said friends and family can bring a dish and beverages to the potluck, but "don't bring vegetables. Dave hated vegetables."

In lieu of flowers, the family will establish a memorial fund in McRae's name. Helms can be contacted at 723-4118.

Emily Wescott can be reached at ewescott@juneauempire.com.

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