Remembering Dave Theis

FI-EditorialWhen David Theis said he was your “neighbor in government” those were not empty words. He lived that promise every day he was in office.

He wasn’t some out of touch politician. He was someone we knew from town. He was a man of Greenwich and someone whose door was always open to the concerns of his community. Losing him so suddenly and so cruelly seems especially awful because it happened right before Christmas, a time when the community comes together for the kind of unity that Mr. Theis always looked to create.

A town native with family ties that go back generations in Greenwich, Mr. Theis unquestionably represented the very best of Greenwich. He always had a kind word for you and a big smile when you saw him at Town Hall.

In the immediate aftermath of this devastating news, it was hard to accept that something like this could happen, especially when so many of us just saw him. Accepting the reality of it seemed impossible. How could such a good and decent man suddenly be gone when it seemed he had so many years of service left to give? Energetic and enthusiastic about his job and the people of Greenwich, it just didn’t seem possible for him to be gone.

Accepting the reality of this can be especially painful, especially when it sets in that you won’t see his friendly smile or hear one of his jokes or his stories again. David Theis leaves not only a legacy at Town Hall but in the community as well where he was a regular at many local restaurants like the Cos Cobber where he was always happy to share a beer or a meal and have some good conversation.

He was exactly the kind of person we need in our government and it was always good to see him and First Selectman Peter Tesei and Selectman Drew Marzullo work together for the best interests of this town. They didn’t always agree but there was a very clear mutual affection and respect. They could joke around and, five years into serving with each other, they knew just how to bust each other’s chops. But they all were united in a goal of giving their best to Greenwich and serving their constituents.

Mr. Theis wasn’t just there for this town through government service, though. He was there through tireless work to local organizations as varied as Adopt A Dog and the Greenwich Old Timers’ Athletic Association and his unflagging commitment to veterans. He lent his support to the annual Salute to Veterans and the Greenwich Covenant of Care, which helps military families in town. And next summer when you see those American flags proudly displayed along the Mianus River Bridge in Cos Cob know that they are there because Dave Theis pushed for it and made it happen, inspiring others along the way.

Mr. Theis was a huge supporter of our emergency responders in town, sticking up for the paid first responders in the police, fire and GEMS and also with the volunteers. Mr. Theis was a huge booster for the volunteer firefighters in town and they knew they could count on him just like he was sure he could always count on them.

President of the Cos Cob Republican Club, Mr. Theis idealized former President Ronald Reagan. Any trip to his office would have allowed you to see the displays there that showed just how much he revered the late president. But this was no empty hero worship. Mr. Theis embodied the best qualities of President Reagan and those he inspired. Dave Theis had a boundless optimism and always believed in the best of his neighbors in Greenwich. He believed with hard work you could make a success of yourself in America but that when a helping hand was needed, it would be there for you.

We will all miss Dave. We all lost a big part of ourselves when he passed away. And as we all wish for just one more memory with him we owe it to his memory to be the kind of people in this town that he would have been proud to know and work with. A giant in Greenwich is gone and he can never be replaced but we can all work together to make sure his legacy continues through a commitment to making Greenwich better.

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