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Life is short. Live it like David did.

A few hours ago I found out David DePaolo was killed in a motorcycle-related accident over the weekend.  Friends, colleagues, business associates all have attempted to express their feelings at this shocking news, news that anyone who knew David finds tough to believe.

Because he lived life to the fullest.

Flying his plane, riding his bike at zero-dark-thirty, cruising on his motorcycle, opining on the weighty issues of the day, confronting us with the uncomfortable truths, all attacked with passion and energy.  David delighted in disagreeing without being disagreeable, a skill he exemplified.  Even if you really disagreed with his perspective, it was always impossible to ignore him.

His last post, a brutal and much-deserved takedown of pharma giant Purdue, is classic David.

There are so many battles left to fight, so many problems demanding our attention, so much left to do, and now we have to do it without him.  Suddenly it just seems a lot harder.

We all have lost a unique person, one that made the world a better place because he cared deeply.  I’m so sorry for his family and close friends, for they knew David far better than I ever did, and thus will miss him so.

The takeaway for me is simple – at the end of life, you have only your reputation, the good you’ve done, the life you’ve led.

David left more than most of us ever will.

15 thoughts on “Life is short. Live it like David did.”

  1. Wow Joe I didn’t know David but felt like I did when I read his post. He will be missed. Prayers for his family at this time

  2. Well said. It’s hard to describe the loss. Each day I looked forward to seeing what quirky title and topic he had chosen for our daily dose of workers comp controversy, or justice.

  3. Like so many within the workers compensation industry I am struggling with this news. I find it difficult to comprehend that David is still- when I spent time with David last year at the CompLaude Awards he was never still, the amount of energy and pure joy for everyone around David was infectious.
    David took time out of his busy schedule to ensure that I was included in as much of everything that was possible.

    When David hugged me for the last time before I returned to Australia we talked about my return to California and all the changes that we would be working on in the tween time .
    Just last week David was “celebrating” another of my achievements and was looking forward to writing it up.

    I know I have lost a friend a mentor a colleague, but the workers compensation industry has lost far more.
    The workers compensation industry has lost a guide and we are all poorer.

    Vale David, I am Blessed to have known you.

  4. I just met David (in person) at the CCWC last week. Wow! What a nice guy. I am at a total loss for words. He will be missed.

  5. The Workers’ Comp World has lost a brilliant, passionate and talented individual. David’s passing has left all that knew him stunned and wishing that the news was not true.

    David was very passionate about his family (his wife Anne, daughter Nicole and son Anthony), life, soaring among the clouds in his airplane, riding his motorcycle and enjoying the beauty of California, WorkCompCentral and tackling tough issues.

    David was scheduled to speak at ICT’s upcoming conference. The presentation he had planned was absolutely brilliant. Of course, there never was a time that David was not at his best.

    David showed us all how to live a good life while always having a positive impact on all that he did and the workers’ comp industry.

    I shall miss his wisdom, great wit and his friendship.

    WorkCompCentral is his great professional legacy. His family is his greatest legacy.

    Until we met again, rest in peace my dear good friend.

  6. What a loss for all of us! I was very shocked and saddened
    to hear we lost such a Great Soul!
    Prayers for his family and friends!

  7. David was a voice of reason, and someone who questioned what didn’t make sense, no matter who’s ox was being gored by the question. His energy, his passion and his sense of fun, will be missed throughout the industry. Our hearts and prayers are with his family.

  8. Joe, you so captured Dave. Thank you for doing this. He was a close friend, always supportive, and I am so saddened by his death. He so helped the field and society. We all have so much to learn from the way he lived his life. Each day is precious. For me a lesson that is I need to be wise in how I live and how I have impacted others and the world. We should hold in prayer his wife Anne and his family, including his larger “work family.”

  9. “There are so many battles left to fight, so many problems demanding our attention, so much left to do, and now we have to do it without him. Suddenly it just seems a lot harder.”

    Very well said, Joe. We’ve lost an heroic soldier from the field of battle. A tragic loss.

  10. David had character it showed in his writing and his views. All my love to his family at this time.


  11. Character, Integrity, Professional, Respectful, Knowledgeable and Humble. All the traits we want to see in our self were seen in David in spades. We will miss his voice, vision and insight. My prayers are with his family. David will not be replaced which is a very sad fact for the workers\’ compensation industry and the workers\’ compensation family

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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