The year was 2001. It was going on Noon, I’d been at WJPD since about 5 am, my usual Sunday shift, when the general manager busted through the door, “My guy for the Rec Show bailed, I need you to go down there til 6pm!”
“Dude, I’ve already been here since 5…” I piped in only to be interrupted “Put double hours on your time card…” to which I, of course, responded “Alright cool.” My shift ended about 20 minutes later and I trucked my ass down to Lakeview Arena for the Rec Show.
I got there and I met a cat named Rusty Bowers, who worked for K-Rock, our Iron Mountain sister stations. After talking with Rusty for a while he said that he was a wedding DJ. I told him that I would like to get into that, and he came back saying that his boss was looking to potentially expand and gave me a number. In those days, due to my untreated social anxiety, I didn’t follow up on a lot of those leads, this one I did. I talked with the gentleman on the other side of the line and set up a meeting at his office, in the basement of his house in Marquette.
I walked into Dave Dausey’s office in May of 2001, and my life has never been the same since. Dave took a 21-year-old kid that not a lot of people gave a chance or just wrote off as some giant goon who should be a thug, not that he didn’t use my thuggish qualities occasionally, and helped provide me with the tools to lead one of the coolest lives I could have imagined.
When I met Dave if you wanted a gig in Marquette, it pretty much went through him. I heard all the old stories about REO Speedwagon and Backseat Romeo (BTO was always more of a side note); I also heard loads of lessons on how to play not only the entertainment game, but business in general. He’d tell ya that he believed “11:59 AM is a god-awful early hour in the morning,” yet for great portions of our time as friends I’d say his grind would leave most of today’s entrepreneurs looking for a stable day job.
He did what he wanted. He put on big events, he helped his friends (sure: clients) while trying to make sure EVERYONE was profitable, he wanted nothing but greatness for this region and for his friends. With Dave I worked on MISS USA system beauty pageants (every aspect), concerts, bodybuilding shows, crazy presentations about ground breaking construction techniques, and he’d even make sure just the daily grind was rewarding.
In 2018, when I became heavily involved with Marquette Music Scene and the Marquette Music Hall of Fame Dave was one my first nominees for the Hall, even then I discovered that there was more I didn’t know. I hadn’t realized he was involved in the start of Hiawatha, and music at the “coal dock?”
The what? Er, I mean, Mattson Lower Harbor Park, but that’s not what it was called then. Dave was part of the crew that spearheaded the idea that the location should be for music and festivals and just the celebration of our region. The pictures on the wall of our office (yes, I work at doing business associates a company founded by Dave) in this article are of the first music performance at the location with Dave on drums.
Dave’s influence spreads across the spectrum of current and former Marquetters, many who are major players. Some, since Dave’s passing, I’ve seen confess they don’t think Dave knew how much his influence meant to them. Well, I’m not going to pretend to be a mind reader, but in the last days I saw him Dave readily professed he was “ready,” and you don’t hit that point without a certain contentment and I KNOW that part of that contentment was knowing how he positively affected so many of our lives. He knew what he meant to all of us, and I truly believe he knew that his actions have left Marquette and this world a better place. Dave and I were on semi-rocky terms for the last couple years of his life, but it was always clear though he may not agree with my actions he was proud to have influenced the strong voice with which he so vehemently disagreed. I know I’m not the only one. Life takes us down curvy roads, and for Dave and I the last few definitely would give “Misery Road” from Palmer to Ishpeming a challenge, but when I look behind me I just see a straight line road to my friend who I love and am greatly going to miss. – Bear