RIP David "Ducky" Klouser
A good friend of mine just died. His name was Dave Klouser. His friends (and a lot of his enemies) called him "Ducky." I don't know where he got that nickname.
Ducky was a fellow rocketeer. He was a NAR competitor and a champion several times. His claim to fame was in boost gliders, but he also snagged a championship for helicopter recovery. And he had been a member of the USA International Team.
Ducky was a really intense competitor. He would give you the benefit of his knowledge and experience and ask nothing in return except perhaps some of yours. He was also generous with his time, especially when it came to introducing newcomers to the hobby. But on the field of competition watch out! He was fierce, with no quarter asked and none given.
Ducky founded the NAR section I belong to, PARA. He mostly formed it to have a venue for competition, but he also wanted to get some local people interested in flying.
Ducky was not always a pleasant person, especially in his later years. He was a very annoying person, sometimes quite dictatorial in his style, and given to complaining about and over-reacting to some very minor incidents. We didn't know it at the time, but it was the beginning of his disease.
Ducky suffered from something called Semantic Dementia (SD). You can read about it here
. He had been fighting this disease for a long time when he died, just one day short of his 49th birthday. That is way to young to die.
As far as I know, he passed away at home with his family. He left behind two brothers and his parents. I felt kind of bad because I had a doctor's appointment the day of his funeral, at exactly the same time. But maybe this is better. I never saw Ducky in the later stages of his disease. My memories of him are those of a vigorous man flying his beloved boost gliders.
I am sure that Ducky is now conversing with G. Harry Stine and the other great rocketeers who have gone before us. And I have a sneaky feeling that, should I be fortunate enough to pass through the Pearly Gates, that Ducky will be there, organizing a competition. I plan to beat the pants off him in parachute duration.
Rest in peace, old friend