David Earle Eden, 82, of Brevard, N.C. — storied long-distance runner and lover of a good Maryland crab cake — died at home September 28, 2019. He was married to Linda, his college sweetheart, for 61 years. Together, they raised two strong, independent-thinking daughters, Lynn and Wendy.
Dave was born June 25, 1937 in Washington, D.C. to Vivian and Earle Eden Jr. He was reared in Silver Spring, Md. by his paternal grandparents, Savilla and Earle Eden.
Dave attended Towson State College, where he would excel in the classroom as well as on the basketball court. Known as the "blonde bomber" of the hardwoods, he would also catch the eye of Towson State freshman Linda DeLauder, whom he married in 1958.
His love of education continued throughout his life. He would go on to receive a master’s degree in education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in library science from Florida State University. He was a firm believer in public school education, teaching elementary through high school students and college classes throughout the United States.
After almost 20 years of teaching, Dave became a literacy advocate building successful library systems throughout the south. Among his many accomplishments was modernizing and expanding libraries in Grady and Thomas counties in Georgia and Union County outside of Charlotte, N.C. His success was recognized often. He was named North Carolina Library Director of the Year in 2003 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wingate University in 2004.
His early love of basketball led him to dabble in many different sports but the one he experienced the most joy from was running. Weekend short distance races soon led to marathons and even an ultra-marathon. Along the way, he met many of his running idols — including Frank Shorter, Dave Waddell and Steve Prefontaine — and had an opportunity to race against a few of them. At one point he was ranked among the top runners in the United States.
Dave's passion for writing and illustrating poems, cards and letters for family and friends blossomed into a love of pastel and watercolor painting. Later in life, almost everyone he met was lucky enough to receive one of his original works of art.
He was loved dearly by his family and friends, and he will be greatly missed. He is survived his wife, Linda; two daughters and their husbands, Lynn and Tim Chambers of Ringgold, Ga. and Wendy and Jeff Jones of Beaufort, S.C.; a brother, Bill Eden; a granddaughter, Mallory Howsen of Chattanooga, Tenn. and grandson, Dixon Jones of Beaufort, S.C.; and two great-grandchildren, Bailey and Killian Howsen. He was preceded in death by his sister, Linda Salisbury.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1 at First United Methodist Church in Brevard, N.C. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. A special thanks to his caregivers and hospice nurses at CarePartners.
"Leave behind your sorrows. Let this day be the last. Tomorrow there'll be sunshine. And all this darkness past"— Bruce Springsteen